7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #232: Featuring Elisa Kleven

h1 August 14th, 2011 by jules

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.


“…Chicks were jumping everywhere.
‘I can’t get a moment’s peace,’ grumbled Mrs. Bendosa.”


“‘What can we get for two silver coins?’ Leora asked.
‘We can buy a goat, one small goat,’ said Mr. Bendosa.
So Mr. Bendosa bought a small goat.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“Before long, the two goats became a family of goat. There were goats everywhere—chewing the laundry, trampling the tiny vegetable patch,
and eating the thatch right off the roof.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)


“The man thanked them so much his mouth got tired.”

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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

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.

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13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #232: Featuring Elisa Kleven”

  1. “. . . a border of cakes and pies”? YES, PLEASE.

    Jules, I really can’t wait to read your book!

    Kicks:

    1. A girls’ night out!

    2. Braided hair.

    3. My So-Called Life. Best teen show ever!

    4. Teaching, teaching, teaching. Teaching, teaching, teaching. Teaching, teaching, teaching . . .

    5. My daddy.

    6. My mommy.

    7. Good health.


  2. Thank you! Elisa Kleven is one of my most favorite illustrators in the whole wide world! I can’t wait to see her new book.


  3. Yes, what Esme said — and also what Tarie said about the border of cakes and pies :) .

    Beautiful way to wake up on a Sunday.

    You’re lucky to be seeing Gillian Welch in December! Good luck finishing up the manuscript. A tour de force, I’m sure.


  4. Tarie, your students are lucky. I keep saying that like a broken record, but it’s true. … I’ve had My So-Called Life recommended enthusiastically before. Gotta see that, too. Is that the one with Claire Danes?

    Hi Esme!

    Hi Jama, too, and yes, the borders in the book are lovely. I hope you all have a kicky week…


  5. Yes, Claire Danes! :o )


  6. Hi! I’ve never commented before, but I have been following your blog for over a month now! Anyway, I thought I’d do my kicks–what’s more fun than having seven kicks??? That’s awesome!

    1. The Tintin Movie coming out in December. http://tintin-movie.net/

    2. Andrew Osenga’s Leonard the Lonely Astronaut album coming out at some point…http://www.andrewosenga.com/

    3. A warm summer day

    4. Bacon

    5. My short story placing in the contest

    6. Friends

    7. THE cutest book…and I got it from your recommendation: “Are You Awake?” by Sophie Blackall. That kid reminds me of my little brother when he was a baby. :-)

    Thanks for the fun, interesting, and really great blog!


  7. Hi Hannah…and, oh my, look at your Etsy items!

    I’m intrigued by the Tintin movie, but my girls are most anxious to see Puss In Boots. They are seriously cat-obsessed. I want to see both, but I hope Puss In Boots doesn’t end up being utterly ridiculous (the bad, not good, kind of ridiculous. Good-ridiculous is always good)…

    Congrats on winning a writing contest. Which one was it?

    And welcome! More kickers is always fun. And with a surname like “Joy”..well, it’s inherently kicky.


  8. Well, I’m going to cling to Elka’s idea that adopted strays are their original owner’s (problem), I mean, property. Question is: When are those owners going to show up? Elisa’s depiction of life with a pet goat made me laugh. (My cousins had a billygoat – and that illustration colorfully captures the spirited butting and chewing that goes on.) Thanks for sharing this book.

    Jules! “In the home stretch”, “Light at the end of the tunnel”, “Bring it on home” and all those other project-finishing encouragements–I’m sending good thoughts your way. My sons are Arrested Development fans. (I like episode where Tobias makes boat “magically disappear”.)

    Tarie – your teaching ad infinitum kick.
    Esme – “Hi!” from me too.
    jama – and the kaleidoscope border.
    Hannah – Didn’t Blackwell nail those blue-striped onesie p.j.s?

    I missed 7-Imp Kicks last week, as I was attending SCBWI’s National Summer Conference. Oh, lots of great kid-lit kicks from that arena:

    1. Donna Jo Napoli’s speech “Why Writing About Terrible Things Makes Your Reader A Better Person.” Such a smart, articulate lady.
    (Disadvantaged kids need to SEE themselves, kindle some hope. Advantaged kids need to SEE outside comfort zone, learn empathy.)

    2. Norton Juster’s breakout session on wordplay (after my own heart.)

    3. Laurie Halse Anderson’s workshop on “Finding Lost Time and Reclaiming Creativity”; man, she totally busted us all (in a loving but kickass way) on the many ways we leak productive time. Like: going on the internet to do research and then veering off course to look at what Pippa wore to the Royal Wedding (!) or the bane of Reality TV. “Don’t whine to me about ‘no time’ if you can name all the finalists on American Idol!” She was really funny and so right.

    4. Judy Blume just being Judy Blume.

    5. David Small’s keynote about finding his voice in his artwork, he featured his book “Stitches”. (Wow.) And his workshop on visual storytelling, featuring lovely, allegorical book, “The Money Tree.”

    6. Ellen Hopkin’s writer’s intensive: Writing Novels in Verse. Yes!

    7. I didn’t go to the Illustrator’s Intensive, but all the artists who did attend the day-long lecture-demos by Paul Zelinsky, Marla Frazee, Richard Jess Watson, Kadir Nelson, Denise Fleming, David Small and Jerry Pinkney seemed overwhelmed by techinique, wonder and inspiration; they all came out looking shell-shocked (in a good way.)

    So, I’ve been duly inspired. Back to work! Have a great week all.


  9. Hi Elisa! Hi chickens! Hi goats!

    Jules, Betsy, and Peter: Best wishes to you three as you finish up the manuscript! How exciting.

    Tarie: I’m glad that teaching is such a kick for you! Hola to your family.

    Welcome out from lurking and into posting, Hannah Joy! Your name is comprised of two of my favorite words. Congratulations on your short story!

    Jules: Cats cats cats!!!

    Denise: Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth is a favorite of mine.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Rehearsals for the play which opens in a month!
    2) & 3) Rehearsals for two very different staged readings
    4) Juggling things and making them work
    5) Trusting my instincts
    6) Trusting my gut
    7) Commitments


  10. LW – Yep. I’m gonna dust of my copy of TPTollbooth and read it again. Best of luck juggling play, readings and commitments; your gut, instincts (and talent) serve you well.


  11. Denise, hubba wow, just your kicks about the conference kinda made me feel like I was there for a moment. I saw a schedule (from a friend who went — saw it before she went, that is), and I wondered HOW IN THE HEY anyone could pick which things to go to. Wow again. NORTON JUSTER. And Laurie Halse Anderson’s workshop sounds great, too.

    Saw that boat episode last night, no kidding, and it’s actually Gob who makes it disappear, though I’ve yet to see the ep right after it for follow-up.

    Little Willow, come to think of it, “Hannah” is a great word to say, isn’t it? Your show opens in a month? WOOT! Continue to break a leg with rehearsals.

    I can’t believe I’m on here. I just pulled all our chapters together into a Word doc over 500 pages long and looked at it many, many times. Eyes are crossing. Must rest arms. But wanted to come say hi to all kickers.


  12. After all these years, it’s still nice to see a girl with a tool in her hand….


  13. Word UP.


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