7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #442: Featuring Beatrice Alemagna

h1 July 26th, 2015 by jules

“This morning I heard my sister says these words:
‘Oh, no!’ I thought. ‘She’s going to give Mom the most amazing present!’
I had to do something too. But what?”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Today I’ve got some illustrations from Beatrice Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy. Originally published in France last year, it’s coming to American shelves in September from Enchanted Lion Books.

Look closely on the title page spread, and you’ll see a quote from Fifi Brindacier (a.k.a. Pippi Longstocking, as she’s known in France):

It’s best for young children to live an orderly life. Especially if they order it themselves.

I love this, and it’s the perfect fit for this story, in which a five-and-a-half-year-old girl named Edith (but her friends call her Eddie) sets out to find a fuzzy little squishy.


(Click to enlarge cover)


Eddie has overheard her sister talking about their mother’s birthday, while using the words “fuzzy—little—squishy.” Not to be outdone, Eddie heads out to find a spectacular present. She asks the baker for help — and then she heads to the florist, Mimi’s clothing shop, the antique dealer, and the butcher shop. After all, each of these friends (even the very grouchy butcher) has fluffy and/or little and/or squishy items in their shops. Just when she’s about to give up, she sees it — “an adorable little creature! … A true FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY, at last!” She’s found the present for her mother, and as it turns out, a fluffy little squishy has “a thousand uses.” (Anyone other librarians thinking how great it would be to pair this book with Charlotte Zolotow’s Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, illustrated by Sendak?)

There’s a lot to like here, including Alemagna’s vivid mixed-media illustrations (or what appear to be mixed-media to me), as well as the cast of characters in Eddie’s community that she visits on her quest. Eddie leaps off the page in her neon pink jacket, and she brims with character. Best of all, she manages to find precisely what she’s looking for—rather, she manages to create just the gift she wants—-and this is especially triumphant, given that she says on the book’s first spread, “I don’t know how to do anything.” This is one girl’s journey of self-discovery — and along the way she picks up a bit of self-confidence to boot.

Here are some more of the colorful illustrations to pore over. …


“So off I ran to Mr. John the baker.
With all of his wonderful squishy things, he had to be able to help me.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“I went to every shop in the neighborhood, but nobody knew anything.
In the center of town was Theo’s butcher shop. The big grump was my last hope.”

(Click to enlarge spread)



THE WONDERFUL FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY. Copyright © 2015 by Enchanted Lion for the English-language translation. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Enchanted Lion, Brooklyn.

* * *

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) Picture book imports like this one.

2) Invitations.

3) A bit of home decluttering that really needed to happen.

4) New tracks from Laura Marling.

5) I got a late start to the show Veep, but my God, it’s funny.

6) A crisis averted and …

7) … the kindness of strangers.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #442: Featuring Beatrice Alemagna”

  1. Hi Kickers. Hope everyone has had a great week 🙂

    This book is so darn cute! That little pink fluffy- I can just feel it!

    So kicks..

    1. Among 10,000 Things.
    2. The Ice Twins.
    3. The Kind Worth Killing.
    4. Finally back on a grownup book reading kick- see above 🙂
    5. Gorgeous summer weather this past week.
    6. Pretending that next week the average temperatures are not going to be in the mid 90s 🙂
    7. Gilmore Girls. How had I never watched this series? The girls and I are hooked.

  2. Thank you Jules for bringing attention to this book. The illustrations are marvelous. It also brought to mind Madlenka’s journey around her neighborhood with her loose tooth.

    The kindness of strangers seems to come when you need it the most. I’m glad someone was there for you Jules.
    Hooray for summer days that are just right, Stacey.

    My kicks:
    1. Setting up my outside office so I can watch Xena in the front yard.
    2. Daisies and Black-eyed Susans
    3. Rain
    4. Chickadees in the birch tree singing
    5. Fresh fruit
    6. Moon gazing
    7. Breezes on hot days

    Have a fantastic week everyone.

  3. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello, Beatrice! That looks like a fun book.

    Stacey: Enjoy the show and enjoy the books!

    Margie: Ooh, outside office. Yay for flowers and fruit and moon gazing and breezes for sure.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Streaming
    2) Dreaming
    3) Planning
    4) Singing
    5) Writing
    6) Thinking
    7) Coordinating

  4. Stacey, thanks for the book recs. I really want to watch The Gilmore Girls too, because my very favorite musician does all the la-la music. I’ve heard the music, but I still haven’t seen the show.

    Margie: I was fine, but I saw a tiny baby in trouble yesterday, which was terrifying, but the baby is okay. Oh my. Thank goodness for the rubbery, bouncy bones of infants. … What a good idea for a new office space. Hugs to Xena.

  5. LW, we passed in cyberspace. I am waving now and hope you see me anyway!

  6. Love the references to Pippi Longstocking. And the illustrations are so fun.
    From last week, Marionberries are a type of blackberry. It’s a cross between the Chehalem and Olallie blackberries.
    Jules, I agree with book imports. Decluttering feel so good.
    Stacey, isn’t finding a great summer read the best.
    Margey, how lucky to have an outside office and bonus to be able see Xena.
    LW, dreaming and writing…love those two.
    My kicks:
    1. Seeing my two other Grandgirls and my other daughter on the road to California.
    2. Our road trip to California.
    3. Garlic from Gilroy.
    4. Fresh corn.
    5. Wine with friends.
    6. Stargazing
    7. Seeing my great nephew and his parents.
    Have a great week.

