7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #263:
Featuring Joey Chou and Angela DiTerlizzi

h1 January 8th, 2012 by jules

“When a bird says TWEET, does he really mean SWEET?”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Last Fall, I did a small handful of posts in which I highlighted some new picture books for the wee’est of readers, and I never quite finished. One of those books (and more are to come, as I will get to them, even if in 2012), another book geared toward your toddler-sized readers, is Angela DiTerlizzi’s Say What?, illustrated by Joey Chou and released by Beach Lane Books in July of 2011.

The illustrations Joey shares today give you a good sense of the book, which ends with a wee human child, telling his mother how much he loves her. This is always good for toddlers. (In fact, I envision this book as becoming a board book one day. Hey, good idea. Should I call the editor? “Jules WHO?” Seriously, I hope they consider it. It’d work.) This one is also good for, as the Kirkus reviewer noted, preschoolers who enjoy language play.

The book’s back-flap bio for Joey—an alumni and graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, who was born in Taiwan but now lives in Los Angeles—indicates that he likes to draw furry monsters. Go see his site, and that’s clear by the welcoming illustration there, which I like and which makes me laugh.

Angela, who visited me in 2009 for breakfast, is here this morning to say a bit about the book, and I thank her for stopping by…

* * *

Angela: “Having a young child is a constant source of inspiration for any parent. But for me, as an author of books for children, in those everyday moments, anecdotes, and experiences, I can’t help but find seeds for new book ideas.

The seed for my picture book Say What? was no exception.

I wrote Say What? when our daughter, Sophia, was just under a year old, and my days were happily filled with reading aloud books by Dr. Seuss, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle, and Ruth Krauss — and Mary Blair’s retro masterpiece, I Can Fly. I love the repetition, rhyme, and their simple, yet stylized, illustrations.

At the same time, our little one was busily learning about cows, roosters, kitties, and the noises they make. I wondered, what are animals really saying with their everyday sounds? And, can animals understand their babies MOOs and BAAs like parents differentiate between their baby’s GOOs and GAAs? While rocking Sophia in the nursery one early morning, I heard a horse whinny from the farm behind our Massachusetts home. I thought to myself, when a horse says NEIGH, does she really mean HAY?

Then I began to write.

I shared the manuscript with my husband, Tony, and he encouraged me to show it to his editors at Simon & Schuster. Much to my delight, they loved the concept and passed the story along to Allyn Johnston and Andrea Welch, the amazingly talented duo of editors at Beach Lane Books.

“When a cow says MOO, does she really mean WHO?”
(Click to enlarge)

Enter the ubertalented illustrator Joey Chou. A designer/friend/agent shared his work with me, and we thought it was the perfect fit. His crisp, colorful illustrations and perfectly anthropomorphized animals were exactly the style of artwork I was hoping would be paired with my text.

“When a horse says NEIGH, does she really mean HAY?”
(Click to enlarge)

From the manuscript’s earliest stages, I have had the wonderful and enlightening experience of reading Say What? aloud to children in libraries and classrooms, including our daughter’s preschool class. I am always delighted to hear kids anticipating the rhyme, giggling at the illustrations, and hollering out their best animal impersonations. Indeed, when writing, I strive to create an interactive and engaging experience for readers to share and enjoy — and to encourage reading and a love of words from the earliest of ages. With Say What?, I hope I’ve done just that.

Thanks again to Angela for visiting. Here’s an October 2011 interview with a Massachusetts publication, and here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy.

“When a sheep says BAA, does he really mean MA?”
(Click to enlarge)

“When a duck says QUACK, does he really mean SNACK?”
(Click to enlarge)

* * * * * * *

SAY WHAT? Copyright © 2011 Angela DiTerlizzi. Illustrations copyright © 2011 Joey Chou. Published by Beach Lane Books, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Joey Chou.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

1) Finally started watching Portlandia. I always enjoy some funny social commentary, and Fred Armisen makes me laugh. This one nails it. May I never ask to meet the chicken:

Also, I just now found this:

SNORT LAUGH. That happened to me a few years ago. It did. That part where she screams in terror? It can happen.

2) My brain cells seem to have atrophied over the holiday break. But I’ve gotten some work done, and so far, so good.

3) This is a thing of beauty. It’s evidently from James Brown’s Soul Train-esque show (that aired on WTBS in Atlanta from 1976-1978, if my information is correct). It was reportedly a short-lived show.

4) I found a beautiful boxed set of Florence Parry Heide’s and Edward Gorey’s Treehorn trilogy. (Florence left us recently. May she rest in peace.)

5) I’m reading this wonderful novel below. It’s writing that is good in many, many ways.

6) I love that an author/illustrator has his own bandcamp page. This is from Phil Stead. His books and music are good. Be sure to listen to “Stay Calm, Act Natural,” though I think my favorite will always be “On the Tall Waves.” Shoot, they’re all good.

7) I enjoyed seeing this video on Ed Young. Thanks to Barbara DaCosta (who sent me that back in early December, but I’m just slow sometimes).

