What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sophie Blackall

h1 March 30th, 2012 by jules

“‘Ah,’ said Prince Charles. ‘I’ve often heard animals speak. Plants too. It’s all a matter of noticing, isn’t it? The richness of our lives depends on what we are willing to notice and what we are willing to believe. Of course, I get crucified in the press for talking to my plants, but it’s awfully rude not to talk back to anyone who speaks to you, isn’t it?'”


This morning at Kirkus, I weigh in on Claire A. Nivola’s picture book biography, Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. The link is here.

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Last week, I wrote about Polly Horvath’s Mr. and Mrs. Bunny: Detectives Extraordinaire! (Schwartz & Wade, February 2012), illustrated by Sophie Blackall. That link is here, if you missed it and are so inclined to read it.

Today, Sophie shares a handful of interior illustrations from the book. Enjoy.

“‘…A detective does not want to stand out. We need plain brown fedoras that will blend in with our fuzzy ears and whiskers and not shout out “Detective on the premises!” ‘I beg to differ, Mr. Bunny,’ said Mrs. Bunny, who was growing more attached to the white hat by the minute. ‘Any fedora at all is sure to scream out “Detective on the premises!” That is, in fact, the point of the fedora.'”

“When the baby Bunnys were small, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny had entertained themselves by letting them hide under blankets and hitting them with the Nerf bat, saying in loud, theatrical tones, ‘WHAT’S THAT LUMP?’ It was endlessly amusing but not apt to have the same effect with strangers, Mrs. Bunny feared. Nevertheless, Mr. Bunny was willing to give it a try with a poke from a stick in the place of the Nerf bat, when suddenly a head popped out and a little girl looked at them blankly. The Bunnys were used to being looked at blankly. It was seldom a human tried to make eye contact.
‘WHAT’S THAT LUMP?’ shouted Mr. Bunny anyway, just for the heck of it.”

“Mr. Bunny was on the outside and Mrs. Bunny was on the inside and Madeline was wedged tightly in the door frame with her neck at a very uncomfortable angle.
‘I tried. I can’t move. I’m telling you, I’m stuck!'”

“‘Right,’ said Mr. Bunny, clamping his fedora on The Marmot’s head. Mrs. Bunny found a spare pair of sunglasses in her purse, and Madeline took off the scarf she had around her neck. It was too big, of course, but they wound it six or seven times around The Marmot’s neck until even his own mother wouldn’t have known him.
‘Mr. Bunny, you are a master of disguise,’ said Mrs. Bunny admiringly.”

“The Marmot had climbed up a tree and hung upside down by his hind legs, looking perplexed. ‘All right, all right. Listen, can I just call you Marmot?’
pleaded Madeline, looking up into his puzzled face.”

“Just then the door opened and the Grand Poobah entered.”

“‘…I suggest we go back to plan A and all buy Glade PlugIns. There are many fine scents that have nothing to do with either tuberose or surprise.’ ‘Excellent!’ said the other bunnies, hopping up and down. ‘Excellent, excellent, excellent.’ And they all hopped home with their boxes of bonnets and decorations, feeling useful and
brilliantly intelligent as each remembered the idea as being her own.”

“‘Your pet? The little girl is a pet?’ said the head councilbunny. ‘A likely story.’ ‘I think if you will read your bunny charter of rights you will find, section sixty-two, subsection nine thirty-four, that, and I quote, “Bunnies have the inalienable right to have for their pet any animal they choose so long as they build it suitable housing.”‘ ‘AHA!’ said the head councilbunny. ‘And as you can see, I am wearing my overalls because I was working on the said pet hutch right up until council time!
HA! HAHAHAHA, HAHA!’ said Mr. Bunny triumphantly.”

“But then something even more astonishing happened. Dozens of hounds jumped out from every door and window. And oddly, they were all hopping.
Leading the way down the stairs was Madeline!”

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MR. AND MRS. BUNNY: DETECTIVES EXTRAORDINAIRE! Copyright © 2012 by Polly Horvath. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Sophie Blackall. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. Images posted with permission of Sophie Blackall.

10 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sophie Blackall”

  1. I can’t wait to read this and laugh and enjoy the illustrations some more. Thank you for sharing them. Also, your Kirkus review was hilarious – thanks for that too.

  2. Oh my goodness!! This looks fabulous. I absolutely love Sophie Blackall. Love. Her.

  3. How very funny!! The artwork and captions are soooooo intriguing. This looks like a fabulous book!

  4. You could feature Sophie Blackall every day for the rest of eternity and I would never tire of her.

  5. Funny you should say that, Jessica. I added this post to this page—http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?page_id=807—and noticed that I may as well call this the “Sophie Blackall and Julie Paschkis blog.” They’ve visited MANY times, which is ever-so good with me.

  6. I haven’t seen this yet and I must. Given the quotes it must have been a great read-aloud. Lots of fun. I don’t miss the color in these illustrations; B&W is A OK.

  7. What great writing! And as usual, I love Sophie’s characters. Look at that Marmot! I mean, really?! The arms and the way he’s flopped over that branch… so genius.

  8. I think I’m in love. O.o

  9. Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies in hats!

  10. I was just in New York and had the treat of viewing her art while riding the subway!

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