What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Olivier Dunrea

h1 December 23rd, 2011 by jules


“Oother held her high so that she could hang her ornaments on the topmost branches. He helped her wrap the berry garland around the Christmas tree, starting at the top and carefully working their way down to the bottom. ‘Now the feathers!’ Pyn said. Together they placed the brightly colored feathers among the branches until the fir tree glistened with color. ‘It’s beautiful!’ she said. ‘A real Christmas tree.’”

This week at Kirkus, on account of how I got tired of hearing my own self talk, I invited some folks (authors, illustrators, a few bloggers, editor-type people, etc.) to come briefly discuss with me what they’d like to see in picture books in 2012. So, head on over there, if you’re so inclined. The link is here.

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For last week’s column, I weighed in on Olivier Dunrea’s A Christmas Tree for Pyn. (An image from the book is pictured above.) I love this book — and explained why over there. Here’s the link, if you missed it last Friday and wanna read.

And here are some more of Dunrea’s illustrations from the book. Happy holidays to all…


“‘Good evening, Papa,’ said Pyn. ‘My name is Oother,’ said Oother. ‘Good evening, Oother,’ said Pyn. ‘Umphf,’ said Oother. And with a grunt he began to eat the hot soup. Pyn watched him eat in silence. ‘Oother,’ said Pyn, ‘Christmas is coming. Do you think we could have a Christmas tree this year?’ ‘No Christmas tree,’ said Oother.
He continued to eat. …”


“…Pyn jumped up from her stool and quickly pulled on her fur boots. She became tangled in her fur coat and scarf as she scrambled to put them on. Her fur hat slid down over her eyes. In her rush to get ready she fell over and sat hard on the floor. ‘I’ll surprise Oother,’ Pyn said to herself. ‘I’ll find the perfect Christmas tree and
will cut it down myself and bring it home….’”


“Together they trudged into the dark woods. ‘Papa,’ said Pyn. ‘My name’s Oother,’ said Oother. ‘Oother,’ said Pyn. ‘Where will we find a Christmas tree?’ ‘You’ll see,’ said Oother. They came to an open meadow at the edge of the woods….”


“…Oother silently watched as Pyn bustled about the tree, carefully placing the nests so that the eggs could be seen. She tied bits of string to the tops of the hornets’ nests and hung them from the ends of the branches. She tucked the wasps’ nests so that they shone pale against the dark green of the fir tree. Pyn hung the acorns all over the tree. She sat on the floor and, with needle in hand, strung the berries
onto a long piece of sturdy thread.”


“…Oother set her back on the floor and the two of them gazed in wonder at the Christmas tree. In the firelight the feathers of the bird glistened and shimmered. ‘A real Christmas tree,’ said Pyn. ‘A real Christmas tree,’ said Oother. ‘Thank you, Oother!’ said Pyn. ‘My name’s Papa,’ Oother said. ‘Thank you, Papa!’ cried Pyn, throwing her arms around his neck.”

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A CHRISTMAS TREE FOR PYN. © 2011 by Olivier Dunrea. Published by Philomel Books, New York, NY. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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6 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Olivier Dunrea”

  1. Jules,

    I hope you’re feeling better. I know I haven’t been commenting at 7 Imp much lately. I’ve been spending much of my time taking care of my granddaughter Julia Anna. I don’t have as much time for writing and blogging as I did in the past. I now call myself the Nanny Granny. My husband and I have also become part-time personal chefs for my daughter and her husband.

    I bought Julia a bunch of Christmas board books–including one by Olivier Dunrea. I’ll have to get “A Christmas Tree for Pyn” for her next year.

    I hope you and your family have a super wonderful Christmas this year.

    P.S. I have news about some of my “things to do” poems over at Wild Rose Reader today.
    http://wildrosereader.blogspot.com/2011/12/things-to-do-if-you-are-santa-claus.html


  2. Oh… now I really wish we had read this book before Christmas!


  3. Dunrea is one of those author/illustrators who consistently produces worthwhile work but doesn’t seem to get all that much attention, so WOO to you for shining a light on him. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I look forward to it.


  4. Elaine, I already said this at your blog, but congrats again on the book deal! Elaine got a book deal, you all, with Chronicle! WOOT!

    Stacey, it’s a great book.

    Adrienne, true. I hope Dunrea can come visit 7-Imp in 2012. I think you’d really like Pyn.


  5. I loved your description of this at Kirkus – seems like something that needs to be given WIDELY as a gift…


  6. I adore Olivier Dunreas’ winsome work- so lovely to see it featured here!


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