7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #410: Featuring Chris Raschka

h1 December 14th, 2014 by jules

“And that is the very best sort of thing to be.”


I’ve got some illustrations today from Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka, and I think taking a look at his artwork is pretty much always a good way to start one’s day.

If You Were a Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2014) was written by Jamie A. Swenson and is an engaging title for very young children. Swenson introduces a series of animals, using the conditional if-you-were question — from dogs to dinosaurs and lots of other animals in between (including a human at the book’s close). The text has an infectious energy, its fair share of entertaining onomatopoeia, and a very playful rhythm that begs to be shared in group story times. You can see some of that below in the spreads shared here today. It’s a book that invites young children to use their imagination and play along; I kinda wish I could snap my fingers right now and have a group of children to share it with.

Kirkus calls this one a “cheery picker-upper.” It’s true. See for yourself below. And please enjoy Raschka’s menagerie of swooping, swimming, stomping, swooshing, fluttering, buzzing creatures. His color palette here is spot-on, and I love the way he captures the movement and energy of all these creatures.


“Would you howl at the moon? …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


“If you were a dinosaur, would you be a stomping-roarer, earth-quaker, tree-shaker, sharp-pointed toothy-grinner, colossal-chomper, super-duper,
longest-neck-o-saur sort of dinosaur?”

(Click to enlarge)



P.S. Raschka has another 2014 title out, this one from Atheneum Books and released in August. But I haven’t seen this one yet. (Well, I’ve seen it on bookstore shelves, but I haven’t yet spent a lot of time with it.) Have any of you? Oh, and you all saw the Sun Ra biography from earlier this year, yes?



IF YOU WERE A DOG. Copyright © 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York.

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 * * *

Last week, I was super busy with a writing assignment (which I’m still working on), so I didn’t leave seven separate kicks. And this week I’m, once again, not leaving seven separate kicks, because I’m actually out of town for a very short trip. So, I apologize, but I’m SURE to have listy kicks next week.

I’ll be back today, and as always, I’m eager to hear that you all had a good week. At least I hope you did. So, please do kick here — if you’re so inclined.

(Also, Seven Separate Kicks. Band name. I call it!)

13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #410: Featuring Chris Raschka”

  1. I’m the opposite … have seen Give and Take, but not the others. I loved the illustrations, but the story itself was a bit … strange, I guess. Definitely going to check out the Swenson title. Thanks for sharing!

  2. A quick kick from the Land of Sweets to say how proud and inspired I am by my daughter. She has only been doing ballet since January, starting at the ripe old age of 12 and this weekend she’s performing in her ballet school’s Nutcracker. Proud Mama and inspired artist.

  3. Rebecca, I’m going to try to find a copy of Give and Take too.

    Moira: Congrats to her! That’s exciting.

  4. Good morning Jules!
    So glad that you are having a short trip. I hope it’s the fun kind. I have all three of the Raschka books you mention here today; reviewing /recommending two of them on my blog. I find what he can convey with a brush stroke amazing.
    Rebecca: I think you are really going to like the Swenson title. Like Jules said it would be fun to do creative drama with a group of children.
    Moira: So happy for you and your daughter performing in the Nutcracker. I also want to say I am enjoying one of your T-shirts.
    My kicks:
    1. Sentimental romantic Christmas movies
    2. Sharing the final Mock Caldecott book with students, Blue One Blue.
    3. Making Christmas cards but might not mail them until after the holiday 🙂
    4. Buying books for gifts
    5-7 Walks with Xena; so happy she is still with me.

    Have a wonderful week everyone

  5. If I were a dog… I would napity-nap. I love the illustrations. So cheery.
    Jules, I hope fun is part of your out of town trip.
    Moira, that’s terrific about your daughter. Enjoy the moment.
    Margie, buying books is one of my favorites of the season. And walks with Xena, hoorah.
    My kicks:
    1. Saw a your production of “White Christmas” and it was very well done.
    2. Christmas Movies
    3. Dinner with friends during a fierce wind storm.
    4. Writing.
    5. Grand girl time.
    6. Books by Eric Kimmel autographed by him for great nephew.
    7. Started decorating the house for Christmas.
    Have a great week.

  6. Good morning, Imps!

    Fun fact: the computer tried to make that “Food morning,” and at that same instant, the video I was watching said, “Food.” So apparently the universe wants to wish you all a yummy breakfast (or brunch) as well.

