7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #275:
Featuring Anita Lobel and Jan Thomas

h1 April 8th, 2012 by jules

“The Rabbit family sat down to bowls of delicious vegetable soup. Yum!
The happy rabbits were hungry no more.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Happy Easter / Passover to one and all … Since I have children who do the Easter thing (egg hunts and such), I have bunnies for you all this morning.

To be exact, I’ve got Jan Thomas’s Easter bunny (plus one eager skunk) and Caldecott Honor winner Anita Lobel’s bunnies-plural.

Anita Lobel’s 10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts, released by Knopf in February, is for very young readers, a beautiful picture book which seamlessly weaves both counting (one to ten) and color concepts in one warm story. As you can see in the spreads below (which are sans text), her gouache and watercolor spreads are detailed and colorful in this simple, scrumptious tale, which incidentally would get the thumbs-up from all gardeners and so-called foodies.

Mama Rabbit has ten very hungry little rabbits but nothing for her soup pot. When Papa Rabbit notes that good things for the soup pot are bound to be found in the garden, the counting begins. Highlighting bright, bold colors along with the numbers, clearly laid out on the page for young, curious eyes, Lobel has each young rabbit find and pull something delicious from the garden. And then … “Here comes dinner!” as the young rabbits haul in a giant basket full of fresh vegetables. “Never one to miss a detail, Lobel delicately shades the whisper-thin onion skins and every bump on the potato,” writes the Kirkus review.

Below are some more illustrations from this engaging, trim-sized book (for the tiniest of hands).

(Endpaper illustration)

“Mama Rabbit was sad. ‘I have nothing to put in my soup pot for dinner,’ she sighed. ‘But, Mama,’ whined ten little rabbits. ‘We are very, very, VERY HUNGRY!’ ‘There is the garden,’ said Papa Rabbit. ‘You are sure to find good things for Mama’s soup pot in there.’ Ten little rabbits agreed, and off they hopped.”

The “One” spread: “The first rabbit found ONE big PURPLE cabbage.”

“Mama Rabbit cooked soup. Then hungry rabbits waited.”

As made clear in my 2009 interview with Jan Thomas (for which Betsy Bird and Adrienne Furness joined me), I really enjoy Jan’s books. They make me laugh very hard, in fact. It was with happiness that I saw she has a new picture book, The Easter Bunny’s Assistant, released by Harper in January of this year. Thomas’s strengths are, once again, on display in this new title: her spot-on comic timing; her never-too-forced invitation to children to talk back to her characters, as she breaks the fourth wall of the book; her droll humor … it’s all here.

In this one, the Easter bunny wants to teach us how to dye beautiful Easter eggs, but he runs into some trouble, seeing as how his assistant is a skunk who gets a bit stinky when he gets really excited. And he REALLY LOVES making beautiful Easter eggs.

Here are some illustrations from the book, and I thank Jan for sharing:

(Title page illustration)

10 HUNGRY RABBITS: COUNTING & COLOR CONCEPTS. Copyright © 2012 by Anita Lobel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

THE EASTER BUNNY’S ASSISTANT. Copyright © 2012 by Jan Thomas. Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Jan Thomas.

* * * * * * *

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. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My weekend is filled with lots of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, Peeps*, and, um, even more chocolate, so I’m going to keep it simple this week. Besides, is anyone even around? Prove me wrong, and leave your kicks, if you got ’em!

[* I think that, long after life leaves this blue planet we live on (which I hope is a very long time from now, if ever), Peeps will remain in all their twisted glory. Don’t you agree?]

25 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #275:
Featuring Anita Lobel and Jan Thomas”

  1. I can’t wait to see the Lobel book; the detail and colors are something special. We did a mini-author study of Jan Thomas books before spring break. My students and I could not stop laughing. I can not help but smile when I hear her name.

  2. Bunnies and SOUP!!?? Can’t tell you how happy this post makes me today! *swoon*

    Happy Easter and Passover to everyone. *twitches whiskers*

    Hop hop!

