7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #335: Featuring Bei Lynn

h1 June 16th, 2013 by jules

“The principal has no choice. He pulls Gus off the road. Gus is so sad that he hides in the gym and cries and cries. Just one of Gus’s tears could fill a bathtub.
Each one falls to the ground with a SPLAT!”

(Click to enlarge)

Happy Father’s Day to all, and I apologize that I don’t have Father’s Day art. If only it were Ride Your Dinosaur to School Day … Hmm.

I’m shining the spotlight today on a book that will be released in early July, Julia Liu’s Gus, the Dinosaur Bus, illustrated by Bei Lynn (Houghton Mifflin). Both author and illustrator live in Taiwan. Lynn’s illustrations were rendered in watercolor and pencil.

“Who needs a bus stop when you have a dinosaur bus?” That’s right. Gus, the big green dinosaur, comes right to your door (or window, if you live in a tall apartment). Gus is careful not to step on cars, but he has big feet, so the city works around him. New road. Snacks lined up along the way (“two tons of french fries”). Road crews repair the holes he leaves behind.

Gus is a helpful creature, but eventually he’s pulled off the road for all the problems he causes. His friends are there to cheer him, though, and it turns out that his banishment ends up becoming a new thing—a new treat—for the children, but I won’t give it all away. (Oh, wait. The illustrations below give it all away, so look away if you want to be surprised when you read it for yourself.)

What’s most striking to me here are these very retro illustrations. The Kirkus review describes this book (in terms of content, I suppose) as “an odd mix of Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur … and Steven Kellogg’s The Mysterious Tadpole.” I like Lynn’s sketchy, relaxed lines, and I’d love to see more of her work. She’s evidently illustrated approximately twenty books for children, and I don’t know if they’ve been released in the States. I could look this up, but I’m too busy with kick #6 below. No, seriously, I don’t think they have been. This book, in fact, was originally released in 2012 in Taiwan as Riding Dinosaurs to School.

Here are some more spreads. Enjoy.

“The city makes a new road just for Gus. Along his route, people leave him snacks. Like two tons of french fries. Road crews repair the dino-sized potholes that
Gus accidentally leaves behind.”

(Click to enlarge)

“But life is not perfect for a dinosaur bus. Gus is so tall that he often gets tangled in telephone lines. He bumps his head on overpasses. He has been known to knock down a traffic light or two.”
(Click to enlarge)

“Now Gus is no longer a dinosaur bus. He’s Gus, the dinosaur slide! And swing.
And playground. Every day, the children visit him to swim, slide, swing, and climb. Maybe one day you can visit Gus too. But you’ll have to be patient. The line is long.”

(Click to enlarge)

GUS, THE DINOSAUR BUS. Text copyright © 2013 by Julia Liu. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Bei Lynn. Translation adapted by Jamie White. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

* * * * * * *

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) Taking a break from work yesterday to swim with the family and lie in the sun. (I’m not a tanner, but boy howdy do I like my sunshine.)

2) Neko Case! Nashville! October! Tickets have been purchased. Let’s celebrate with one of her best songs ever. Seven points for the lyrics, especially the last verse with the spider web and the lashes bit, and seventy-seven points for the music box:

Middle Cyclone by Neko Case on Grooveshark

I have always wanted to see her live.

3) Symphony in the park.

4) Tangos.

5) Chris Thile (below with the rest of the Punch Brothers) is a genius. (No, really.)

6) The strawberry daquiri I’m drinking on Saturday night, as I type this.

7) This should be #1: I’m always grateful my girls have a father who puts them before anything else. They’re lucky girls.

BONUS: Speaking of the girls, they were making a picture book of their own this week, called Ninja Kittens. See?

(Click to enlarge)

I shared it on Facebook, and the very talented author/illustrator Dan Santat came along to share a ninja kitten he whipped up, too (since, as I had explained on Facebook, essentially the girls were tired of waiting for someone to make a picture book about ninja kittens):

When I showed the girls, they stared in silence and awe and with great respect.

