7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #298: Featuring Olivier Tallec

h1 September 23rd, 2012 by jules

I really don’t want to run my mouth too much, honestly, about today’s featured title, Olivier Tallec’s Waterloo & Trafalgar.

And that’s because the book itself doesn’t come out until late next month, and I don’t want to ruin the reading experience for you.

I’ll say this much, though:

Tallec was born in France and worked in advertising before doing children’s book illustration. He’s illustrated about sixty children’s books, many of them brought here to the States by Enchanted Lion Books, who have published this new one. In this, his first wordless picture book, he demonstrates—though he’s got a good track record with it already—his exceptional skills with visual storytelling.

In a story told in only blue, orange, and black, we meet two men—Waterloo and Trafalgar, names Tallec chose due to the way they sound, not to mention he felt that children would like them—experiencing what is very much a cold war. They are watching one another, each over a wall and with weapons at the ready. The men threaten one another most aggressively when the snail the man in orange comes to love heads over to the man-in-blue’s side, only to be cooked up for dinner. The man in blue kicks the snail’s shell back over to the other side, and all hell breaks loose. Or, at least it threatens, too, but never actually does. The cold war in which they are engaged merely trudges on. (It is here observant readers will see clever die-cuts in orange and blue and in the shapes of stars, which hint at unity. The cover, I should note, speaking of die cuts, features two distinct ones, one for each soldier.)

The war continues through the seasons, that is, until they are forced to meet, but I don’t want to give away the ending. It’s enough to say, perhaps, that they find harmony and also learn that not only is there more than the meets the eye in their surroundings, but also that they have more in common than they initially realized. And, as the editor writes in a note at the beginning of the book, “[e]ach reader will absorb the story in his or her own way.”

Along the way, there is much humor (be sure to enlarge the last spread pictured below), particularly given Tallec’s talents with character development and expression. Take this spread, for instance, which you can click to embiggen. In fact, I highly recommend doing that:

(Click to enlarge)

With emotion and charm, as well as a very retro palette and style, he brings readers a thought-provoking story of war and peace. It would be great paired with Davide Cali’s The Enemy: A Book About Peace, illustrated by Serge Bloch, which I covered here at 7-Imp and which Publishers Weekly described as “an absurd waiting game worthy of Beckett.” The same could be said of Tallec’s striking book.

Here are some more spreads. Enjoy.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

WATERLOO & TRAFALGAR. First American Edition 2012 by Enchanted Lion Books. Spreads reproduced by permission of publisher.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

1) I spoke last Sunday at SCBWI Midsouth’s 2012 Fall Conference, and it was really nice to see local friends, as well as meet some non-local folks in publishing who traveled here (mostly from NYC) to serve as faculty for this conference. P.S. My presentation went well. Whew.

2) Matthew Cordell has a new trailer for hello! hello!, a picture book that endeared itself to me upon my very first reading of it:

That music is by Philip Stead.

3) Years ago, a friend recommended I watch Slings and Arrows. Sometimes, I’m crazy slow with my mental to-do list, but I finally watched the first two episodes the other night and loved it.

4) You all know how Farida Dowler makes the most beautiful dolls? (If you don’t know this, stop reading my rambling, by all means, and head on over to her Etsy site.) Well, we own many of these dolls, and our cat, Pumpkinfacehead, got a hold of one of them and tried to make it one very possible snack before breakfast. As in, ripped the poor doll’s hair off and generally covered her in spit. The eight-year-old shrieked in agony over this. (I had commissioned Farida several years ago to make this doll to look like my eldest. Needless to say, it was an extra special doll to us.)

The doll made a visit to a certain rejuvenation spa—meaning, she made a cross-country trip, and Farida mended her for us—and she now looks like this:

Yes, she now has a braid! Prior to the wrath of Pumpkinfacehead, she had much shorter hair. And Farida, who is super talented, even made her a new flower staff, though it’s not pictured here.

The best part may be when Farida told us this:

“The interaction with the cat has changed her. She understands that the cat was not being malicious, but just doing what cats do. However, her forgiveness does not mean that she has forgotten those teeth. She’s pretty cheerful overall, but it’s possible that, after she returns home, you may find scraps of moody poetry laying around.”

5) I love seeing the new freckles that appear on my daughters’ faces, as they grow and change. I don’t mean a mess of freckles in one spot—they don’t have complexions like that—but little solo freckles that suddenly appear on their skin, which you know will be beauty marks forever. (They could have three noses each, and I’d still think they were beautiful, as parents are wont to do.)