  3. Happy Easter!
    This has been a very kicky week.
    1. Got an email from Jules, which has kept me smiling all week.
    2. Awesome report cards from both kids. Their reward is we are “adopting” some animals through the African Wildlife Foundation.
    3. I finished a theater poster for another show I will probably never see.
    4. Meeting my beautiful baby niece for the first time.
    5. I had some fantastic fish chowder from Chatham Fish & Lobster.
    6.Cousins, cousins and more cousins.
    7. Easter dinner at my parents with all of my siblings and almost all of my nieces and nephew. I’m bringing the black jellybeans.
    I hope you all have a great day and a great week.

  4. I haven’t seen either of these books yet, but I have them on order and am anxious for their arrival.

    I have such a fondness for Peeps because they’re cute, but as a food, they are disgusting. I wouldn’t even eat them when I was a child.

    This was an exhausting and happy week, and my kicks are all wrapped up in my friends Olivia and Sabrina getting married this past Tuesday, on the fifteenth anniversary of their first date. It was a beautiful, beautiful day, and I felt so fortunate to know them, to be there, and to be surrounded by friends and love and good food.

    And there will be more friends and love and good food today. I will also be finishing the last of my encyclopedia entries, which I’ve enjoyed writing but, after four months of work, am ready to be done with.

  5. We need new bools for Easter. These are great, especially the Lobel book.
    Jules, I agree about Peeps.
    Moria, which animals will you adopt?
    Everyone Happy Easterd and Passover.
    Kicks for me:
    1. Spring break. Oh my, it went fast.
    2. Oldest grandgirl spent the night: egg coloring, popcorn, and swimming and laughs a minute.
    3. Writing critique meeting.
    4. Spent all day yesterday with formatting my photo/haiku book for epub.
    5. Spring flowers.
    6. Send out the first batch of poetry postcards.
    7. Time at home.
    Have a great week.

  6. Margie, a Jan-Thomas mini-author study is something I can get behind.

    Hi, mrs. b!

    Moira, that is one great reward idea. I second Jone’s question: Which animals are you all adopting? Do you know yet? Have a great time at Easter dinner ….

    Adrienne, friends, love, and good food are pretty much all we need, yes? Am I missing anything? Good luck with the encyclopedia entry. You have worked so hard. I can’t believe you’re at the finish line.

    Jone, glad you had a good spring break. Summer will be here before we know it. Your grandchildren are lucky to have you, you know.

  7. Jules, We must add art to the list: friends, love, good food, and art.

  8. Hello Imps! (As Little Willow calls us — I’ve always liked that and hope she won’t mind my using it this once.)

    A quick summary of kicks, ’cause it’s shaping up to be a busy Easter, and holiday be, uh, cussed…

    1. Jules and about ten thousand other people, for badgering me about seeing Arrested Development. I LOVE IT. (Streaming it from Netflix, now offering CAPTIONS.)

    2. Ditto 30 Rock.

    3. The first hour or so after we get home from work. This is when The Missus catches up on her online stuff for the day, and I’m finally catching up on many of these cultural touchstones that everyone else has been talking about for years.

    4. My 80-year-old mom and one of my sisters are flying down on Thursday to visit with us for a few days. Yay!

    5. Immaculate blue sky. Temperature in the mid-50s, low 60s. 45-50 minutes of doing and caring about nothing in particular (at least, once the opaque plastic bag had served its purpose, early on). Birdsong. Flowers and lush lawns. Very light neighborhood traffic. That was how The Pooch and I spent our Sunday-morning walk.

    6. The Ramsey Lewis Trio.

    7. The way the hatred of doing chores is often more than made up for by the pleasure of having done them.

  9. Happy Easter!

    Hooray for bunnies! And chocolate, and easter egg hunts and getting together with friends and family!

    Jules – have lots of chocolate for me! Thanks for Elvis Peepsley…

    Moira – I too think that reward is awesome and would love to know what animals y’all are adopting. Have a lovely dinner!

    Adrienne – that wedding sounds incredible. So glad it was a perfect day for it.

    Jone – sounds like you had a great week. Eagerly awaiting my poetry postcard.

