I’ve had an early, unbound copy of today’s featured book for the longest time and, after deciding just this week to showcase some art from it, I see that it arrived on shelves just this past week. I have the best luck with the timing of these things, since I’m not organized enough to actually plan ahead.
So, the book is a story by author Elka Weber, called One Little Chicken, illustrated by Elisa Kleven (Tricycle Press). It retells a story in the Talmud. Well, wait. I’ll let the author tell you a bit more, as this comes straight from the closing author’s note:
“Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa lived in Israel in the frst century. He was so poor he sometimes had to live from one week to the next on nothing more than a few carob seeds, but he was so righteous that the Talmud says the entire world was sustained by his goodness.
Rabbi Chanina carefully followed all the teachings in the Torah. Among them is the directive to return lost property to its owner. (‘If you see another person’s animal, you shall not hide from it; you must return it to the owner. If the owner is not known to you, then you should bring the object into your house, where it shall remain until the owner inquires after it, and you will return it to him. So shall you do for his donkey, his garment, or any lost article that you may find. . . .’ …)
One day a chicken wandered onto Rabbi Chanina’s property. He took care of it and then invested the proceeds from the sale of the eggs and chicks in a herd of goats. When the owner came to reclaim his chicken, the rabbi gave him the entire herd of goats. Since the law would have allowed Rabbi Chanina to accept some payment for his troubles, returning the entire herd was an act of extreme piety.”
Right. When’s the last time you saw a picture book based on a story from the Talmud? Fascinating.
Weber decided to tell the story of a young girl name Leona, who finds a chicken in her front yard. But her mother believes that “finders aren’t keepers. This chicken isn’t our chicken.” The family decides to take care of it as if it’s their own, but all with the intent of returning it. As you can probably imagine, though, one little chicken turns into a bunch of fuzzy yellow chicks — and then, actually, one small goat and then a family of laundry-chewing, garden-trampling goats…and so on. I won’t give away the entire plot here, but let’s just say the mother’s wish to give back lost things is fulfilled.
School Library Journal writes, “Kleven’s engaging mixed-media folk-art collages brim with details like a border of cakes and pies, or a coy goat offering a bouquet to Leora. The colors are rich; the textures and patterns beg to be touched, and the ending is likely to leave readers pondering this story.” Kleven used watercolors, ink, pastels, and colored pencils for this one. “Vibrant” is how the Kirkus review refers to her artwork in this one, and they would be right. It’ll wake you right up this morning, if you haven’t already had your coffee. Here are some spreads. Enjoy.
‘I can’t get a moment’s peace,’ grumbled Mrs. Bendosa.”
‘We can buy a goat, one small goat,’ said Mr. Bendosa.
So Mr. Bendosa bought a small goat.”
(Click to enlarge spread)
and eating the thatch right off the roof.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)
Note: The above quotes from the picture book came from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change.
ONE LITTLE CHICKEN. Copyright © 2011 by Elka Weber. Illustration © 2011 by Elisa Kleven. Published by Tricycle Books, an imprint of Random House, New York. Spreads reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.
This weekend is when my two co-authors, Betsy and Peter, and I are wrapping up our final manuscript, so I won’t have a full list of kicks here in the interest of time. We’re wrapping up this, that is. (Remember that?) As Peter said yesterday, we three exchanged so many e-mails about our manuscript that we may very well bring the interwebs down. So far, so good, though. It’s still up and running.
So, I’m taking a break only long enough to showcase Elisa’s sunny illustrations (one more is pictured left) and list a few kicks and then will get right back to the manuscript.
7-Imp isn’t getting neglected altogether. (But let’s not discuss things like housework.) I did manage to get some posts up this week, but there’s a lot more I want to do that will have to wait till this manuscript gets into the hands of our editor. So, that’s to say if I owe you a blogging-related email, I am super sorry that it’s taking so long to get back to you. And if I regularly read your blog, man, do I miss right now. But we’re almost entirely done with the manuscript and will soon send it off for editing. This is both slightly terrifying and exciting at the same time. Also, it’s fun in that I have the world’s smartest co-authors. They completely and entirely amaze me.
Three quick things I’ll leave you with:
1) This wonderful interview with Gillian Welch. I love every little thing she says in that thing. And OH YES, I’ll be seeing her and Dave Rawlings live at the Ryman in December.
Is December here yet?
(Well, okay and allright, in celebration I’m going to paste an older song of theirs here, one of my favorites. The funny thing is: Over at YouTube I saw another video under which someone wrote, “You do know that Rawlings boy sold his soul to be able to play like that….” I am slightly in awe of Rawlings. Okay, a lot in awe.)
No. Really. Is it December yet?
You can hear/see them singing a song off the new CD here. They performed it years ago, but it’s on the new one. And it is so perfect and beautiful that it makes me ache. “I lost you a while ago / Still I don’t know why / I can’t say your name / without a crow flying by.” Those two are brilliant.
2) The August issue of The Bluegrass Special is up. As always, it has 7-Imp content re-printed, but you’ll want to read all the other stuff.
3) I have discovered Arrested Development. Right. Seven thousand years later, but better late than never. And I’d very much like to know why all my friends didn’t force me to watch it years ago. It’s just HYSTERICAL is all. And, all this week, as I’ve crammed on this manuscript deadline, you’ll find me working till midnight and then watching at least one episode, ’cause I kinda have to see it every day now, even if I stumble around the following morning in fatigue.
The kick here is that I found out the husband of one of my best friends dressed up last Halloween as Tobias Fünke. Now, last Halloween, I wouldn’t have gotten this joke. But I saw this picture the other day and laughed so hard I thought I’d nearly break. This is entirely creepy, isn’t it?
Back to work. Please do leave your kicks, even if mine are truncated, so that I can find out what’s going on with you all. Your kicks always brighten my Sundays. Truly.