Speaking of videos, I think this is a well-done book trailer, don’t you? (I think it was done by a start-up company. Impressive, huh?) Also, wow, that looks like a good book.

BONUS #1: This animation blows me away.

BONUS #2: Thanks to David Elzey for considering me a Versatile Blogger.

Two Quick Notes:

*** Blogger Aaron Mead at Children’s Books and Reviews has just added an e-book to his site, titled How to Choose Children’s Books: Practical Tips and Philosophical Reflections on Picking Books for Kids. He’s been working on it for the past year or so and is giving it away free as a resource for parents, teachers, and anyone else that might find it useful. There are links to the download page in this post.

*** This video from the online bookseller Better World Books features a young man in Oklahoma City who has benefited from their “Book for Book” program, which donates a book to someone in need every time someone buys a book on Better World Books. (The organization collects and sells books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide.) Thought some of you might want to know about that organization.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

18 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #263:
Featuring Joey Chou and Angela DiTerlizzi”

  1. Jules,
    My budget is busted and I am totally lovin’ it. Thanks for introducing me to this delightful book this Sunday morning and for the kicking links. I too can not wait to read The One and Only Ivan.

  2. This collaboration between Joey Chou and Amgela DiTerlizzi looks absolutely charming!

  3. What a fun book this morning. Jules, glad you’re watching Portlandia. So much fun. The chicken one is one of my favorites as is the library hide and seek.
    I have to check out The Family Fang. Looks interesting.
    My kicks:
    1. Back to work.
    2. Lengthening days.
    3. Kells, great Irish bar w/friends.
    4. Listening to Goliath by Westerfeld.
    5. Kale, lentil soup.
    6. Grant for books approved.
    7. Thank you note from oldest grangirl (she did it w/out on her own, so sweet).
    Have a great week.

  4. Say What? looks fantastic! Off to see if our library has a copy . . .

  5. Happy Kicks Day!

    Love the rhymes, the illustrations, and the back story on the inspiration for the book. Lots of friends having tiny babies lately, so this is now definitely on my list.

    Jules, Family Fang looks great, and Portlandia makes me laugh and groan in equal measure, living here in the land of the Hipsters. The local chicken is closer to the truth than many people realize.
    Also, James Brown = awesome! More dancing in 2012! And oh my, the book trailer for The One and Only Ivan made me cry, and want to run out and buy it!

    Kicks this week:
    1) Read a book for fun, (Agnes and the Hitman, by Crusie & Mayer) and it reminded me to embrace my own inner Cranky Agnes & be proud of my big southern personality. As a friend’s mom once explained, “She’s a southerner. They’re not crazy son, but they are eccentric.”
    2) This week’s episode of Parenthood. Pitch-perfect, made me laugh and cry.
    3) Bought a print from Paige Bradley. Hung it in the bedroom. Every time I look at it, it makes me happy. Ridiculously happy. It doesn’t just speak to me, it sings to my heart.
    4) Smiling at random strangers, and getting smiles in return.
    5) Walking meditations. (And sitting ones, and laying down ones too.)
    6) Survived an incredibly challenging week at work.
    7) Got another damn dog. I wasn’t ready, but oh well. His dad died, and his mom turned him over to the shelter. Six year old purebred black lab with a sweet face who was reported to get along with the family cat. How could I say no? So Cole now lives with me. He and Skittle are not completely acquainted yet, but I expect that to change within the next few weeks of settling in. Yep, I’m a sucker.
    Bonus kick: breakfast with a friend late yesterday morning at a place I’d never been to.

    Have a great week everyone!

  6. What a fun-lookin’ (and -soundin’) book! (And thanks to 7-Imp, I learned a couple years ago to perk right up whenever I see the name “DiTerlizzi.” That’s still one of my favorite authors’ photos here, which is saying something.)

    Portlandia: Now I’m going to have break down and watch it for sure. (I just suggested to The Missus that we wait for it to build up a backlog of a couple DVD boxed sets — ironic, no? :)) Also really liked the James Brown clip but suddenly thought how much I’d like to see either of those two Portlandia couples transported back in time, suddenly finding themselves on that stage and in those clothes and expected to dance. Ha!

    Kicks: I’ve been shamefully invisible here in recent weeks, so in theory I’ve got a backlog of about eleventy-dozen kicks to list. Heck with that. Make it eleventy-dozen from which I choose these:

    1. Jasper Fforde’s “Thursday Next” series. Made for book people with a twisted love of wordplay, of parody, and of ultra-cleverness…
    2. New phone. Although I may never get used to how sensitive the thing is to touch. It’s like some handheld agoraphobic mechanical entity which starts shrieking in panic whenever I get within a quarter-inch of it. A little nerve-wracking. I assume the point is character-building.
    3. Christmas (and especially the music). Le sigh.
    4. This franchise chain, now with two locations HERE, specializing in heavenly omg-I-never-thought-I’d-taste-subs-like-this-again sandwiches.
    5. The nervous excitement preceding next steps.
    6. Really nice dinner dates — the kind where the food is SO good, and the atmosphere and people around you are SO nice… but you don’t even remember any of that until the next day, ’cause you were SO enjoying each other’s company.
    7. *whispers* Finished the book. For reals. Thursday, 12/29, around 9:30ish a.m.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  7. P.S. to Rachel (rm): congrats on the new pooch!