    Hello, Jamie and Chris! If I were an animal other than a human, I would be a cat. There’s no question.

    Jules: Good luck with your writing. You can do it. After you turn it in, you should start holding auditions for the band Seven Separate Kicks. (If you need a singer, I’m available!)

    Hi Rebecca!

    Moira: How’s your little dancer doing? I hope she is having a blast! Have y’all checked out the Ballerina Project? It is awesome. I also hope folks are lapping up your art and getting gifts from your online shop for the holidays.

    Margie: Which holiday movies are your favorites? 🙂 HI XENA!

    Jone: Now I’m singing White Christmas. I’ve never known one, though!

    My kicks for the past week, in random order:
    1) Performances
    2) Fundraisers
    3) Staying calm
    4) Filming
    5) Singing
    6) Writing
    7) Polishing

  7. Fun art this week!

    Jules, hope you are having a lovely time!

    Moira – congrats to your ballerina! That shows a lot of hard work on her part – you must be so proud!

    Margie – yay for walks with Xena. And sentimental romantic Christmas movies are awesome.

    Jone – wasn’t that wind amazing? Glad you were safely indoors enjoying dinner with friends! Have fun decorating!

    LW – sounds like a fun week for you as usual!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Working with a trainer with Daisy to teach better leash manners – she is such a smart girl she caught on right away.
    2) Walking in the wind storm with Daisy – quite the blustery day!
    3) A fun night out with a friend.
    4) An amazingly good day at work on Friday.
    5) Delivering a Christmas surprise.
    6) Sunshine today!
    7) wrapping and packing Christmas presents to be mailed.

    Have a wonderful happy week everyone!

  8. Margie, I still haven’t seen Blue on Blue. Ack! I gotta fix that. Can’t wait to hear the results of the Mock Caldecott. Hugs to Xena.

    Jone, do you mean White Christmas was a live theatre production? We saw A Christmas Carol at UT’s theater, and it was much fun.

    Little Willow: I’ll TAKE that yummy breakfast! And, yes, when I’m good enough on piano, we’ll start that band — and you can sing.

    Rachel: Go, Daisy! Go, Daisy! Go go go, Daisy!

  9. My favorite thing about the howling-dog image, vs. all the others: the apparent bubble in which the dog is howling, keeping it apart from the rest of the moment.

    I’ll just cite “the usual holiday Kicks” and trust y’all to fill in the blanks. 🙂

  10. Hi Everyone!

    Jules-I hope you are having a fantastic trip!

    Moira- How exciting for your daughter! I just finished writing tomorrow’s blog post which is all about our youngest who danced this weekend too. I am truly falling in love with the world of dance!
    Margie- I love Mock Caldecotts- so fun!
    Jone- Christmas movies are the best. We have been watching the funny ones- Elf is our favorite!
    Little Willow- send some of those staying calm vibes this way please!
    Rachel- we have been super short in the sunshine department here- glad yours is shining!

    1. As above, a dance filled celebration this weekend. So proud of our most favorite tiny dancer.
    2. Glad that I am writing this from my mom’s house- she has been fighting pneumonia and is recovering slowly. I am up here for a few days to try to speed along her recovery.
    3. Sunshine here in RI. We haven’t seen it all week in NJ.
    4. A new pink and orange scarf- my favorite color combo by far!
    5. Hot tea.
    6. Christmas cookies.
    7. My mother’s gas fire place- ours is the old fashioned kind and I admit this one is much, much easier! It has an on and off switch for goodness sakes!

    Happy Week everyone!

  11. John, I thought of you when I saw that spread.

    Stacey, I remember seeing Elf in the theater when it first opened, when my nephew (now in college) was but a wee kid, and I laughed so hard at one point that I could not breathe.

    I saw your dance post this morning, and it’s lovely. Congrats to your daughter! Hope your mom feels better very, very soon.

  12. We warmed up to Elf late, but now it’s in the annual rotation. Watched it the other night. (The moment when Zoe D tells him not to look at her and he covers his eyes and runs into the lockers — still surprises us and makes us laugh.)

  13. This is the scene that got me, John, though normally I don’t laugh at burp-‘n’-fart humor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Xh35MymZo. It was the “did you hear that?” that got me. Also, the moment he first experiences an escalator. Also, this: http://www.reactiongifs.com/santas-coming/.

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