7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #470: Featuring Benji Davies

h1 February 14th, 2016 by jules

“It’s got bright, waving things attached to it like huge kites. It’s got colors.
It’s got sound. It’s got, it’s got—WHEELS!”

(Click to enlarge spread)


I’ve got a review over at BookPage (here) of Linda Sarah’s Big Friends (Henry Holt, January 2016), illustrated by Benji Davies and first published in the UK in 2014 as On Sudden Hill. And you all know I get twitchy when writing about picture books but not sharing art from the insides of them, so here today are a few spreads from the book.

And here’s my March 2015 interview with Benji, if you want to see lots more art.


“Sometimes they’re kings, soldiers, astronauts. Sometimes they’re pirates sailing wild seas and skies. But always, always, they’re Big friends.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


“Birt loves their time together, their Etho-Shu-Birt-iness.
He loves their three-by-three rhythm.”

(Click to enlarge spread)



* * * * * * *

BIG FRIENDS. Copyright © 2014 by Linda Sarah. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Benji Davies. First American Edition 2016. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt and Company, 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 * * *

My kicks 1 through 7 today are about my trip to Chicago last weekend. I was the keynote speaker at a conference on social media and blogging for the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books at National Louis University. I got to see some old friends and colleagues — and meet new folks. The whole weekend was filled with wonderful conversations about children’s lit. The conference itself was attended by teachers, librarians, and academics. It was a great mix of people. Here’s a most excellent write-up by a fellow presenter, Mike Lewis.

Best of all (after you see this photo, you’ll understand why it encompasses for me 7 kicks and beyond), the organizer of the event, the wonderful Junko Yokota, showed us the picture book library she and her husband, William Teale, own. It sits in the yard behind their home, and it’s dreamy, you all. It is what my home wants to be when it grows up — it is filled with picture book and picture book art. I’d heard about this legendary library. When I saw it, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Here’s a photo Junko has on file (that I have permission to share), because I was too busy standing there drooling, when I first saw it, to even think to take a photo. Here are two photos smushed into one:



Right? Isn’t it incredible?

Junko and Bill were such gracious hosts. It was a wonderful weekend.

What are YOUR kicks this week? Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all.

11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #470: Featuring Benji Davies”

  1. WOW! Junk Library–That is the place of dreams. I can not believe it

  2. I meant “Junko”

  3. Big Friends looks like a lot of big fun.
    Jules, that library, drool worthy. Sounds like it was a.fabulous weekend.
    My kicks:
    1. Flutter and Hum by Julie Paschkis, the 2015 CYBILS Award for Poetry. Visit the CYBILS site for the other winners.
    2. 24 years. That’s how long Chuck and I’very been married. Today’s our anniversary.
    3. A day trip.to the coast for clam chowder and stormy weather.
    4. Writing.
    5. Hummingbirds
    6. Clam chowder.
    7. Time to read.
    Have a great week.

  4. I like this kicks idea and am going to start participating! This weeks kicks are
    –making 1970s style chicken curry (with cream and not much kick so my daughter will eat it)
    –Hail Caeser
    –chocolate (Valentine’s Day is good for something after all)
    –signing up for a drawing class for the first time in 15 years

  5. HI Jules — thanks for the kind words! Just imagine this, though — not only have we hung all that art that was on the floor last week, we now have about 25 more pieces we’ve framed and put up on our gallery walls. Come back for a visit!

  6. Happy Valentine’s Day, Imps!

    Hello to Benji and the kings, soldiers, astronauts, pirates, and friends!

    Congrats to all of the Cybils nominees, winners, panelists, and producers.

    Jules: I’m so happy that you got the opportunity & honor to be the keynote speaker at the conference! Congratulations again.

    Junko and William: Awesome ladders and bookshelves! Wow.

    Jone: Hummingbirds are wondrous.

    Welcome aboard, Cindy! Best wishes with your drawing class.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Happy visit
    2) Out loud
    3) Again
    4) Remarkable
    5) Truth
    6) Music
    7) Strides

  7. Steve, yes. It’s amazing.

    Jone, happy anniversary to you and Chuck! Flutter and Hum was one of my favorites this year. I saw those Cybils winner this morning and enjoyed looking through the list.

    Cindy! Please do join us. A drawing class? WOOT!

    Junko: I will definitely have to see that one day. I also dropped off yesterday a whole stack of original art and some limited edition prints to be framed. There were so many that it’ll be a while before I see them, but I can’t wait.

    Little Willow: Strides. I imagine you dancing when I read that!

  8. What a fun friendship story! Such vibrant illustrations, too.

    That library is AMAZING!

    Jules – so glad you had such a wonderful time in Chicago at the conference, they were lucky to have you for their keynote speaker. And you got to see that incredible library in person. Wow.

    Jone – Happy Anniversary! Enjoy the coast and clam chowder and company!

    Cindy – welcome! Glad you are joining in the kicking fun! Chocolate is a great bonus to V Day, and jealous you have already seen Hail Caeser! Enjoy the drawing class.

    LW – I love all your kicks, but especially Happy Visit, Out Loud, Again. They sound great.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Intense but good work week.
    2) Read “The Book of Unknown Americans” by Christina Henriquez. So good.
    3) Binge watched Season 1 of Better Call Saul.
    4) A dozen dusky red roses on Friday.
    5) Champagne lemonade cocktails.
    6) Sushi for dinner.
    7) Delivering heart shaped linzer cookies yesterday & today to spread the Valentines Day love.
    7.5) Ringing in the Chinese New Year Monday.

    Hope everyone’s week is sweet and full of love!

  9. Rachel, red roses. Ooh la la. I liked Better Call Saul. I was surprised by its pace, but that’s not a complaint either.

    Have a good week, everyone!

  10. Can I just say that this blog is always, always, a kick for me? The chance to sample so much art in one place! Actually, a hug more than a kick. Thanks, Jules.

  11. Thanks, Tricia!

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