Every now and then, in the name of graphic novels for the youngest of children, I like to check in on Babymouse.
And she’s back. Well, she’s been back since May of this year, but sometimes I’m slow with my posts.
In this one, Babymouse #14: Mad Scientist (Random House), Babymouse meets her new science teacher, Mr. Shelldon (who has “received little support from my colleagues for my discovery that slime mold makes a great pet,” he tells his class). Babymouse, entering the school science fair, has to decide upon a project and eventually lands on amoebas. Looking one day at what she calls a “blob” in her microscope, she meets an amoeba, named Squish. Squish likes to eat cupcakes. Ah, an amoeba after her own heart.
That same month, the Holms released their first title (volume 1), all about this new character, Squish, Super Amoeba (also from Random House), which Kirkus in their starred review called the “hilarious misadventures of a hapless young everylad who happens to be an amoeba.” Yes, a fun science’y graphic novel series about an amoeba: Leave it to the Holms. Worth seeing for Peggy the paramecium alone, it’s a promising series, particularly for those children who are drawn to the Holms’ funny, manic, accessible style, yet might mutter, “Babymouse is for girls” (which I’d argue anyway). Squish loves comics (“Super Amoeba!”) and Twinkies, and he—like Babymouse—is simply navigating life through elementary school (though if you want to know if tacos can stop global warming, not to mention if single-celled creatures can be counted on to step up to do what’s right, this is the book for you).
As always, I’m going to stop now and let the art speak for itself. I broke up most of these spreads into two separate images so that you can see them in detail. (Die-hard graphic novel fans might grumble about that, but hey, I want you to see the art up close.)
BABYMOUSE #14: MAD SCIENTIST. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer L. Holm. Illustration © 2011 by Matthew Holm. Published by Random House, New York. Spreads reproduced by permission of the author and illustrator.
SQUISH, SUPER AMOEBA. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer L. Holm. Illustration © 2011 by Matthew Holm. Published by Random House, New York. Spreads reproduced by permission of the author and 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.
I know these are supposed to be kicks, but my reality from this week is that my best friend from high school passed away on Sunday. Complications from life-long diabetes. She was the funniest human being on the planet. For many, many reasons, it was very sad to say goodbye to her.
Here we are in 1988, doing a mock teen magazine cover. You’ll notice that we painted the backs of our denim jackets with Sugarcubes stuff. I think it even says “Sugarcubes” in Icelandic at the top of the jackets. Oh sweet motherless sugar monkeys, we were huge, ginormously geeky fans of that band then.
Clearly, we were easily entertained, but then that was one of the best things about her. Sitting around, doing nothing, laughing over stupid stuff, being goofballs. Like you can do with one of your best friends. I mean, just look how she nailed that inane model face in the picture. She always made me laugh so hard I nearly thought I’d split in half. We used to have phone conversations where we’d laugh so hard that ten or fifteen minutes of nothing but deep, belly-aching laughter and wiping of eyes would go by, and I’m certain that anyone listening in would have been LOST.
Also, she’s probably the only reason I ever got out of my house in high school. I owe her so. much. gas. money.
I’m glad she’s not in any more pain (she was in a lot), but I will miss her. The world is paler without her.
However, below were some silver-lining moments during the week, ’cause my duty as kicks-facilitator here is to make sure I find them:
1) I think I mentioned last week I have tickets to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Ryman in December. Here is their song list from a recent performance in Atlanta. (They are posting these set lists on Facebook.) See the word “Acony”? That comes from a tiny little beautiful song they have about a tiny little beautiful flower—the song (and flower) is called “Acony Bell”—that I love so much. And I just hope and hope they play it in Nashville.
(And I love how they changed their mind from singing a song about a dagger into a song about this, though let me be clear that their dagger songs are brilliant, too.)
2) This is so wonderful to hear—especially if you’re having a bad week, too—that I just cannot even say. Joy joy joy and even more joy emanates from this, and I particularly love the guy who calls in with the Rolling Stones song and his little performance as he’s walking down the street. I wanna know him. (But I also love “how strange it is to be anything at all” from Neutral Milk Hotel. Boy howdy, ain’t that the truth.)
Plus, NINA SIMONE. YES.
3) Things like KidLitCon teaming up with Reading Is Fundamental make me happy. Read here for all the info.
4) My cousin and his family are in from Pennsylvania, so I get to hear things like “youse guys” a lot. And my name pronounced like this: “Jooooooolie.” (Alternately, “Jooooooorlie.”)
(I say all that about their accents ever-so lovingly.)
5) A good friend had a birthday, and we had chocolate cake. What a wonder is cake.
6) A friend of mine from college, going through photos, found this old picture of me and mailed it back to me. And I LAUGHED SO HARD when I saw it, because a) I’d forgotten all about its very existence and b) HELLO. Quite obviously, my own daughters’ raging obsession with cats comes honestly.
7) Speaking of a raging obsession with cats, my friend Wes and his partner Ritchie have a cat, named Mia, who had what Wes calls “five little fluffy balls of epic kitten cuteness” about three weeks ago. So I took my girls to see these kittens yesterday. Miraculously, we didn’t come home with one.
Wes does this thing where he holds up one of those obscenely cute itty bitty three-week kittens and does an evil mad scientist laugh, as if it’s the itty bitty kitty doing it, that had my seven-year-old IN STITCHES. And, well… me, too.
Other than that, I am still working with my co-authors on our final manuscript, as our deadline is inching even closer.
I will close with this tiny little film/video thingy that one of my favorite bands, The Innocence Mission, released this week. This song is so beautiful. (“Raincoats. Finlandia. / Raincoats and lakes. / The best words, I take along / in my field bag. / Across the morning, the beautiful air, / I will be aware. / I’ll speak if I dare…”) Also, I love it when Karen Peris, the singer of this band, plays piano — so much so that I shake my fist at the accordion that rears its head briefly at the song’s close, but I’m sure I’m being unfair.
And my friend up there, Mary Leigh, had introduced me to this band waaaay back in high school. So, it’s particularly fitting they released that this week, and I think the “stay calm in the meantime” in the chorus of this song is particularly good to hear now.
If you’re so inclined to listen, I hope you enjoy it, too. Such a beautiful melody. Really.
And what are your kicks this week?