6) I went with my eight-year-old on a class field trip to a cave. The eight-year-old merely tolerated said cave. (This child would rather be reading. Always. And to her credit, it was the kind of cave that in one spot had a large-screen TV in it, so you know … it’s not exactly like we were spelunking or something.) But we had fun, hanging out and cracking jokes all day. I even got to ride on the bus with her.

7) Did you notice the kicks-number in this post’s title? We’re almost at 300 weeks of “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.”

300 WEEKS? Whoa.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

20 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #298: Featuring Olivier Tallec”

  1. Jules:
    You never fail to enhance a title I already know or turn me on to another glorious author/illustrator. I think I’m really going to like Oliver Taller and his Waterloo & Trafalgar.

    I am so glad your presentation went well. And I too love the new book trailer for Hello! Hello! I can’t wait to see it although I have much love for Another Brother.

    My kicks:
    1. We finally have been getting rain, nearly everyday. It’s like Mother Nature is making up for a summer of nothing.
    2. Theo’s been back twice (my tree toad).
    3. It’s been so cold I’ve had my first fire in the fireplace.
    4. Our nearby farmer’s-market-style farm has loads of zinnias which I’ve been bringing home to brighten up the house.
    5. Read delightful picture books and the new book by Rebecca Stead.
    6. Making homemade soup
    7. Walking in the coolness with Xena

  2. I am intrigued by Waterloo & Trafalgar. I especially love the illustration with the “la la la” in cursive flying across the space in between.

    Farida’s note made me laugh so hard, and I’m glad the doll was able to be salvaged. I have to keep my dolls from Farida somewhere Benny can’t reach because every time he sees them, his eyes get big, and I know what he’s thinking.

    One day this summer, I counted every single freckle on Maxwell’s face. He is very fair, and there were over 100 the day we counted. They’re very light, so you don’t really see them in photos, unless you’re way up close.

    My Kicks:
    1. I just got the new Ben Folds Five album, which I haven’t even listened to yet, but I’m looking forward to listening and to seeing them in concert in a couple weeks. !!!
    2. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed was a fantastic, quick read.
    3. I caught a chipmunk in the library this past week. It made me feel useful.
    4. I also scavenged a couple bulletin boards for HPL from my old workplace, as I knew they had a bunch of them sitting in their maintenance room gathering dust. It’s nice to be able to reuse something instead of buying new.
    5. Last night, I went to see Patton Oswalt perform here in town. He was hilarious. Julie, you might appreciate that there was a sign language interpreter at the performance, and some of the funniest bits followed after Oswalt figured out he could make the interpreter say whatever he wanted him to. It was a bit like Mo Willems’ We Are in a Book, although, as you can imagine, Oswalt wasn’t interested in making the interpreter (who was just as graceful and funny as he could be) say “banana.”
    6. Someone’s coming to look at my house this evening. Perhaps they’ll buy it.
    7. I’m listening to Lois Lowry’s new book, Son (fourth in the series that started with The Giver), and it’s quite good.

  3. Good morning, Imps!

    Hi there, Olivier Tallec! Thanks for dropping by.

    Jules: So glad that your speaking engagement went well, and that you had fun on the field trip! Happy almost 300 weeks of kicks!

    Jules, Farida: Glad that the doll’s surgery was a success.

    Margie: Say hello to Theo the toad for me, and enjoy the walks in the cool weather.

    Adrienne: GOod luck with the house showing tonight. Thanks again for saving Alvin and releasing him into the wild.

    My kicks from the past week:

    1) Reading
    2) Supporters
    3) Audition yesterday
    4) Audition later today
    5) Rehearsals
    6) Using my time wisely
    7) Writing

  4. I was just looking over my note to you, and remembering that I pondered, “Lie or lay?” I read it aloud, and my daughter groaned, “The English language is SOOOO confusing.”


    1. My grandmother is in town this week. She is my last living grandparent.

    2. Homemade granola from the Baked cookbook is both simple and satisfying. I’m keeping the recipe, even though I’ll be tweaking the amount of sugar and honey.

    3. The other day, as I used the foam roller, I thought, “I must be doing something wrong– my muscles don’t hurt like they used to. Ohhhhhh.” Recovery!

    4. The “Hey Runner Girl” Ryan Gosling tumblr meme had me laughing out loud. I won’t put the link in, as I don’t want this comment to go into the spam folder. You can find it easily, though.

    5. Coffee

    6. Justin’s (TM) maple almond nut butter

    7. It was a little naughty of me not to wait for Christmas, but I’ve preordered a GPS pace-setting watch– in green. It is allegedly very easy to use. My current digital watch has printed directions with tiny, tiny letters. I’m lucky that I can puzzle out how to change the time.

