7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #382: Featuring Marianne Dubuc

h1 May 18th, 2014 by jules

Hi, dear Imps. I’m going to be brief today. I’m actually typing this on Thursday night, since I’m heading out of town to a) see my nephew graduate from high school (I’m already teary-eyed about this, and I’m not even at the ceremony yet), and b) someone I used to babysit is all grown-up and I’m heading to her wedding. (Ditto on the tears.)

So, I’ll be skipping my kicks, though I always enjoy reading yours, so please do share. I do, however, have some art for you.

I’ve previously featured the work of Canadian author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc at 7-Imp — here and here. Her newest book, The Lion and the Bird (Enchanted Lion, May 2014), is a tender and moving story of friendship, first published in French in 2013 and translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick (intrepid leader of Enchanted Lion and possessor of exquisite taste). Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings writes that this book is an “ode to life’s moments between the words.” Oh, how I love that and wish I’d written it. That captures the book well. (You can read her entire post, also art-filled, about the book here, if you’re so inclined. She describes the book so wonderfully.)

The story is about a lion, who lives alone and one day finds a wounded bird. After nursing the bird lovingly, they become friends, and the bird stays on. Their friendship grows, but when Spring comes, Lion knows the bird must fly away. Lion adjusts to his loneliness, and then the following Winter, the bird returns.

But, as Popova notes in her piece, there’s so much to discover in the book’s artwork and the expert pacing of the story. I remember reading once in a theatre text in college that a play is interrupted silence. (I think it was a quote from a French playwright? I really should look this up.) Well, this story is interrupted silence. Dubuc does wonders here, not rushing the story, letting it breathe, inviting in child readers to be with Lion as he adjusts to his loneliness and melancholy after Bird leaves, as time marches on. A lot of the gentle pacing comes from Dubuc’s use of white space. (“White space—sometimes whole pages—speaks its own language of loss and hope,” writes the Kirkus review.) For instance, here’s very simply how we know that Bird has returned:

Even that tiny musical note is on the right side of a giant white double-page spread, and the page before that is white, too. Dubuc lets silence speak a lot here.

There’s a lot of emotion, Dubuc conveying a great deal with her soft lines and warm palette. So much that is left unstated is conveyed in the expressive faces, if not in very economical words. “Yes, I know” is all that Lion says to Bird, as you can see below, when he realizes that Bird must fly away for Spring, and after his friend leaves, Dubuc merely writes: “And so it goes. Sometimes life is like that.” The story sings with an earnestness that is never too loud or trying too hard. It’s simply lovely.

Here’s some more art. Enjoy.

(Click to enlarge slightly)

“The snow is cold and icy, but you’re snug and warm.”
(Click to enlarge)

“It snows and snows.”
(Click to enlarge)

That’s it for the art, but don’t toss and turn, worrying about Lion. Remember the illustration that opens this post? Yeah. That. They are reunited.

THE LION AND THE BIRD. Copyright © 2013 by Marianne Dubuc. First American edition © 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, NY. Images reproduced by 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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Again, my apologies that I’m not kickin’ today, but as you read this, I’m heading back home.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

14 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #382: Featuring Marianne Dubuc”

  1. “…interrupted silence”. I love this. I cannot wait to see this book in real life. Love the illustrations.

  2. The bird, the lion and the hat how cozy. Thanks Marianne.
    Jules, hope your weekend was fun with family.
    My quick kicks:
    1 SCBWI. Oregon conference.
    2. Roses.
    3. Book club tonight.
    4. Walking.
    5. Poetry postcard responses.
    6. Thunderstorm.
    7. Writing critique.
    Have a great week.

  3. This book is beautiful, thank you for sharing…my grandsons will love the story as well. And I just saw the wedding pictures, looks like a good time was experienced by all!
    1. Arkansas permitted same sex marriage to proceed and my wonderful niece, her partner and their twins had a wedding ceremony…we are SO happy!
    2. Spent an extra day with grandchildren as a plane was canceled!
    3. Incredible book distribution in Indianapolis to kick off new corporate partnership; Kelly Starling Lyons was with RIF to share her book Tea Cakes for Tosh.
    4. I didn’t have to take a plane after Wednesday…it had been four days of serious delays and/or cancellation. Whew.
    5. Saturday I did little other than stay in bed, so luxurious.
    6. Preparing to launch last 30 days before start of Macy’s Be Book Smart promotion for RIF…get ready to do your summer shopping!
    7. Finishing up REALITY BOY by A. S. King. Sure has made me think even more about how all the reality shows are affecting the lives of the participants long run.
    Have a great week all!

