What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Øyvind Torseter

h1 January 18th, 2013 by jules

“My cheek is against Daddy’s cheek, close to his breathing. After a while he says: ‘Tomorrow we’ll chop down the big spruce. It will fall to the ground with a crash.
That’ll be fun, won’t it?’ ‘Mmm,’ I say. Daddy likes chopping down big trees.
I know that. ‘What about the red birds?’ I ask. …”

(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)

Today over at Kirkus, I weigh in on Jed Henry’s Cheer Up, Mouse!, released this month by Houghton Mifflin. That column is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about My Father’s Arms Are a Boat (Enchanted Lion, February), originally published in Norgwegian in 2008 and written by Stein Erik Lunde and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter. Today, I’m following up with some art.


“I go back into the living room. My dad looks at me, and I climb onto his lap.
He puts both his arms tight under my knees.
My body is curled up like a ball. I rest my head against his shoulder.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“I look up at the stars. I look at the moon that looks like a boat. My dad’s arms are like a boat, too. One that sails me out into the middle of the yard. The boat stops.
The stars are so far away and yet so close. ‘If you see a shooting star, you can make a wish,’ Daddy says. ‘I know.’ ‘But you can’t tell anyone what it is.’ ‘I know.'”

(Click to enlarge spread)

“When we get back inside I’m tired. Daddy takes me out of the his coat. I tell him
I’m tired. ‘You can sleep on my lap,’ he says. We watch the fire for a long time.
I still can’t fall asleep. ‘Everything will be all right,’ says Daddy.
‘Are you sure?’ ‘I’m sure.'”

(Click to enlarge spread)


* * * * * * *

MY FATHER’S ARMS ARE A BOAT. First American edition © 2012 by Enchanted Lion Books. Text © Stein Erik Lunde. Translation © 2012 Enchanted Lion Books.
Illustration © Øyvind Torseter. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher.

10 comments to “What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Øyvind Torseter”

  1. oooh! i love the art!!!
    thanks jules!

  2. Thank you very much for this. I didn’t know this book. From your decription on Kirkus and the images I see I know I will love it.
    It’s very sad that people are scared of sad books, especially for children. How can a sad child find comfort, if everything around her pretends to be cheerful?

  3. Sergio, I know! Do you think it’s an American thing?

  4. This looks beautiful.

  5. Liz: I think so, generally speaking.

  6. Cool title. I am all about that fox.

  7. absolutely beautiful… I can’t wait to buy it. The illustrations are perfect and just tragic enough for the story… curious, now, about the sadness/American-thing… hmm…

  8. I love that fox, and those silvery-blue, skeletal trees. I’m still so struck but he physicality of that book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a picture book with so many kinesthetic/touch sensations, which are so fundamental, especially when we’re sad. I think it will meet children struggling with loss, sadness, and loneliness where they’re at, and hopefully lead them somewhere hopeful, too.

  9. ADORE this book – thanks for the post!

  10. […] a Boat breaks my heart every time I open it. [Editor’s Note: You can see art from this book here at 7-Imp.] I also look a lot at other artists who aren’t illustrators: the Starn Twins, Giotto, […]

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