  5. Hi, you all! It’s quiet here today, but that’s good. That means people are outside, enjoying the arrival of Autumn. WOOT!

    Margie: Another Brother is pretty flippin’ great, too, the first 2012 picture book title I fell for. … What kind of soup did you make?! Also, I’m reading Stead’s book to my daughters now. Good stuff.

    Adrienne: It’s entirely my fault that Pumpkinfacehead got the doll. Piper had her in a different spot, not at all a cat-zone spot, and I moved her to a spot I thought was better (shows you what I know), and SNAG, he got her. … I wanna read Strayed’s book so bad, but like everything else in my life right now, it will have to wait till after 11/5 (manuscript revisions are due then — I keep saying to everyone I know, can that wait till after 11/5? I’m sick of hearing my own self say it). …. Can’t wait to hear the Ben Folds Five CD, and I FORGOT you’re gonna see ’em live. Excellent! That interpreter bit sounds funny. I once interpreted a Criminal Justice course at a university, and the prof was messing with me and my team interpreter, but in a way that was exasperating, not funny. …. I hope those people buy your house, too.

    LW: Hope you get good news on those auditions. I like “using my time wisely” as a kick; I feel like I am a slave to the clock and calendar now, given these revisions, but that’s the way it must be until … you guessed it … 11/5.

    Farida: Enjoy your time with your grandmother. And I’m very happy to read the recovery kick. Also, those Ryan Gosling tumblr thingies ARE super funny, each and every time, though I’ll have to go look for the Runner Girl one. I didn’t know one could order watches with GPS settings. Huh.

  6. p.s. Here is the young version of Flora, before the cat attack:

    I love her new braid.

  7. Waterloo & Trafalgar looks wonderful for the emotive illustrations, the experience of reading it AND the ideas it must bring up for kids to ponder—particularly that perhaps ‘the other guy’ is not really so ‘other’. I like the top angry scene so much.

    Jules – Congrats on your presentation; wish I could have heard it. I don’t know of Slings & Arrows… will have to investigate. Farida’s doll looks so precious, I’m glad she was able to visit her fairy godmother for a makeover. RE: freckles. One of my sons and I are freckled in that milky-way kind of uniformed dappling way. I think once I started counting his – we’d be forever counting. RE: Kicks #298… I bow to your endurance and constancy. Yea for 300!

    Margie – zinnias in your vases, a tree toad on your porch and home made soup in your bowl. Such a cozy picture!

    adrienne – Thank you for the TBT rec. I’m going to add it to my Kindle; I could use a little (as the intro says) “radical empathy”. Good luck with the house hunters.

    LW – Using one time’s wisely is not easy. I suck at it. I’ll try to be inspired by you. THX

    Farida – “moody poems laying or lying around” ha-ha! A dolly insight that transcends grammar. (I love your doll. Somehow that straight stitch of a mouth looks just a bit pouty. Perfect.)

    I had an exhausting but worthwhile week. Came out of show-biz retirement to direct the 2012 commercial/YouTube spot for Authors and Illustrators for Children. The all-volunteer crew was a little understaffed so I put in several ‘all-nighters’. Geez, don’t bounce back like I used to in college when that was a norm. But it was oddly reassuring to know I could still do it when push-came-to-shove. And whatever your politics—the kids are cute.

    1. The AIC 2012 spot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYPW-yoI9Cg

    2 – 5: Camaraderie under pressure, working with children and animals (WC Fields was funny but wrong), the amazing editing house that volunteered both editing-bay time and an editor at last minute when other plans fell through, and Diet Coke with Lime: the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions when crunch-time calls. Ha-ha.

    Last two kicks are flight based. There was a lot of aerial action off my bluff this week.

    6. There was a scary brush fire near the Getty Center – put out by the help of water scooping airplane tankers. Amazing, they flew right over my neighborhood, skimmed along the ocean surface, then, with tremendous effort, lifted up and away to fly off and douse the flames. ‘Round and around. Helipcopter dunkers as well.

    7. And then on Friday: the SPACE SHUTTLE, riding piggyback, flew by – close and low, cheered on by ~250 of my neighbors (lots of kids, students from the high school on a ‘science field trip’, folks with cameras) all gathered on the bluff. Cool!

    That’s it for me. Have a great week kickers (I’m going to catch up on my sleep.)

  8. LW… make that:

    “one’s time wisely” (what an odd typo. See? I’m tired.)

