7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #418: Featuring Keith Graves

h1 February 8th, 2015 by jules


Today, I want to introduce you to The Amazing Bubbles and his assistant, Oop. They’re the stars of this very funny picture book from Keith Graves. Second Banana (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook) will be on shelves this week.

Bubbles there is the star of the circus, and Oop is very much not. Oop is always there for his friend, though — to clean up his messes and to help with the act. When Oop asks one day if he can be the star of the circus, too, Bubbles just laughs:

Obviously, I am the Top Banana. The Big Banana. Numero Uno Banana. You are Second Banana.

Second Bananas are pool filler-uppers, the pumper-uppers, music holder-uppers, and fuse lighter-uppers.

But Oop is only too happy to help one day when Bubbles gets a boo-boo. Things don’t go so well. He crashes the car. He breaks the piano. That’s only skimming the surface. But Bubbles has got his back after all, and it turns out the audience loves it.

The humor here is slapstick, and it’s a lot of fun. Graves gives both Bubbles and Oop tremendous character, and his over-the-top cartoon illustrations entertain. He uses comic book elements in spots, and it’s all very fitting for the action-packed story this is. Oop is so endearing—and his naivete and enthusiasm so real—that readers really root for him.

Here’s a bit more art. Enjoy!


(Click first image to see spread in its entirety)


“Oop was discouraged. She had a snack. Snacks always made Oop feel better.”
(Click to enlarge)



“Oop flew so high she thought she would never come down. Finally she began to zoom toward the ground. She couldn’t look. Far below, a pair of skinny arms reached up for her. ‘Don’t worry, Oop. I will catch you!’ called Bubbles. He did. KER-SPLAT!”
(Click to enlarge)



SECOND BANANA. Copyright © 2015 by Keith Graves. Published by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Keith Graves.

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 * * *

Because my girls were away the first half of this weekend, visiting their grandmother, I’m going to forego seven separate kicks this week, because a) I’m glad they’re home and b) we are reading about three novels at once and c) we have a very promising NEW novel to start and d) they’re ready to read with me.

But please do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #418: Featuring Keith Graves”

  1. Thank you Keith Grave for such a fun book.
    Jules, enjoy those girls. What are you reading?
    My kicks:
    1. My husband’s home made pizza and an evening with friends.
    2. After school Poetry Rocks club starts.
    3. Getting ready for an author visit. Deb Lund visits this Tuesday. She’s lots of fun.
    4. Time with oldest grandgirl this week.
    5. The rain returned.
    6. The sound of birds in early morning.
    7. Poetry.
    Have a great week.

  2. Oh my goodness Jules! The looks on the gorilla’s face have me laughing already. I am so happy your girls are home. Would you share the titles you are reading? Or is it a secret? Secrets are a good thing too.
    Jone: I love hearing the sound of birds in the early morning too. We have had an abundance of chickadees around here lately.

    My kicks:
    1. Sunshine
    2. Fluffy new snow
    3. Virtual and real time chats with friends
    4. ALA Youth Media Awards
    5. Blooming amaryllis
    6. Company of a wonderful dog
    7. Walks with Xena

    Have a week filled with reading and fun everyone!

  3. Hello, Oop, Bubbles, and Imps!

    Keith: That’s the perfect title for your story. Congratulations.

    Jone: Have fun with your family and with the Poetry Rocks club!

    Margie: Enjoy the wildlife and the wildflowers.

    Jules: Which recent read did you all enjoy equally?

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Auditions
    2) Getting opportunities and seizing them
    3) Music
    4) Walking
    5) Apples
    6) Possibilities
    7) Memories

  4. Haven’t been around here lately. Love Keith’s book already!

    My kicks:
    1. New job
    2. A book in progress
    3. Acceptances to anthologies
    4. Visiting my dad after he had a stroke
    5. Reading Donald Hall
    6. Walking in snow
    7. Writing new poems

    Bottom Drawer

    My bottom drawer lies free.
    Unlike the other three
    Which store my shirts and socks.
    At bottom hide the rocks
    I gathered by the shore.
    And oak leaves in my drawer
    Sprawl yellow over yarn
    I squirreled from a barn.
    Unlike the other three,
    My bottom drawer lies free.

    © 2015 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  5. Second Banana looks so much fun! I know an almost-3-year-old who is going to love getting it for her birthday.

    Jules – enjoy your girls!

    Margie – fluffy snow and walks with Xena sound like a great week.

    Jone – time with the oldest grandgirl sounds great. Stay dry in all this rain!

    LW – Your kick number 2 sounds particularly inspiring this week.

    My quick kicks:
    1) Started reading The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman.
    2) Figured out how to borrow ebooks from my library. You can borrow books online at 1 am if you want!
    3) A (mostly) clean house.
    4) Meeting smart people who are helpful – it’s one of the parts of my job I really love. Plus I get to learn new things.
    5) Got to go to a Blazers game earlier in the week with a gf and her kids – great company and they won.
    6) Daisy snoring on the couch.
    7) Fun challenges.

    Have a great week everyone!

  6. Steven: Good poem. Congrats on your new job!

    Rachel: Danke. Enjoy the books and the puppy snores.

  7. Everyone: Happy to share what we are reading. We are reading a galley of Pam Munoz Ryan’s ECHO and a galley of Lynne Jonell’s SIGN OF THE CAT. I am still reading BROWN GIRL DREAMING with my girls, though I’d read it already. We are reading THE GOOD LITTLE DEVIL AND OTHER TALES. And yesterday I went and bought Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE, which I kept reading good reviews of — and WE LOVE IT. It is most excellent thus far!

    Jone, have fun with the after-school poetry club. How great is that idea? Have fun with Deb’s visit too.

    Margie, the awards were exciting, weren’t they? We had 60-degree weather today, which was nice, but I’d like at least one big snow too.

    Little Willow, you’re one of the best opportunity-seizers I know.

    Steven, hope your dad is tip-top healthy again soon. Congrats on the new job, and thanks for the poem.

    Rachel, I enjoyed Grossman’s book. I haven’t read the second two yet, but I will.

    Have a good week, all!

  8. Hi, Jules!

    It’s been AGES since I’ve visited and I really have missed your blog! I used to try to use my reader and it never worked properly and it was impossible to keep up, so I tried following blogs by email (which is why you haven’t seen me) and that was too overwhelming for ages, but I never had the time to figure it out. NOW I think I’ve got it under control 🙂

    So happy to be here AND to see someone as amazing as Keith Graves. LOVE his work and this looks like another great picture book 🙂 Excellent stuff. Can’t wait to be keeping up with you again!

  9. Hi Donna!

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