    John – so happy to hear you love Arrested Development! That Sunday walk with the pooch sounds like such a lovely morning.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Watched Winter’s Bone last night. Very good, but very dark, movie. Jennifer Lawrence was great in it, and its easy to see why they wanted her for Hunger Games. (Which I thought she was great in too.)
    2) Started reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone last night.
    3) The first 2 episodes of Scandal. I want to be Kerry Washington when I grow up.
    4) Bought a lawn mower off craigslist this week and cut the grass Friday. Who knew owning a lawn mower could make me so happy?
    5) Planting yellow ranunculas in planters on the patio.
    6) Having a beer with my hair stylist Friday. She has been in my life for over 5 years, and I always leave her salon looking and feeling better.
    7) Seeing Davis Rogan play at Al’s Den on Friday night with friends. He is the real person the character Davis on HBO’s Treme is based upon, and is very funny and fun.

    Have a great week everyone!

  10. A funny bunny (Jan Thomas’) ha-ha! and 10 colorful, sweet bunnies (Anita Lobel’s) and a lovely Easter/Passover post (Jule’s.) Thanks for all. Why is my inner-kid so pleased that the bunny-soup contributor’s jacket matches his cabbage? (And am I right to assume the rest will match their veggies as well?…) Love that.

    Good bunny kicks from the gang: studies that make students laugh, twitching whiskers, black jelly beans, Peeps–inedible cultural icons (I’m so with you on that adrienne), spring flowers + poetry postcards, Pooch idylls and yes, Art.

    My kicks are pastel-colored and crafty today; all about family decorating Easter eggs:

    1 – My hubby melting candles and trying a new “paint wax” effort. Cool brushy swipes of white. Very modern art.

    2 – My college son made his own dipping concoctions (and a huge oily mess, ha!) but some interesting eggs drug through the oil-in-the-dye. = swirly, speckled eggs.

    3 – High school son looked up gaming icons on his i-phone and made very graphic “Half Life” and radiation symbol eggs with black Sharpie, then dyed neatly two-toned.

    4. My mom and I stuck with good ole crayon-resistance coloring. Drew flowers and polka dots, etc. Then, chided by the “experimenters”, we branched out and tried rubberband wrapping, painted wax and Russian patterns in black Sharpie. Kinda cool.

    5 – chocolate. I mean, CHOCOLATE. Diet be damned.

    6 – Cat Zeek enthralled with little plastic wind-up chicken left over from Easters past.

    7 – View: Grey-blue sky melting into grey-blue ocean, and neighbor children in pastel Easter clothes hunting eggs on the bluff. (-: 3

    Happy Easter or Passover! Enjoy a lovely spring week.

  11. What a great week….
    1. Looks like RIF may have a deal in the works to move into a new space given our downsizing of person power; and the smaller space will save money to be spent on books!
    2. Easter brunch today at a place in DC where I had not eaten..CoCo Sala with lots of chocolate throughout the menu…the best!
    3. A long nap yesterday – what a super luxury.
    4. Spring flowers continue to be exquisite, just today saw a small cluster of pink dogwoods that were loaded with blossoms, posted some pictures on FaceBook.
    5. Continue to savor the book GREEN by Laura Vaccaro Seeger with which I am so taken…the die cuts, rhyme, textures, shades of green and more.
    6. Loved receiving from a friend BACKSEAT A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout; what a fun picture book about road signs! The layout, construction of the book and more make it special…and written from a back seat perspective which is where the children are supposed to be, right?
    7. Looking ahead to only a week before I go to Arkansas again for a “grandsons” fix…can’t wait!

  12. Fly-by! I had an overnight shoot for a film, and now I have to get ready and go to the theatre for musical work! I hope you are all enjoying your spring-Passover-Easter-weekend.

  13. The kids decided on a giraffe and a leopard.
    Here is the link: http://adopt.awf.org/
    The kids were surprised and excited because I don’t usually do report card rewards.

  14. Hi, fellow Imps! JES, I too hope that Willow won’t mind if we take on that mantle of fandom. Whee.

    A friend brought over homemade Peeps today. She didn’t make them, but someone else did. They tasted like marshmallows, as you would expect, but they were quite pleasant.

    Here are my kicks:
    1. Despite the lack of orange blossom water, I mixed up no less than 4 Ramos Gin Fizz drinks today. And yes, I shook each drink for 12 minutes.
    2. Today was warm enough to take off my jacket.
    3. Good friends gathered for an Easter celebration made the day even brighter.
    4. I’m getting the hang of e-books.
    5. Tanita Davis’ new book is coming out next month.
    6. I cleaned out the fridge and the cupboards. I Am Resolved not to let riff-raff accumulate again.
    7. Mauve toenails.