  9. Hi Jules!
    Oliver Tallec certainly does do character development and emotion well. I’m excited in seeing his work here for the first time. Off to my library with his name tucked under my hat.

    Jules: Yay for SCBWI presentation going well. I still want you to come to our region! I don’t know what made me chuckle more: your cat snacking on the doll…or your cat’s name! I saw Matthew Cordell’s trailer earlier this week…love! Also, have you seen this blogpost about why he did the hand lettering? Very lovely: http://matthewcordell.blogspot.com/2012/09/hello-hello-i-heart-hand-lettering.html

    Margie: Theo sounds nice! And…I’ve been trying to get Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead from our library with no luck. While I’m waiting I’ve been enjoying When You Reach Me.

    Adrienne: Sending good house-buying thoughts your way. Hope it sells.

    Little Willow: Hope the audition goes well!

    Farida: Loving your dolls and Etsy store!

    My kicks:
    1) picnic at the botanical gardens while the girls all did headstands in the plushy, soft grass (something we’re lacking…Ok, so, we have mostly a weed lawn!)
    2) middle school is going well after a hard year last year. Whew
    3) Art auction sewing for kids school fund raiser
    4) Booked hotel for SCBWI winter conference…I’m just a little excited to go again this year!

    5) Ok, I have a bazillion more, but it’s SOOOO beautiful outside I’m going to let this be my last kick…Watching the dreamy autumn sunlight while sitting on my porch step…off to go do it now

  10. I love your kick about the freckles, Jules. And that doll (moody poetry and all) is gorgeous.

    Margie, I love how flowers brighten up a house, and flowers named zinnias are extra cool.

    Adrienne, you had a chipmunk in your library?! Having just seen some for the first time last week, I am very impressed you caught it. They seem very fast and bouncy.

    Denise, I love your flight based kicks. How cool to see the shuttle fly past, I saw that on TV.

    eek, running out of time here, will return later

    I arrived home yesterday after my whirlwind two week visit to the USA.

    1. I feel so lucky that I had this opportunity of (relatively) cheaply visiting a new country
    2. I got to try lots of things off my US food list! Such as New York bagels (yum), grits (different texture than expected but tasted nicer than it looked), waffles, peach pie…I am forgetting lots of things here but I am sure I will recover from jetlag at some point and remember others
    3. I loved New York! I have never seen a city like it. It must be exhilarating (and a bit tiring!) to leave there.
    4. Near-perfect weather which allowed us to spend lots of time walking around out-doors without raincoats umbrellas etc
    5. I only ran out of reading material about five minutes before the plane landed. Phew!
    6. Our house and chickens were well-looked after by a range of family and friends – so nice to come home to fresh sheets on the bed and folded towels in the cupboard (courtesy of our house sitting friend) and fresh milk and bread in the kitchen.
    7. I spent the afternoon recovering from jetlag in the nicest way possible, laying in the hammock under the tree in our courtyard, reading and listening to insects fly around me. The weather is now firmly spring-summer here.

    And I should add a bonus one, I slept through the night here so perhaps jetlag really isn’t as bad going this way!

  11. Little Willow, I think you must ALWAYS use your time wisely: you do so much.

    Ditto you, Jules.

    Farida, Yay to that new watch! Yay to vanquishing the muscle pain, too.

    Emmaco, Yes, it was there, and it was very fast. I am fast, too, though. I hope that jetlag gets better quickly. I find it takes me a few days on the trip home.

    Thanks for the good house wishes all around. I’m wishing and hoping and thinking and praying here.

  12. Hey Jules, interesting book as usual. My favorite isthe spread the two standing in the rain. Also enjoyed your previous post of Soyeon Kim dioramas, wow.

    So sorry to hear of the cat attack, I winced for your daughter…. having a favorite toy destroyed or lost was in the top 5 of my nightmares when i was kid. Glad to hear the happy ending and the dolls on her site look cool.

    My kicks are
    1. beautiful weather and a day at the zoo with both kiddos
    2. working my way thru a wonderful reading list inspired by last weekend’s SCBWI conference.
    3. on said reading list, just finished Shaun Tan’s The Arrival (stunning)
    4. free time this week to rework latest series of illos, re-inspired by the conference
    5. Parenthood back on NBC! hubs and i are a huge fan

    only 5 for now because speaking of #4 i think i’m going to hit the drawing board again before gets too much later … have a great week ya’ll.

