7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #241:
Featuring Matt Phelan and Bob Shea

h1 October 16th, 2011 by jules


(Click on image to see entire spread from which it comes)


“The only time she truly enjoyed herself was
when she secretly listened to the crew singing songs late at night.”

You know, I’m all the time here at 7-Imp having pretend breakfasts with authors and illustrators, when they’re really just cyber (the breakfasts, that is, not the people), but this morning I will have actual breakfast with the two author/illustrators featured here today. Or at least coffee. And I’m excited to meet them.

Here in Nashville this weekend, we are celebrating the Southern Festival of Books, and I will be hosting the session this afternoon for author/illustrators Matt Phelan and Bob Shea (and, as mentioned, get to meet up with them before-hand for a cup ‘o’ joe). Opening this post is an image from one of Bob Shea’s newest picture books, Dinosaur vs. the Library (Hyperion, September 2011); the cover and more images are below, as well as images from another of his new titles, which I haven’t seen yet but hope to today, called I’m a Shark (Balzer + Bray, May 2011). And below Bob’s dinosaur up there is an image from the Nellie-Bly portion of Matt Phelan’s newest graphic novel, called Around the World, published by Candlewick this month. I’ve got more art below from that as well.

If you’re not familiar with Bob’s books, you should run to the nearest library or bookstore and fix that. He’s illustrated many picture books others have written, and he’s both written and illustrated a handful of them himself. If you’re not familiar with his “Dinosaur vs. …” books, then I recommend you see his rendition of Dinosaur vs. the Potty here at the Texas Book Festival in 2010, I think it was, and also his mock Dinosaur vs. Writing Kids’ Books had me SNORT-LAUGHING (and has me all the more eager to hear him speak today):

I’m pretty sure Shea is some kind of picture book genius, especially when it comes to picture books for preschool and early elementary-aged kids. His illustrations damn near leap off the page with a manic energy that is infectious, and they are child magnets is what they are. Kirkus called Dinosaur vs. Bedtime a “high-volume attention-grabber that will have audiences roaring along enthusiastically,” and I think you could say that about nearly all of his books.

Aaaaaaand…..there’s so much more I’d like to say about his books, but let’s move on to Matt, as it’s Saturday night when I’m typing this, and I still need to prepare for hosting their session tomorrow. Er, I mean, there’s a dinosaur challenging me to see who can get to bed first, as it’s also late as I type. DINOSAUR VS. JULES. Who will win?

Matt’s new book highlights the journeys of three intrepid explorers at the close of the nineteenth century, all inspired by French author Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. Cyclist Thomas Stevens attempted to circumnavigate the globe on bicycle—a penny-farthing, that is—in 1884. In 1889, journalist Nellie Bly attempted the same via ocean liner (followed by a special train car whisking her from California to New York with “cheering crowds in every town she passed through”). And in 1895, writer, adventurer, and retired sea captain Joshua Slocum set sail on a thirty-six-foot sloop, becoming the first person to sail around the world alone.

The School Library Journal review for Matt’s book notes the “small, specific pleasures of Phelan’s work.” I love that, because it’s a definite delight that comes from seeing his books.

And, again, so much more I’d like to say, but ack! … I have got to get goin’. Here’s a bit more from Matt’s book, followed by art from Bob’s Dinosaur vs. the Library and I’m a Shark. Enjoy.

“‘But the most delightful thing in all Hungary is its Gypsy music.’”


“With but the vaguest idea of the distance to the next abode of man, or the nature of the country ahead, I bowl along southward, led by the strange infatuation of a pathfinder traversing terra incognita, and rejoicing in the sense of boundless freedom and unrestraint that comes of speeding across open country
where Nature still holds her primitive sway.”



* * * * * * *


(Click on image to see entire spread from which it comes)



(Click on images to see entire spread from which they come)



(Click on images to see entire spread from which they come)

* * *


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

AROUND THE WORLD. Copyright © 2011 by Matt Phelan. Published by Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA. Images reproduced with permission of Matt Phelan.

All images from Bob Shea reproduced with his permission.

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 * * *

My three brief, though heartfelt, kicks:

1) The Southern Festival of Books. Matt. Bob. Other folks, too, whose sessions I hope to catch.

2) My youngest turned six this week, and we partied down.