  7. Hello, Kickers —

    I love the look of this book, Jules. And I was wondering about the medium, too — mixed-media probably is about right. Looked around online for more (as one does), and found some interviews and photos which seem to confirm. But I also found this charming video which Beatrice Alemagna posted, which shows her at work (and has a nice clear English-language voiceover narration as well):

    Beatrice Alemagna tells about “What Is a Child?”

    I started Veep during its first season, but only got a few episodes into it before something-or-other distracted me. I need to get back to it, so thanks for the, er, “kick” start!

    Among other kicks for this week:

    1) Pooch back to normal (such as it is)
    2) Temporary a/c unit installed in my upstairs office. (I can use it for more than a couple hours in the morning — yay! Although the a/c guy declined my offer to bear his children; I’d probably be hurt if I weren’t, y’know, relieved.)
    3. Nice Italian meal out last night.
    4. Speaking of TV: I am not believing how much better European crime-and-detectives TV is than US crime-and-detectives TV. (Well, except for True Detective — but, as they keep reminding us, that’s not TV: that’s HBO.)
    5. Passed my minus-three-year retirement anniversary this week — which is to say, three years and I. Am. Out. 🙂
    6. Although I’m sick of reading tech specs and reviews of a/c units and water heaters, it’s a kick just to STOP.
    7. The electricity in the air when you have just the right conversation with just the right person — sometimes it’s so perfect you don’t even realize it until afterwards.

    Have a great week, all!

  8. What a great story! And Eddie really does jump off the page with personality.

    Jules – decluttering always feels so good, and Veep – oh so fun!

    Stacey – hooray for great summer weather. And you are the 3rd person in as many days to sing the praises of Gilmore Girls – I may have to add it to my “must watch” list.

    Margie – an outdoor office? That sounds amazing! Summer rain can be the best.

    LW – Dreaming and singing and writing and thinking are lovely kicks!

    Jone – family, stargazing, wine with friends sounds like a wonderful week!

    JES – yay for the pooch being back to normal! Hooray for AC in hot weather. And kick 7 is an incredible kick!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Getting to be part of the NWSL record-setting sold out crowd for the Portland Thorns v Seattle Reign game on Wednesday. We lost but it (almost) didn’t matter. The crowd was amazing and the ceremony honoring all the World Cup players before the game was great.
    2) Seeing my oldest friend do a reading of her work at a local bookstore on Thursday. She was wonderful, and it was great to catch up over cocktails afterwards.
    3) Daisy’s happiness at making a new friend on our walk this morning.
    4) My tomatoes are finally ripening!
    5) Having a catch up dinner last night with a good friend. Things are really coming together in all aspects of his life and his happiness is contagious, as well as so good to see.
    6) Almost finished with an online writing class that involves goal setting. I can already see the positive impact its having on me.
    7) Lazy Sunday morning with Rat Pack station on Pandora playing, coffee, and avocado, mozzarella and jalapeno pickles toast.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  9. Jone, so glad you saw your family. (And it’s funny, but I’ve never heard of Chehalem and Olallie blackberries either!)

    John, thanks for the video, which I shall watch in a moment! … I kinda can’t get over how funny Veep is. I hope you pick it back up. … Which European crime-and-detective shows are you watching? Have we already discussed Happy Valley, which is go good? Love your last kick, and congrats on almost-retiring! (And I’m glad The Pooch is all good.)

    Rachel, your kicks always make me wish we lived in the same town and could be non-virtual friends.

    Have a good week, all!

  10. Aw, Jules, thanks! I take that as a compliment of the highest order. Hopefully you’ll get to come out to Portland on a blog tour one of these days, and Jone and I can show you around our fun city.

  11. Jules — a lot of Euro crime shows seem to be remade as American (or Brit) ones: The Killing, The Bridge, Wallander, the Girl/Dragon Tattoo (etc.) movies… If I watch the “local” version first, I’m generally reluctant to look at the original (no suspense anymore!); if I watch the original first, I tend to think, like, “OMG, I can’t POSSIBLY risk my sense of this series just for the sake of foregoing subtitles…!” (Of course, I use the closed captions even on the English-language ones.)

    Haven’t started Happy Valley yet but it feels like it’s been in the ol’ queueueue for YEARS. Looking forward to that!

    And I suspect I’ll return to Veep once I get totally caught up with Silicon Valley and Alpha House. Good half-hour sitcoms (which aren’t re-runs of old ones) are extremely valuable resources when I’m pressing off stuff for work the next day. 🙂 (I really wish I could find the old ‘Soap’ show streaming somewhere, or the ones like Martin Mull’s ‘Fernwood” shows…)

    ***waves at Rachel*** Hooray for new friends of any species during walkies! And what kind of writing course could POSSIBLY involve goal setting? It sounds like a Communist front — ha!

  12. JES – this is the article about the program: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/10/419202925/the-writing-assignment-that-changes-lives

    I followed their links and bought the 2-for-1 class and gave the second 1 to my niece. It’s not BAD goal setting – 1 of my goals is to dance more. 🙂 Check out the article at least, its pretty cool. ***waves back***

  13. Hello,
    Where can I subscribe to this blog and get email notifications for new posts?


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