7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #451: Featuring Joyce Wan

h1 September 27th, 2015 by jules

“Ten! Ugh!”
A final spread, followed by its sketch


We’re going to say goodbye to summer today, dear kickers, with a book I had meant to post about during the summer months — but better late than never. We’ll use this opportunity to wave farewell to swimming outside and lounging in the sun, since this past week marked the first day of Autumn.

If you read about picture books as often as I do, you may have seen the New York Times coverage in May of Joyce Wan’s The Whale in My Swimming Pool (Farrar Straus Giroux, April 2015), where Emily Jenkins wrote, in part:

Wan is a greeting card designer and the creator of many board books. Her curvilinear and comforting style recalls Hello Kitty and other Japanese pop art in its fat dark lines and squat characters, but the hero has an antic physicality and a wide range of emotional expressions. Her world feels safe and joyful, even as the hero experiences anger and frustration.

This is the story of a boy who heads out on a warm summer day to the tiny kiddie pool in his yard, only to find a whale occupying it. (“Never has a young child shared anything so awesome as a kiddie pool completely without conflict,” wrote Jenkins.) It’s funny stuff, as you can see in the illustrations here today: The mammoth whale is perched atop the wee pool, balanced perfectly. The boy tries various ways to get the whale out of the pool — to no avail. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a happy ending. There’s, to be exact, a happy ending followed immediately by a bit of a comic rimshot, which you can see below.

It’s a funny book with an endearing main character children will root for, and I thank Joyce for visiting today to share some art from it.

Opening endpapers
(Click to enlarge)


“Whoa . . . A whale?!”
(Click to enlarge)


“Mooooooom, there’s a whale in my swimming pool. …”
(Click to enlarge)


“Why my pool? Why not the pool next door?
They have the best pool on the block!”

(Click to enlarge)


“Wouldn’t you rather swim with other whales? What if we taken turns? …”
(Click to enlarge)


“I give up. Wait a minute. I have an idea! …”
(Click to enlarge)


“Oh, great. He snores!”
(Click to enlarge)


Closing endpapers
(Click to enlarge)



THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL. Copyright © 2015 by Joyce Wan. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York. Illustrations used by permission of Joyce Wan.

* * *

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) The intro to this post makes me think of “Olivia” from Lowland Hum, where they sing “get your body in the water before it turns Fall.”

2) My 11-year-old drew this comic, and when I shared it via Facebook, cartoonist Harry Bliss asked if he could draw it. So this was in newspapers on Friday. Very fun!

3) My 11-year-old’s face when I told her.

4) Sometimes you just have to drop everything and play with an almost-four-year-old, which is what I did on Friday night.

5) This is so good.

6) Cooler weather means it’s almost hot-cocoa weather.

7) Did I already mention the girls and I are reading Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl and loving it? It’s also the perfect read to follow Anne of Green Gables, which we just finished.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #451: Featuring Joyce Wan”

  1. Oh what a happy whale and what fun illustrations!

    Jules – that is so cool about your daughter’s comic! And Joan Shelley has a lovely voice.

    I missed last week so I’ll jump right into kicks:

    1) Trip to Ashland last weekend for a work conference.
    2) Meeting one of my role models – lawyer turned writer David Feige – and having a fun interaction with him while I was moderating and he was speaking.
    3) Returning home to a very happy to see me Daisy.
    4) A college buddy was in Portland for Comic Con – so a mini-reunion over cocktails led to lots of laughter and a late night.
    5) Last minute hair appointment – much needed after a busy stressful week.
    6) Friday night catch up with a good friend.
    7) Planning my costume for a Halloween party.

    Happy Fall and Super Blood Moon! Have a great week everyone!

  2. Oh Jules. What a fun book to end the summer. The illustrations are great. How cool for your daughter. The comic captures the essence of cats.
    Rachel, it was hair time for me. A trip to Ashland sounds fun.
    My kicks:
    1. Observing light changes in the condo as we move into fall.
    2. Little Woman in Blue by Jeannine Atkins.
    3. Surviving a hectic week at school. We hired a new fourth grade teacher and it was complicated. As our superintendent said a board meeting the teacher cupboard is bare.
    4. Started listening to the last Joe Pigza book by Gantos.
    5. Preparing to go to.California for a wedding on Wednesday.
    6. Fresh tomatoes.
    7. Fall colors.
    Have a great week.

  3. Yay! What a pleasant surprise to see Joyce’s lovely book featured today.
    I hate to say, “goodbye” to Summer but if I must this cute book is a good transition.

    Jules – That is so cool that that comic was made. Love it. I’m listening to Joan Shelley as I write this. I just watched this Billy Bragg http://www.npr.org/event/music/192685157/billy-bragg-tiny-desk-concert

    Rachel – Sounds like a full week. I am hoping to catch that moon tonight.

    Jone – I’ve been noticing the light change here too. The low tree line and being surrounded by the ocean gives us beautiful skies, year round.


    1.& 2. Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
    3. Being able to stay home with my sick boy
    4. Boy getting better
    5. Teen daughter teaching me how Snapchat works
    6. Framing more of the “Mini Sketches” for a show I am going to hang this week.
    7. Finishing some portfolio pieces http://moiraswiatkowski.com
    Bonus kick – I got to see this show before it closed. http://heritagemuseumsandgardens.org/exhibitions/special-exhibitions-gallery/

    Have a great week all. Stay healthy

  4. Good morning, Imps! Happy autumntime!

    Good morning, Joyce and the whale! I appreciate good endpapers in a book.

    Jules: Give your cartoonist daughter a high-five for me! Cool that another cartoonist drew something inspired by her work. Hope he cited the inspiration somewhere.

    Welcome back, Rachel! What’s your Halloween costume going to be, then?

    Jone: Have a fun and safe trip.

    Moira: Feel better soon.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1 Performing
    2 Conclusions
    3 Beginnings
    4 Full day
    5 Mix
    6 Mingle
    7 Okay

  5. Rachel: Did you already land on a costume idea? … Couldn’t see the eclipse tonight, because of clouds. BUMMER. I like kick #2. Moderating is fun.

    Jone, I wanna read Jeannine’s book! Happy reading — and safe travels to California.

    Moira: Oh my, I like Billy Bragg. Thanks for the link. Know what I like even better? Andrew Wyeth’s art. WOW to that show!

    Little Willlow: I made some music mixes this week. This is notable, because sometimes iTunes’ interface makes me a) cry and b) feel really old. … “Beginnings” is a lovely kick.

    Have a good week, all!

  6. Oh, and I’m glad you all are on the mend, Moira!

  7. Jules and LW – for this particular Halloween party the theme is SNL so I’ve decided to go as Dooneese – the 4th singing sister with the baby hands:

  8. Dooneese! I wanna see pics.

  9. Thank you Jules for highlighting such a fun reminder of those wonderful summer days. I will have to get a copy of this title.
    I love that Harry Bliss drew your daughter’s comic; the wonder of social media.

    There’s nothing better than catching up with a good friend Rachel. So happy you were able to do this.

    Fall is my favorite time of the year (next to winter) I love the colors too Jone.

    I miss seeing your Mini-Sketches Moira. I hope to get back in the swing on Twitter soon. I think they are simply the best.

    Beginnings hold so much potential Little Willow. I wish you well.

    My kicks:
    1. Enjoying the beauty of living in an area surrounded by mountains
    2. Arriving safely to Montana
    3. Good friends
    4. The kindness of strangers
    5-7 Time with Xena

    Have a wonderful week all.

  10. Margie, safe travels and my very best to Xena!

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