So nice of Santat, and what kickin’ ninja kittens they all drew.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

23 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #335: Featuring Bei Lynn”

  1. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

    Gus, the Dinosaur Bus had to be on my four-year-old self’s bookshelf in 1978, right? Syd Hoff and Steven Kellogg and Virginia Lee Burton and Ludwig Bemelmans and Bernard Waber jump to mind when I see this.

    And the Kittens with Kitanas rule!

    Today’s poem was inspired by a late-day walk with my wife and daughter (and the children’s poems of Ted Hughes):

    Cat in the Yard

    The stub-tailed cat
    Is fuzzed up fat

    As an arctic seal
    Past a spoky wheel

    Of a child’s bike.
    She doesn’t like

    To oversleep
    With errands to keep.

    She rolls to her paws
    Then whets her claws

    Sharp against
    A garden fence.

    Some chickadees
    Whistling, freeze

    And hold their beaks.
    No squirrel squeaks

    Or gives her lip.
    She cracks a whip

    But lightly, firm
    She’ll last her term

    As feline queen.
    Still, she mustn’t be seen

    Yielding ground
    To the neighbor’s hound.

    ©2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  2. Shoo Rayner has a series of four beginning chapter books about Ginger Ninja who is a cat. My Year 1 children love them. We could always do with a picture book though!

  3. A dinosaur bus, how cool is that? What a fun book. Thanks, Bei Lynn.
    Jules, I love the sun too but am not one to tan and hooray for ninja cats!
    Steven, that cat visits my yard.
    My kicks:
    1. A walk in a nearby park with my husband and dog.
    2. Sunshine
    3. Book club gathering last Sunday.
    4. Third grade lunch bunch book club will get my manuscript finished tomorrow.
    5. School ends on Tuesday.
    6. Attended HS graduation of my fifth grade lunch buddy.
    7. Birds singing this morninging.
    Have a great week.

  4. The art of Bei Lynn really takes me back; it’s so adorable. A ride on that dino would be the best thing ever. Thank you for sharing.

    I wondered why the Ninja Kitten was posted by Dan Santat on Twitter. Now I know. He is a special guy. The girls’ book looks pretty special too.

    Steven: I have to agree with Jone. That cat has been in my gardens also.

    Jone: I love the birds singing in the morning. It’s one of the best things about summer.

    My kicks:
    1. When lifting the cushion on my deck chair to dry after a storm last night, there was a tree toad. Hoping it’s Theo who has been missing from the front for several weeks. It has to be him, right?
    2. ARCs in the mail
    3. Wonderful pictures books; so many good ones this year (well every year really)
    4. Rain
    5. Walks with Xena
    6, ALA banquet is in two weeks
    7. My hibiscus survived after the attack by the wacky deck painter last fall.

    Hope everyone has a great week. Hope this posts. It is my second attempt.

  5. Hello, Kickers!

    Great start to the day, Jules (even if you spent your Saturday evening getting it going, ha). I looked around for some more of Bei Lynn’s work… haven’t yet seen any sign that any of her other books have made it to these shores so far, but I did find a PDF (some sort of Taiwanese kids’-publishing-industry promotion for 2013) which mentions a book she illustrated called Chocolate Cat’s Bookstore. The description says (sic as required):

    The five-whisker Chocolate Cat loves to read books, shopping for books and buy books. There are books scattered everywhere in his house makes his house look more like a library and eventually it became a problem. One day, Tiger-Strip told him, how come there’s no bookstore in Seagullton. Hence, Chocolate found himself a solution and began his adventure as a bookstore owner.

    The whole thing sorta fits into today’s ad-hoc cat theme, no? Especially at a book-loving site!

    (If you’re interested in the state of illustration in kids’ books published in Taiwan, the whole PDF (64pgs, 9MB) is interesting, Jules. The artwork as reproduced therein isn’t alas that large, but wow, so much of it looks great…)

    Thank you for the dose of Neko this morning! As for tangos: I recently saw a re-run of a Frasier episode in which Frasier’s brother Niles gets to tango with housekeeper/physical therapist Daphne. Much of the humor depends on knowing the characters, but I will say it’s still one of my favorite tango scenes. (Lots of good ones in movies, too!)