3) Our baby kitten got very ill and spent the night at a hospital and we didn’t think he’d make it back home, but he turned a corner and is doing just fine now. WEIRD. But … whew.

NOTE: The October issue of The Bluegrass Special is out!

What are YOUR kicks this week?





15 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #241:
Featuring Matt Phelan and Bob Shea”

  1. Coming in earlier than usual on a Sunday night here, so I’ll have to pop by to read other kicks later! Jules, enjoy your real breakfast with such talented people! And the whole festival.

    My kicks…

    1. The hens have started laying delicious eggs!
    2. I made a standby flight to Melbourne (courtesy of my sister, who works for an airline) and caught up with my cousins down there. It was lovely to see them, particulary their children.
    3. So much stuff done today around the house! Feel very accomplished.
    4. This included buying some inexpensive reed screens to tie to the back fence in order to stop the curious hen from jumping into our neighbour’s yard. We’re pretty sure they’ve done the trick, which is good as the neighbour is petrified of chickens
    5. Friends over for dinner last night, managed to incorporate seasonal mango (we have had a surplus of these from a kind family member) and blueberries into the meal
    6. Mid-week dinner with sisters (and partners and the cutest niece in the world) reminded me how happy I am that we’re now living close enough for casual family occasions
    7. New tent bought in preparation for a holiday next week.


  2. My one kick for this week is that Bob Shea is coming to the Dublin (OH) Literacy Conference in February! Lucky us! (thanks for the pics and the video)


  3. Thanks for this post and have a blast at the festival! I am pea-green with envy that you are having live not virtual breakfast with these two exceptional artists. I had Dinosuar vs the Library in my hand just this week but wondered if my kiddos might be getting tired of all my books about libraries and books but this is too fun to pass up. I’m on my way to snatch it up! I think I feel an author/illustrator study coming on…


  4. Hi everyone!

    I’ve had a history-crush on Nellie Bly ever since I first heard about her. Seriously. She makes me feel all awkward and clumsy and self-conscious. I practically blush every time she shows up somewhere on the Internet. (If I meet her in an afterlife I’ll probably look down and scuff my toe in a cloud.) So, thanks for today’s fix.

    Bob Shea, I gather, has listened to a LOT of kids’ monologues when they think nobody’s listening to them. And he’s taken good notes.

    Have fun with both of them today, Jules!

    Some kicks:

    1. The four of us “kids” prepping for Mom’s 80th b-day bash in a few weeks. (She was born on All Saint’s Day, a fact which she made sure we knew almost before we knew about Halloween.)
    2. A few days’ break from an apparently endless series of visits from The Handyman (painting, cabinet repair, light fixtures, pressure-washing…).
    3. Closing in on targets.
    4. Perennially late with our income-tax filing — we (never by intention) file in October almost every year — this year we really pushed the envelope. Late-filed returns have to be postmarked by tomorrow; we mailed ours on Friday. Imagine our surprise when we received it in the mail here yesterday. Turns out we’d mailed it NOT in the envelope which our CPA had filled out for us and clipped to the forms. We’d mailed it in the envelope in which the CPA had enclosed everything, and addressed to us. (It was too late to mail it to us, so we’d had to swing by her office to pick it up.) We must’ve laughed about that for a half-hour.
    5. Not by any means a light-hearted kick, but we just re-watched Straw Dogs for probably the first time since it came out in the early ’70s. Still a white-knuckles film. And way more complex than either of our youthful selves thought at the time.
    6. Majorly love this new(ish) Paul Simon song, “Rewrite.” On about a gazillion levels.
    7. Occupy Everywhere.

    Have a great week, everyone!


  5. Must. get. Dinosaur VS the Library! Love Bob’s drawings. I have always been a fan of Matt Phelan.
    Jules, how lucky to be having a real breakfast instead of a virtual today. So glad baby kitty is okay.
    Emmaco, fresh eggs and mangoes, yum.
    Mary Lee how cool that Bob Shea will be in Ohio later this winter.
    Margie, the book is on my must have list.
    Jes, gotta agree on Occupy Everywhere.
    My kicks:
    1. The writing retreat last weekend.
    2. Ellen Hopkins at the writing retreat.
    3. Suz Blacakaby at the writing retreat.
    4. Finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone last night. What a read!
    5. Grangirl 1 and I went to the pumpkin patch yesterday.
    6. This quote: “Librarians should be more like Lady Gaga and less like Lady Bird Johnson.”-the Daring Librarian blog.
    7.The Cybils nominations and all the great books.
    Have a great week.


