What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Isabelle Arsenault and R.G. Roth

h1 February 2nd, 2012 by jules

“One day my sister Virginia woke up feeling wolfish.
She made wolf sounds and did strange things…”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread,
which includes Isabelle Arsenault’s hand-lettered text)


“…the boo-hoo blues, the you lose blues, the oh no, don’t go, miss you blues…”
(Click to enlarge spread)


For this week’s Kirkus column, which will be here tomorrow morning, I take a look at Kevin Henkes’ upcoming book, Penny and Her Song, which is Henkes’ debut as a beginning-reader author/illustrator.

* * *

If you missed last week’s column, I featured the beautiful picture book Virginia Wolf (to be released in March from Kids Can Press), written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Canadian Isabelle Arsenault. Long-time 7-Imp readers may remember this 2008 feature on Arsenault. How much do I love her artwork? If I counted the ways, we’d be here all week.

This morning, Arsenault shares some images and early studies from Virginia Wolf, and I thank her so much. I’m also featuring some illustrations from R. G. Roth from Everybody Gets the Blues (Harcourt, January 2012), written by author and illustrator Leslie Staub, a book I mentioned in last week’s column as well. Roth’s illustrations were hand-drawn, combined with collage, and then designed in Photoshop.






Early sketches
(Click the first one to enlarge)


Dust jacket
(Click to enlarge)


“The whole house sank. Up became down. Bright became dim. Glad became gloom.”
(Click to enlarge)



“I did my best to cheer her up. I offered her treats. She wolfed them all down. But it made no difference. Nothing pleased her. Not the cat. Not my violin. Not even making faces at our brother Thoby. She pulled up her covers and said, ‘LEAVE ME ALONE.’ Then she said nothing. To anybody.”
(Click each image to see full spread from which it comes)



(Click each image to see full spread from which it comes)


“I made a garden. I painted trees and strange candy blossoms and green shoots and frosted cakes. I painted leaves that said hush in the wind and fruit that squeaked, and slowly I created a place called Bloomsberry. I made it look just the way it sounded.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


Closing spread
(Click to enlarge)



* * * * * * *


“Sometimes I’m hapy under the great blue sky….”
(Click to enlarge spread)


“Everybody gets the blues sometimes: moms and dads, dogs and cats,
rodeo clowns in silly hats, scary bullies, beauty queens…”

(Click to enlarge spread)



* * * * * * *

VIRGINIA WOLF. Copyright © 2012 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations © 2012 by Isabelle Arsenault. Published by Kids Can Press, Tonawanda, NY. All images reproduced by permission of Isabelle Arsenault.

EVERYBODY GETS THE BLUES. Copyright © 2012 by Leslie Staub. Illustrations © 2012 by R. G. Roth. Published by Harcourt, New York. All images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

16 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Isabelle Arsenault and R.G. Roth”

  1. For a small publisher, Kids Can Press puts out a lot of great, inventive work. One of the things I love about Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations is that she uses Photoshop in a way that retains the hand-drawn quality. I can’t wait to see the real thing.

  2. Looooooooovvvvvvvveeee this work!

  3. Tom, YES! to your Kids Can Press comment. I also love that they release work by international artists and authors, imports, and such.

  4. Wow….this is wonderful.

  5. I won’t be surprised if Isabelle Arsenault wins the Governor General’s Award for children’s illustration this year. WOW! Amazing illustrations I can’t wait to get ahold of a copy.

  6. I’m putting these both on order.

    Some days I wake up feeling wolfish.

  7. What I wouldn’t give to be spend some time in a room filled with all the books you have introduced us to on this blog! You lucky librarians can just order to your hearts content. Alas, I must spend my hard earned Euros for the occasional book. Alack alay!

  8. I want to eat up both of these books!! Such beautiful and inventive artwork. So inspiring. Thanks for highlighting Kids Can Press as well- I wasn’t aware of them until now.

  9. Arsenault’s illustrations are particularly beautiful! And fascinating to see another wolf – I just read Emily Gravett’s Wolves for the first time yesterday.

  10. thanks for the nice post!
    Everybody gets the blues

    rg roth

  11. […] There are so many fantastic children’s book blogs but one of my new favorites is “Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.” Jules Danielson is a librarian and wonderfully compulsive appreciator of all things illustrated. This week she invited Isabelle Arsenault to share early sketches for Virginia Wolf. Enjoy. […]

  12. Simply lovely…..thanks for sharing Jules.

  13. […] The author is a native of New Orleans, and her personal experience living through Hurricane Katrina inspired her to write this story. The book is also beautifully illustrated with a variety of textures and a collage-like aesthetic. The musical overtones of New Orleans are woven throughout the pages, leaving one with the sense that the blues are an integral and beautiful part of living. Image source: Seven Impossible Things […]

  14. […] Featured work (left to right): Helena Perez-Garcia, Lotta Nieminen, Isabelle Arsenault […]

  15. […] Von links nach rechts: Helena Perez-Garcia, Lotta Nieminen, Isabelle Arsenault […]

  16. […] De gauche à droite: Helena Perez-Garcia, Lotta Nieminen, Isabelle Arsenault […]

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