    (Aside: do NOT ask me to demonstrate a tango, even one which you can’t see. The mind reels. (Don’t ask me to demonstrate a reel, for that matter.))


    1. Catching up on seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones, I noticed an interesting credit down at the end of a bazillion others: “Language creation by…” Here’s a feature about that guy.

    2-4 (They change in their rankings from time to time) Possibility. Certainty. Unlikelihood.

    5. I’ve read so much about author Iain (M.) Banks since he died a week ago, I just had to read something *by* him. Now about halfway through hist first SF novel, Consider Phlebas, and really liking it.

    6. Singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan is also in danger of over-exposure this past week, since she just released her first solo LP, Fossils, to near-universal acclaim. But really, honestly: this is one kickin’ album. And I haven’t even been able to find lyrics for it yet.

    7. Happy Father’s Day to all dads (and stepdads, and dads-by-nature-if-not-in-fact, and, oh hell, throw in Sugar Daddies too) loved by anyone who’s thinking of them today.

    Have a great week, all!

  6. Happy Father’s Day to all of the parents in Imp land!

    Hello to Gus, the Dinosaur Bus, hello to his passengers, and hello to his writer and illustrator. You have a very cool name, Bei Lynn.

    Jules: Ninja Kittens for the win! 🙂 Wow – How awesome that Dan Santat made a ninja kitten for them. Just call him Dan Sancat. 🙂 Danny and the Dinosaur = fun times. Glad that your family had a fun day. Have fun at the concert in October. I read “Symphony in the park” as “Symphony in the dark.” There’s a story there somewhere. YES PUNCH BROTHERS. YES CHRIS THILE. YES NICKEL CREEK. You must listen to The Good Mad. You MUST.

    And more cats from Steven! Grand.

    Hi Victoria.

    Jone: Congratulations to the graduate! Sounds like a good week for you last week, and another on the horizon. Enjoy.

    Margie: That’s definitely Theo. He’s waiting for his own picture book, too. Hi to Xena and the flowers.

    JES and Bei: All bookstores should have cats. More to JES: That is a good scene on Frasier. Niles is a great character, as is Martin – I have so much appreciation for David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney. Have you seen John in Say Anything… and other endeavors? Endearing, truthful, powerful actor.

    My kicks for the past week:

    1) Shows
    2) Supporters
    3) Movies
    4) Music
    5) Writing
    6) Ideas
    7) Energy

    Lots of things scheduled for this week. Think good thoughts! 🙂

  7. Hey there, Miz Willow. Those kicks from this week sound like your ideal résumé.

    David HP is a terrifically gifted physical comedian. When they seemed to discover that during Frasier’s run, and started to use it, the show periodically took flight in ways that would have made Buster Keaton swoon. One episode in which Niles is left alone in Frasier’s apartment, and gets smashed drinking alone, remains one of the single funniest episodes The Missus and I can think of on ANY show. (I know this, btw, because we were comparing notes about him and the show after watching the tangos-with-Daphne episode.)

    As for Mahoney: first time I saw him was in a late-1980s revival of The House of Blue Leaves (co-starring with Swoosie Kurtz). Boy, what a varied career he’s had — Say Anything… a classic, of course! Ditto his turn as a Faulkner type, in Barton Fink. Always love seeing him in anything. (Considering his nice-guy, and yes, endearing “type,” he does great villains, too.)

  8. Dinosaur Gus’ transition reminds me of the one Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, MaryAnn makes; from one useful incarnation to another. I like line, “Just one of Gus’s tears could fill a bathtub”– a hyperbole apt for kid-logic. And Gus is such a fresh bright green, celery and pea colors mixed. Thanks for sharing Bei Lynn (and Jules.)