  4. I adore this book. It’s at the very top of my pile of books that inspire me. Thanks for sharing it here!

  5. I really adore this book. It’s at the very top of my pile of books that inspire me. Thanks for sharing it here!

  6. Hi Jules! You have a full weekend, and I hope it’s splendid. It’s been ages since I’ve popped over here, and I will make the effort to do better. It’s a good practice to list and share things for which we are grateful. These past months have been hard in some respects, but full of good things, good friends, and good music, regardless. Carol, mazel tov to your niece!

    My kicks:
    1. Nickel Creek/Secret Sisters in concert last night.
    2. “Red Haired Boy” on mandolin is coming along.
    3. My daughter has had a good school year.
    4. Weekly music jam gatherings.
    5. Ukulele group lessons.
    6. New boots.
    7. That second cup of coffee might be coming around the bend.

    Happy week, everyone!–Farida

  7. Hello to Marianne, to the lion, to the bird, and to the Imps!

    Jules: I hope the graduation and the wedding were both fun, memorable events!

    Jone: Hope the flowers and grounds got the water they needed, and the thunder didn’t scare anyone too much.

    Carol: Congrats to their family!

    Hi Jennifer!

    Farida! Hi you! Good to hear from you. Ooh, that must have been an awesome concert. Hi to your family.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Words coming to life
    2) Toe shoes
    3) Rehearsals outdoors
    4) Performances
    5) Audiences
    6) Savoring moments
    7) Published!

  8. Hello Kickers!

    Nothing of substance to report today, except that I loved the way this book is described here. And I loved the phrase “interrupted silence” so much that I have gone on a multi-hour investigation to find its author. (I kept reloading this page, hoping Little Willow would supply the phrase’s source and put me out of my misery, haha.) Hence, my nothing to report…

    …except that the phrase was evidently applied to theater by one Jean‐Louis Barrault, a French “actor, director, and mime artist.”

    (I’m pretty confident that he was its author, but don’t have a specific citation.)

    Oh, well, what the— it was a Sunday when I had nothing in particular to do! 🙂

    Have a great week, all!

  9. Jules:

    Here are some kicks (to stand in for your absent ones):
    1. Reading Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast! During the term, I fall behind. And then… I bing-read (and binge-look). Selected a few books for Emily, thanks to your lovely blog.
    2. The deluxe edition of Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, which includes four unreleased tracks from the original sessions, plus alternate takes, & a DVD on the making of the record. (I still have to watch the DVD, but have enjoyed the rest — great to have more from this beautiful album!)
    3. Teaching myself more songs on the guitar (accompanied by my mediocre singing): in the past month, I’ve learned’ “Where Will I Be?” (from the above-mentioned record), and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.”
    4. Solidarity! Though fighting the fascistic Kansas Board of Regents has been a drain on my time, I’ve appreciated the community of many friends and allies, most recently evidenced by (Art Prof.) Dan Warner’s clever posters that consciously evoke mid-twentieth-century propaganda: http://www.philnel.com/2014/05/17/hldposters/
    5. Love the new Benjamin Chaud book about the bears — well, it’s new in English, at any rate. Bear’s Sea Escape. http://www.chroniclebooks.com/bear-s-sea-escape.html
    6. Anne Bertier’s Mercredi [Wednesday] is coming out in English! http://www.enchantedlionbooks.com/node/264
    7. The spring semester is over at last! (Whew!)

  10. Oh, I’m so glad you all came today. I’ll be back in the morning. I want to read your kicks when I’m not sleepy, and the weekend wore me out — but in a good way.

  11. Hi, Lauren!

    Jone, enjoy the conference! (Or is it already over?)

    Carol: Congrats, as always, on all the good and important RIF work. … And go, Arkansas! That is great news, and congrats to your niece. … I’d like to read Reality Boy. Last night on Cosmos, Neil deGrass Tyson said the earth “radiates stories,” and I thought a) that is SO COOL but b) we’re radiating a lot of reality shows, now aren’t we? OUCH.

    Hi, Jennifer!

    Farida, those are some good kicks. Music, friends, family. I’m particularly happy your daughter’s had a good school year.

    John, I love LOVE LOVE that you researched this. I do remember the name Barrault — from waaaaay back. I can almost see that college textbook in my mind. It’s a great phrase, huh? THANK YOU for looking that up!

    Phil, so glad you found the blog helpful! And, ooh, thanks for reminding me about the new edition of Wrecking Ball. …. Continued luck on your fight against fascism. … I saw the new Chaud book just last week. … Happy end-of-term, Phil!

  12. LITTLE WILLOW! I had to save your kicks from spam again. I wish spam would stop that.

    I love “words coming to life.” And PUBLISHED too. CONGRATS! Big, big ol’ congrats!

  13. HI Julie, I am ordering this book right now. My granddaughter and I are always so sad when we have to part (and it isn’t for months like the bird and lion) – but the book looks so caring in its treatment of that sad part of loving.
    Thank you!

  14. Hope you like it, Katy!

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