  6. Hello, Matt Phelan and Bob Shea! I am quite fond of that little pink kitten in a tutu. Thanks for sharing your menagerie with us.

    Jules: Healthy vibes galore for the PF kitty! I am so glad that he is back home. I hope he has a clean bill of health. Happy belated to your munchkin – Kicks for the six!

    emmaco: Glad that you had a fun trip and great visits all around! Enjoy the yummy fruits.

    Hi Mary Lee!

    Margie: The more books about books and libraries, the better, indeed.

    JES: Happy early birthday to your mom! Oh my goodness. Laughter is the best medicine.

    My kicks for the past week, in chronological order:
    1) Auditioned for a short film
    2) Auditioned for a TV show
    3) Booked the short film – we film next month!
    4) Booked the TV show – we film this week!
    5) Catching up with friends
    6) Great deals
    7) Gut feelings


  7. Too funny! Just this weekend, my youngest fell in love with Bob Shea’s Oh Daddy! Planning on writing about him this week :) And so jealous of you today- hope you are having a blast!!

    My kicks:
    1. Sunny fall weather.
    2. Fun art project with my daughter’s kindergarten class based on David Ezra Stein’s Leaves.
    3. Finally found a food that is working well for Daisy, the puppy :)
    4. Fascinating lecture with Diane Ravitch, education historian.
    5. Taking a break from processed sugars and flours and I’m feeling great.
    6. Challening but interesting staff development session on assessment in the reading workshop.
    7. Not a kick- a puppy who won’t stop peeing and pooping in the house- any tips welcome :)

    Happy week to all!


  8. Stacey: Sounds like a creative and healthy week for you and yours! Sending plenty of healthy thoughts for your puppy.

    I need to change one of my kicks to this:
    Turning down something that wasn’t right.


  9. Hurray for hens laying delicious eggs! I must confess I have a bit of chicken envy. My kicks in brief:

    1. I sewed in a zipper at sewing class today.
    2. I made sewing darts last week.
    3. I attended SteamCon III with my husband and daughter this weekend.
    4. I met an online friend at Steamcon.
    5. I read Okay For Now in two sittings.
    6. The running pants I needed (albeit in a different color) were on sale.
    7. This coming weekend, there’s nothing scheduled.

    Happy week, everyone! FSD


  10. Hi, dear kickers. I’ll be back soon to read all your kickin’ kick-tastic kicks. The weekend was ever-so busy, and I’ve also been rather waylaid by some mysterious back pain that I hope to get resolved soon. Anyway, that’s to say I’m behind on everything, but I look forward to some quiet time later today to read these. Thanks for visiting!


  11. Jules: Ouch! Poor thing. Rest up and heal.

    Farida: Sounds like a fun and active week!


  12. Emmaco, every time I read about you and your niece, I’m happy that you live closer.

    And good luck with the curious backyard hen. Curious Backyard Hen. Band name. I call it.

    Mary Lee, having met Bob, I can now say you all will have a blast.

    Margie, and what a good author/illustrator study it would be. My first “read” of Dinosaur vs. the Potty is in the video I linked up there, and I have to say it’s my very favorite of them all. All the better to hear him read it.

    John, happy birthday to your mom. I’ve never seen Straw Dogs, and now I GOTTA go hear the Paul Simon song. Thanks!

    Jone: Oooh! I wanna read Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

    Little Willow, congrats on the new roles! And I’m crossing fingers that you hear good news on those auditions. (And thanks for the well-wishes. I finally have muscle relaxers, which will at least help me sleep.)

    Stacey, how much do I love Leaves? If I counted the ways, I’d be here all night. …. Hmmm….Don’t have a dog, so I’m sans tips, but good luck.

    Farida, I want a non-busy weekend, too. Glad you’re getting one. And I’ve gotta get Okay for Now already.


  13. [...] write one better than that.” I write picture books in hopes to write something as great Sendak, Shea, Shannon, Rathmann, Bottner, Willems, Crews, Krauss, Johnson, Portis, Mayer, Klassen, Keats, [...]


  14. [...] Images and sketches from Me Want Pet!(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, March 2012), illustrated by Bob Shea [...]


  15. [...] Bob Shea makes me laugh and talks about how story is [...]


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