    Jules – RE: Ninja Kittens. How clever of your young illustrator to use one end of a nun-chuck as the i in Kittens; the graphic designer in me applauds: clap-clap-clap. Swim + sun + family, yes!

    Steven – your cat poem made me look up “whets”. Thx for that refresher. Happy Father’s Day.

    Victoria – good ninja info.

    Jone – good luck finishing manuscript. Congrats to lunch buddy (and mentor, you.)

    Margie – Oh, I’m hoping it’s Theo. Agree w/LW he might be a book. ARCs? Cool.

    JES – my son, in his post-HS-graduation lounge fest, is watching Game of Thrones from the start. Lots of battles and poisoned gasps and baby dragon coos emanating from our TV room. Happy Father’s day to you in whichever role fits. ha-ha!

    LW – Thinking good thoughts, absolutely.

    My kicks (just 4, but a good 4):

    1. Father’s Day playing out: My husband has always liked the movie “The Game” with Michael Douglas. So, we sent him a talking card last night of a TV anchor who announced the start of his personalized “Father’s Day Game”. Then, drove car fast up to the curb and shouted “Hurry! Get in!” and whisked him off to the movies. This morning, kidnapped him to the farmer’s market. This afternoon we rendezvous (I hope) via cryptic map/note for picnic at the beach. Thematic fun.

    2. I enjoyed the Maurice Sendak image-go-round on Google Search this week.

    3. The below post has 12 amazing paper artists and 100 samples of their work. Worth a look! http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/05/100-extraordinary-examples-of-paper-art/

    4. summer’s natural slow down.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Father’s Day, whichever side of the child/father equation you sit.

  9. Cool, cool book and art. I really love the retro too. And I enjoyed all the Kickers associations with books that had come leaping to mind as I looked.

    I did a workshop at a conf. a few years ago on books published before 1970 that had the magic and lasting power and thrilled my son in his early reading years. Looking forward to this one.

    Great kicks from everyone. What a poem – thanks!

    LOVED the paper art link – good grief what beauty and skill.

    Thinking good thoughts as asked – LW.

    Jules – how’s the course going? Updates on your experiences and curriculum would be cool. (are you allowed?)

    OK, your kicks – Jules – the Punch Brothers – WOWZA – they are cool and so good. I really appreciate the music you slip in. And those kitten Ninja are awesome, awesome. And having just had Peter Brown be so lovely to my son – I can just imagine how thrilling this experience was for you all. Loved the whole thing!

    My Kicks:
    1. Reading an interesting YA book called ‘The Castle on Tuesdays’ that I bought at LA Times Book Fair this year.

    2. Sending off query for my (meaning I have edited it) YA novel to someone at The Writers House, which I had never heard of (yes I’m not with it!) until a few weeks ago. Now it turns out there is a nice personal connection there. I’m so hoping for this book and the author. Fingers and toes crossed.

    3. Good news came this week, hopeful news, regarding our foster baby. Hope for exciting results to report next week. Fingers and toes crossed some more.

    4. School is out in LA and we are planning fun activities week by week.

    5. Doing a close study of this and last year’s Caldecott winners and honor books for a summer workshop. REALLY enjoying (again) Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. It is just the pea green I don’t get. Peas, fresh and peapods are such a bright green…

    6. Several great books from Jules’ blog this past week that got pre-ordered and/or sent right off to family and friends

    7. Fun Father’s Day brunch with some sweet friends and their kids.

    Happy Father’s Day to ALL men who love, support and care for children.

    Have a great week.

  10. PS: I guess I’ll chalk up the overuse of the word cool this week to very little sleep this week and weekend thanks to our 3 month-old tiny. Sorry!