  13. Waterloo and Trafalgar looks like so much fun. I love Oliver Tallec’s limited pallete. The characters remind me of wordless animation shorts from my youth.
    Jules- I’m glad your presentation went well. Fields trips are a fun way to get to know the kids classmates and teachers.
    I’m glad to hear the freckle love today. Yay freckles!
    Margie- That fireplace sure sounds nice with a warm cider perhaps? Mmm or homemade soup.
    Adrienne- Love Patton Oswalt. I’m glad you got to see him live.
    L.W.-“Yes” seven times to your kicks
    Farida- Love Justin’s chocolate almond butter, yum.
    Denise- I will always take exhausting as long as it’s followed by worthwhile.
    Lori- You booked the hotel already?! I should probably call my brother to make sure his couch is free. See you in NYC
    emmaco- Glad to hear your trip went well and that you are home safe.
    1.Pumpkin flavored things help me to transition from my beloved summer into fall.
    2. I started sending out my promotional postcards.
    3. Had dinner with Auntie Mame tonight. She was the aunt who sent books instead of toys or clothes.
    4. Decided to start blogging from my website. I hope you guys will stop by some time.
    5. Paninis and whoopie pies for lunch thanks to a co-worker’s birthday.
    6. Walking and talking with friends
    7. Excited about the SCBWI, Tomie dePaola award guidlines this year. http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/2013-Tomie-dePaola-Guidelines

    Happy Equinox Imps!

  14. Denise: Ooh, looking forward to watching that clip, which I shall do before bed. Also, thank goodness you all are okay, given the brush fire in your vicinity. How cool to have seen the Space Shuttle.

    Lori, nope, haven’t seen that blog post, but I’ll go have a look. Glad to hear the school year is going better, and I don’t blame you for wanting to get outside instead of typing … Is that Winter SCBWI conference a national one? Again? Cool!

    Ooh, Emmaco! Sounds like you ate so well on your trip! For some reason, I initially read that your housesitters left apples on your bed, waiting for you upon your return, but hey, apples would work, too. And they left you fresh bread? DUDE. May I borrow them next time I leave town? I’m so glad you had a great trip!

    Mary: The Arrival! Shaun Tan! Wow. He is unparraleled, huh? Hope you got lots of drawing done today.

    Moira: I actually had a pumpkin spice latte recently, even though it’s not my favorite flavor. I just reeeeally wanted a taste of Fall. I like Auntie Mame for being your book connection, and I am not sure what a whoopie pie is. I must find out.

  15. p.s. This must be what Farida was talking about: http://heyrunnergirl.tumblr.com/

    HA. Pheremones, no sweat.

  16. Hi Everyone, after a few hectic weeks, I just wanted to drop in, even tho’ it is late.

    First, great kicks from everyone – LOTS going on. Hard to just make one comment, but I did want to say that I’m glad Emmaco enjoyed the US and NYC. I feel exactly the same way about it! And thanks to those who shared links, etc. I always enjoy going to them.

    Second, love Farida’s little doll – so glad it was reparied and I loved the comment. Please do report if moody poetry bits turn up!

    Third – VERY interesting book – I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I think alot about how to introduce conflict resolution to young ones, especially boys. I’m always looking for books that look at how absence of conflict is not peace.

    My Kicks:
    1. THE QUIET PLACE – Sarah Stewart and David Small. what a book – so lovely. My Little immediately began building his own. We pulled a large box out from under his bed and have begun planning art for it.

    2. THE SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOR landed in LA this week. My mom and I got to see it fly over while standing in the Inglewood Costco parking lot. Very few folks figured out that Costco is directly under the landing runway’s incoming flight path. Unlike many others around LA we weren’t stuck in traffic or squished among hoards of well-wishers. Anyway, it was such a thrill.

    3. My parents are in escrow for a charming condo in our neighborhood and hope to move here from Oregon in early December. This means so much to my family.

    That is it – there should be more, but these are 3 biggies for me.

    See everyone next week,

  17. Sorry, what I meant on my third comment is:
    I’m looking for books that are thinking beyond peace being just an absence of conflict.

  18. That’s one sweet trailer for hello! hello! Looking forward to that one.

    Kick #1 – A conversation with Melissa Sweet at my blog. Very fun.

    Kick #2 – My family dragged me camping this past weekend, and it went much better than expected.

  19. Allison: Great news for your parents and family. Also, I like your first kick, as well as your search for books about conflict/peace and the way you define it.

    Amy: Sweet about Sweet! (I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say that.) Glad you enjoyed your camping trip.

  20. I love coming back here a couple of days after Sunday and reading everyone’s kicks. Jules, the soups are a no-name vegetable soup dubbed skinny soup (which I hope works) and Three Sisters Soup. Hope everyone is having a good week.

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