because she’d never fallen up before. She hadn’t even known it was possible.”
I admit I’m not thoroughly familiar with his work (I’m primarily familiar with his picture book collaborations with Neil Gaiman), but every time I see a book illustrated by Charles Vess, I remember how I’d like to showcase some of his art here at 7-Imp. Well, better late than never. I finally am today.
Vess has illustrated the latest from Charles de Lint, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, a novel for children released by Little, Brown this past week. A beautifully designed book, it tells the story of Lillian Kindred, a young girl who lives with her aunt near Tanglewood Forest, filled with wild cats, and who wakes from a forest nap one day to discover she’s been turned into a kitten. The magical cats of the forest have performed this feat, all in lieu of Lillian dying of a snakebite. Lillian is returned to human form, thanks to the magical Old Mother Possum, and then discovers that, as a result, her aunt has perished. Thus begins Lillian’s journey to right things, a complicated journey that involves meeting a whole cast of mysterious characters from the forest and tons of twists and turns (a rather “twisty story,” Kirkus calls it). All of this is wrapped up in classic folktale motifs, giving the story a very traditional feel, and includes Native American characters and motifs as well.
Vess’ illustrations are lithe, lavish, and detailed, some positively glowing from the page. (His use of light is striking.) His landscapes are nearly breathtaking, and he captures tension between characters well, with elegant lines and deep earth tones all throughout.
Here are some more illustrations from the novel. I’ll let the art speak for itself. Enjoy.
‘Come on now, kitty,’ he went on. ‘Why are you hiding up there?’
‘I–I’m not a cat,’ Lillian finally managed. ‘I’m a girl.’
‘Sure you are.’”
the red fox sneaking along behind her.”
THE CATS OF TANGLEWOOD FOREST. Copyright © 2013 by Charles de Lint. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Charles Vess. Little, Brown and Company, New York. Illustrations used with permission of the 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.
I’m going to keep it brief this week (if you haven’t noticed already from my short write-up above). Lordhavemercy, I probably sound like a hypochondriac at this point, but I got sick again this week (round two) and have been fighting this nonsense all. week. long. Still am, in fact.
Two happy things:
This made me laugh …
Thanks to Phil Nel for that link.
Also, I’ve seen an early copy of this book and very much enjoyed it (more on that later), and I like to see a good book trailer, so I’m sharing it here:
One more thing, a quick note of interest: Did you know that the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, founded and organized by author James Kennedy, just wrapped up its second successful season? If you want to see all the movies received this year and/or are interested in next year’s film festival, here’s more info.
I’m sorry I don’t have more for you dear Imps this morning. I’m going to get back to my hot tea. (Now. I don’t even like hot tea. I want to like it, and I constantly try to like it, but I just don’t. But I need it for my throat, and I don’t even crave coffee when I’m sick. Yes, you read that correctly. I haven’t had coffee in about a week. I am not even making this up for one second. Or even two.)
What are YOUR kicks this week?