  11. The day got away from me, everybody. I’ll be back in the morning.


  12. JES: Yes to Frasier discovering David’s abilities and utilizing them! I do not believe I have seen the episode of which you speak. One of my favorite Niles sequences involves him at Frasier’s apartment alone, too – a wordless sequence in which he is attempting to get ready and everything goes wrong. I’m being vague so I don’t spoil it in case you haven’t seen it, because you simply must – the way it builds, the way he plays it, it is fantastic. I’m a fan of well-done realistic physical comedy a la Cary Grant, ten times moreso than gross-out humor and the like. You are the second person to tell me of Mahoney’s fabulousness in House of Blue Leaves!

    Thanks, Denise. That sounds like a fun day for your family!

    Thanks, Allison. 🙂

  13. Good heavens. I’m sorry I’m so late in getting here.

    Steven, I’m totally reading that poem to my cat-crazed girls.

    Victoria, thanks for the note!

    Jone: Tuesday? YAY! Happy almost-summer break!

    Margie: Sorry you had trouble posting, but your kicks made it! I MUST SEE YOU AT ALA. Let’s figure that out soon, okay? … Oh, and on our screen door last week was the world’s tiniest baby frog.

    Ooh, John, thanks for the PDF, which I’ll explore later. And clearly my girls need to read the book you read about and shared here. … I miss the good, good writing in Frasier and Cheers and keep thinking I need to re-watch them on Netflix. Oh, and thanks to the link to the Game of Thrones language guru.

    Little Willow: Always sending good thoughts and energy your way. Always. I agree about bookstores and cats.

    Denise, oh my gosh, kick #1 is so super cool. And thanks for the link, which I’m also flagging for later. (I have my work cut out for me this summer, whew.)

    Allison: Yay for Peter Brown and your son, and hear! hear! to summer break. Fingers crossed for your really great news for next week, and congrats on the good news this week. I can update you all on the course, yes. Just remind me later when my lectures are done being built? !!

  14. I have Frasier DVDs that I should watch this summer. Such good writing.

  15. Denise: a wonderful documentary you might like: Between the Folds. All about origami artists — including those who are professional mathematicians and such! Made me want to study and practice it myself. (Available from Netflix, and I’m sure other sources as well.) That page of paper art you linked to is wonderful!

    LW: that MAY have been the Frasier episode I remember. I thought it involved drinking — I’m pretty sure there was spillage involved — but maybe not.

  16. P.S. To LW, Jules, and other Frasier fans (especially if not too worried about spoilers): I’ve just found that the Niles-in-Frasier’s-apartment scene appeared in an episode called “Three Valentines” (season 6, ep. 14). Wikipedia says of it:

    The first act consists of a silent performance by Niles Crane accidentally [spoiler] to the accompaniment of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro overture. It is well-known that David Hyde Pierce took only six takes to get the scene and the final scene is the result of one continuous cut (directed by Kelsey Grammer). It has, on occasion, been called one of the funniest ten minutes in television history.

  17. JES and Jules: Yes! And here it is:


    The part with the SCISSORS. My LIFE.

  18. JES – thanks for the doc info. I’ll check it out.

    JES & LW – Somehow I’d missed this Niles tour de force slapstick routine. Three takes particularly kill me: his instantaneous blood reaction(s), the moment you can TELL he just read “keep away from open flame” and the dog as straightman. ha-ha-ha-ha!

  19. Oh, and Jules, I know you don’t have time to comb the link, let alone the offshoots, so I’ll send you this direct (it’s off one of the Paper Art artist’s websites.) You do HAVE to see this one paperart piece:

  20. argh! If link is not sending directly to piece… Click on Signed Limited Edition Prints and then on Alice:Tea Party.

  21. Good morning. Just dropped by to show a friend the Ninja Kittens. Seriously.

    Denise: RE: Niles’ reaction to seeing blood: YES. I just want to show it to comedic actors and say, “And THAT’s how you do a non-verbal true-to-life callback-repeat beat, y’all.” And that tea party of paper! WOW.

  22. Oh lordy… thanks so much, LW — that one had to go straight to my FB timeline. Had to keep stopping it to recover my composure.

  23. […] out the feature on Gus, the Dinosaur Bus from Seven Impossible Things! And learn more about Gus […]

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