  8. Thanks John! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!
    Your kick #7 is HUGE!!! Way to go!

    PS – I put a picture of Cole up over at my place if you want to see the mug that suckered me into dog adoption again.

  9. Thanks for mentioning my new e-book Jules! Keep up the great work!

  10. Margie, if you read Ivan, come back and let us know how it is.

    Hi, Molly!

    Jone, congrats on the grant! Have a drink at Kells for me.

    Emily, hope you can find a copy.

    Rachel, while I think Portlandia is funny, I have groaned during some skits, too. You may be groaning for entirely different reasons, but let’s just say some skits are funnier than others, and some of the endings of some of those skits need some work. But, generally, it’s a hoot. … COLE sounds so beautiful! Congratulations! I’ll have to go see that pic. And congrats on getting past a hard week at work.

    John, YOU FINISHED? Whoa. Holy freakin’ whoa. Congrats! And what good, rich kicks you have. (I also like Jersey Mike’s.) Did you get an iPhone? … CONGRATS again!

    Hi Aaron! My pleasure.

  11. p.s. Rachel, is the print you got up at her site?

  12. Jules – yes, its the print of Home. So. Beautiful. It totally belongs in its place in my Home.
    Eventually I think I am going to have spring for a print of Expansion too.

    Thanks for visiting Cole. He is very handsome, isn’t he? He’s settling in, but Skittle needed a little extra love today. They’ll both setlle down soon.

  13. When the picture at the top of this entry began to load, I saw the cat and thought, “Yay, cats!”

    Then, the rest of the picture loaded, and I scrolled down and realized the birds were whacking a cat-shaped pinata. Poor cat! And darn you for being so adorable, you little cat-whackers!

    Hi Joey and Angela. How are you? Kudos, congrats, and good luck to you both! Welcome (back) to the land of the Imps. Joey, I am digging the color palettes presented in your illustrations. Angela, I dig your work and your husband’s work.

    Kicks for the past week:
    1) Leverage, which is my favorite currently airing TV show, period. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s consistently great week after week. I’m watching tonight’s new episode as I type this.
    2) I was on set all day today, having a wonderful time. That’s why I’m posting so late tonight rather than in the morning. 🙂
    3) The song Habits by Maria Mena featuring Mads Langer. Listened to it on repeat last night. Would love to sing that as a duet. Don’t know who would sing it with me. Hmmm.
    4) Opportunities (sought after)
    5) Opportunities (surprises)
    6) The amazing people I want to work with someday
    7) Flattery and crossing paths

    Jules: One and Only Ivan is in my to-read pile. Congrats on being named/considered a Versatile Blogger!

    Hi Margie!
    Hi Molly!
    Hi Emily!
    Hi Aaron!

    Jone: Yum, lentils. Congrats on the book grant approval! YES, YAY, YAHOO!

    Rachel (rm): Hugs to the newest furry member of your family. Tell Cole that I said hello – and give Skittle a scritch on the chin for me.

    JES: Not only that, but DiTerlizzi is a fun word to say! 😉 I need to catch up on the Thursday Next series. Remind me next week.

  14. I saw the book in manuscript and had fingers crossed that the pictures would be as good as Angela’s wonderful words. And was deliciously surprised that they were perfectly suited.

    When a Jane says “Yay!” does she really mean “Ole!!!!!”


  15. Jules: Didn’t get an iPhone, no — an Android. It still felt a little premature to get any super-duper smartphone at all. But the Blackberry I’d used before was SUCH a slug when it came to Internet use… which is about 90% of what I used it for. Plus it didn’t play almost any YouTube videos at all. Sheesh. #firstworldproblemsIknow

    Rachel: WOW, what a face on that sweet dog. If you could find a dictionary definition of “easily adoptable,” that mug would be the picture alongside it. 🙂

    LW: A kind soul has posted “Habits” as a YouTube video (complete with lyrics). Great song, thanks for the heads-up! And, as always, I love the impressionistic portrait of your life that your kicks give us. Each week’s entry from you is honestly like one of those Monet water-lilies paintings.

  16. Rachel, best of luck to Skittle. It’ll all work out. I know it.

    Little Willow, thanks for the song. I will listen! I’m glad you had a great time on set all day.

    Good call, Jane.

    John, good luck acclimating to the phone.

  17. A belated Happy New Year to you and your family, Jules!

    Now that I’ve become a nanny granny I’m always on the lookout for wonderful picture books to read aloud to my little granddaughter Julia Anna. And at her young age, I think board books are the best. I bought a ton of them for my daughter’s baby shower last may.

  18. […] Angela DiTerlizzi (January 8, 2012), pictured […]

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