What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Luc Melanson,
Christopher Silas Neal, and Stephanie Yue

h1 February 27th, 2015 by jules

“… I said we should have a funeral. Rosario just smiled.
He didn’t seem very sad, but I know he loved that tree.”
— From Charis Wahl’s
Rosario’s Fig Tree,
illustrated by Luc Melanson (Groundwood, March 2015)


S n a p! Someone else is faster!
Down in the dirt, a smooth, shining garter snake crunches on supper.”
— From Kate Messner’s
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt,
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
(Chronicle, March 2015)

(Click to enlarge spread)


“Every morning in summer, one … two … three! He pops out of his hole.
Such a little mouse. Off he goes into the wide world.”
— From Alice Schertle’s
Such a Little Mouse,
illustrated by Stephanie Yue (Orchard Books, March 2015)
(Click to enlarge spread)


This morning over at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books I really like, one out on shelves in mid-March and one, not till the Fall, though it was released overseas many years ago. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about the three picture books above. I have art (and covers) from each book below.



Art from Such a Little Mouse:


“He tunnels under piles of leaves. Rustle, rustle, rustle, go the leaves.
He feels the autumn wind tickle his whiskers.
‘Winter is coming,’ whispers the wind.”

(Click to enlarge)


“He makes a loaf of acorn bread. He makes seed-and-watercress soup.”
(Click to enlarge)



Art from Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt:


“Up in the garden, I stand and plan—
my hands full of seeds and my head full of dreams.”

(Click to enlarge)


“Up in the garden, we pick cukes and zucchini, harvesting into the dark. Bats swoop through the sunflowers, and I pluck June bugs from the basil until it’s time for bed.”
(Click to enlarge)


“Down in the dirt, skunks work the night shift.
They snuffle and dig, and gobble cutworms while I sleep.”

(Click to enlarge)



Art from Rosario’s Fig Tree:


“Rosario lives next door. He’s a magician. He doesn’t pull rabbits out of hats or find pennies behind your ears. He’s a garden magician. Here’s how I know.”
(Click to enlarge)


“Last spring he did a strange thing. One day he brought a big pot out of the house.
It had a tree in it as tall as he is. ‘It’s a fig tree,’ he said. ‘At home
we have fig trees everywhere. Here it’s too cold for figs. But we’ll see.’
He took the tree out of the pot and planted it in a hole.”

(Click to enlarge)


“‘Now we bury it,’ he said, and bent the tree over, lower and lower, until it lay in the hole. ‘Good-bye, tree.’ He put leaves all around it and plastic over the top. Then he shoveled in soil until you couldn’t see that there had ever been a tree there. …”


“All winter I thought about the tree. It had snow all over it,
and the cold wind swooshed around the garden.
Did dead things feel lonely?”

(Click to enlarge)


“Then he started digging where the grave was. What was he doing? Did he forget about the tree? I tried to stop him, but his friends just patted me on the head. ‘Don’t worry, little one,m’ they said. ‘It’s okay.’ Off came the soil and the plastic and the dead leaves. But the tree lay still and dead.”
(Click to enlarge)




* * * * * * *

ROSARIO’S FIG TREE. Text copyright © 2015 by Charis Wahl. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Luc Melanson. Published in Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Alice Schertle. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Stephanie Yue. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., New York.

UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. Text copyright © 2015 by Kate Messner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christopher Silas Neal. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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