  15. Adrienne: Excellent addition.

    John, I like that last kick. Also, we imps wish we could take a walk with you and The Pooch. (Yes, I’m boldly speaking for everyone.) … Everything is right in the world, now that you’re watching Arrested Development.

    Rachel, I’ll have to Google-search ranunculas. How do you like Laini’s book?

    Denise, dang. That read like a really good short story. Thanks for the details. I wanna see pics of those eggs!

    Carol, yay for RIF! And the book Green. Laura will be visiting 7-Imp soon. Have fun on your “grandsons” fix … and safe travels.

    LW: FILM! Woo! Break a leg!

    Moira: My girls would especially approve of the leopard.

    Farida and John: I’m good with us all being called imps. Bring it. What a good week you had, Farida. TANITA’S BOOK! YAY!

  16. Jules – I picked it up cause you and someone else had mentioned it, and excerpts like the following make me want to curl up inside of it and climb into Karou’s whole world:

    “For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve – like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.”

    She has a lovely way with words. So glad you brought it to my attention.

  17. NO WAY. I loved that little excerpt so much, too, that I emailed it to some friends recently. I did.


    I’m not done yet, but I’ll be travelling this week and hope to get more reading done on the plane.

  18. Thanks for the 2 books! I loved them both for different reasons. I fell really hard for the endpapers illustration you included from the Anita Lobel book – so beautiful!

    My weekly kicks:
    1. reading through the Poetry for Young People series this week – great bios of the poets, really thought provoking and often beautiful illustrations, interesting choices for poems

    2. stopped reading The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery even though it is fabulous. I switched to the latest Isabelle Dalhousie novel by Alexander McCall Smith until after our preschool’s mammoth fundraiser this coming weekend. This may sound very wimpy to all you fine lit readers, but I had to lighten up somewhere in my life!

    3. making mud paint with my son on the patio this afternoon and painting our brick wall with it.

    4. buying the most ADORABLE onesies to send to my brother and sister-in-law for my baby nephew making his debut in August of 2012.

    5. deciding to send his older sister, my niece, age 3 the book Chirchir is Singing by Kelly Cunnane (this is one of our favorite Africa picture book discoveries last year)

  19. 1. this blog and its imp-kicks
    2. my 14 year old had me reading to her again and she decided she loves William Steig and Krazy Kat
    3.watching Boulevard Empire
    4. spring cleaning with my man (vacummed lots of dust bunnies, sorry Jan)
    5.goodreads addiction
    6.my girl and her future step-son straightened my curly mop…straight hair feels strange, luckily it’s not permanent
    Happy Springtime, Lisa

  20. Jules,

    I wasn’t around yesterday–so I thought I’d stop by this morning. I hope you and your family had a Happy Easter! My kick of the week was our holiday dinner with family–including my granddaughter Julia who is the light of my life. She is now eight months old. How the time flies!

  21. Jules,

    So cool! I love it when fiction speaks a truth like that and it just reaches out and grabs you. Hope you get to read more on the plane.

    Happy and safe travels!

  22. I am a huge fan of Anita Lobel’s work, but found the layout of this book, including choice of font terribly dissatisfying. The format, in my opinion, is too small for the beautiful artwork – the images look better in your blog than on the book’s pages. And I have trouble, as most would, reading Bodoni-style fonts used for text copy. This book certainly goes to show that not only story and art are vital elements in the creation of picture books, but the design plays an equally important role.

  23. Allison, not wimpy at all. My novel-reading rate (anything that isn’t picture books) is pretty sad. I still need to see Chirchir is Singing. I heard good things about it.

    Lisa: Hear, hear for Steig! What is Boulevard Empire? I’ve heard of Boardwalk Empire, but I assume they’re two different things.

    Elaine, EIGHT MONTHS already? ! Happy spring to you and your beautiful family.

    Rachel: Thanks!

    Julie: Yes, design is so important. I wasn’t distracted by either size or font with this one, but you’ve certainly made me want to take another look.

  24. […] Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast a blog about books « 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #275:Featuring Anita Lobel and Jan Thomas […]

  25. Ahem, yes! It’s Boardwalk Empire! I kept telling everybody about this fantastic show called Boulevard Empire. Oops a daisy!

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