7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #472: Featuring Frank Morrison

h1 February 28th, 2016 by jules

” … I force my feet to move. But one block in, I can’t go on.
I hear the beat of feet. …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Anyone else remember 2014’s Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison? There’s art from the book here at 7-Imp; it won a 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.

Well, today I have some more artwork from Frank, this time from Pat Zietlow Miller’s The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (Chronicle Books, February 2016). That’s right: Clarksville. As in, Clarksville, Tennessee, which is only about 70 miles from where I live. Tennessee represents. WOO!

This is the story of Alta, the spirited girl of the book’s title, who likes to pretend she’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph, “the fastest woman in the world.” (An Author’s Note explains that Wilma herself grew up in Clarksville.) As Alta considers the Clarksville parade, coming up tomorrow, a new girl in town sashays her way up to Alta and her friends to show off her new shoes. This girl’s name is Charmaine, and she struts in these “only-been-worn-by-her shoes with stripes down the sides and laces so white they glow.” Charmaine even compares her shoes to Wilma’s. (Gasp!) Alta is stunned; her own shoes are falling apart.

Alta gets defensive, pointing out that Wilma “wore a leg brace and flour-sack dresses before she got big.” But eventually Charmaine challenges Alta to a race. Things don’t go so well for Alta, who heads home with her feet dragging and her head hanging low. But the next day, when Alta sees Charmaine again, they decide to work as a team. And when they make it to the parade, lo and behold: It’s Wilma Rudolph herself, who rides by and waves.


“I do a victory dance while Charmaine glares. …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


This is a story with spunk to spare, and it addresses class issues (something we see more and more in picture books, as of recently) with ease. For one, when Alta shows her grandmother her shoes, post-race with Charmaine, her grandmother reminds her: “Oh, baby girl. Those shoes have to last.” The author manages to pay tribute to the triumphs of Rudolph via these girls and their determination. Morrison’s watercolors, writes the Kirkus review, are “vibrant and evocative, capturing the thrill and pride in this African-American community for its famous daughter.” I always enjoy seeing his artwork, and in these detailed and expressive paintings, he captures the characters with precision.

Here’s one more illustration …


“I sneak a look at Charmaine. Her feet are flying.
Who’s faster? I can’t tell. …”

(Click to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

THE QUICKEST KID IN CLARKSVILLE. Copyright © 2016 by Pat Zietlow Miller. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Frank Morrison. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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) I’m finally reading The Hunger Games trilogy.

2) I got some thank-you cards for reading to some third-graders (and telling them about my work), and one girl wrote: “I love how you’er so full of joy, fun, and basicly bubbles.” (I can say, without any doubt, that I’ve never before been described as bubbly. Maybe the picture books do that to me.)

3) Speaking of reading to children, I read to some 4th graders on Friday for Book’em’s Read Me Day. Their faces when I read Mac Barnett’s and Adam Rex’s Guess Again! were pretty great.

4) A friend and I finally had dinner at a well-known Hawaiian-themed restaurant not at all far from my house. (Well, she’d been there before, but I hadn’t — after hearing about it for years and years.)

5) I kinda can’t get over what a great song Dave Rawling Machine’s “The Weekend” is, but I really need to move on to a new CD too.

6) One of my daughters’ friends has created a character (they’re always filming little movies) called Jazz Grandma.

7) Car insurance!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #472: Featuring Frank Morrison”

  1. Shoes off for this book. What great illustrations and the storyline that doesn’t sugar coat class issues.
    Jules, wish you lived closer so you could read at my school. My grandgirls lovery making movies. That name Jazz Grandma, I watched to know more.
    My kicks:
    1. Philip.Margolin sharing the background on writing Worthy Brown’s Daughter at book club.
    2. Meeting with my writing group.
    3. Eric Kimmel at our school.for the day.
    4. A great conference on positive behavior.
    5. Poetry workshop with John Brehm, Portland poet.
    6. Breakfast with friend before the workshop.
    7. Friends over for dinner…good wine and pizza.
    Have a great week.

  2. 1. Saw my first robin red breast – well in fact 7 of them at one time in the park!
    2. I made pact to myself when I finished work on Friday it was no more work until Monday morning…what a great, great weekend it has been!
    3. Excited about some big announcements coming soon regarding communities adopting RIF’s new Read for Success, a program we researched for two summers with 33,000 children across the country and found great, great results in reducing the summer slide.
    4. Liked the illustrations in SAD, THE DOG by Tull Suwannakit and written by Sandy Fussell that a friend sent me this week.
    5. Set a dinner time with three great, great friends, been trying for six months to see.
    6. Made my travel reservations for three months forward for those trips to see three special boys in Arkansas!
    7. Looking forward to the annual trip to South Texas to FESTIBA (Festival of International Books and the Arts) at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley…except maybe for the 97 degree predicted for Friday?

    Have a great week all!

  3. Love the cover art for The Quickest Kid in Clarksvile, as well as the spunky determination in Alta’s stance and face. Plus the energy of the girls just springs off the pages in the spreads you shared.

    Jules – Kick #2’s compliment is the best compliment ever! I think I have to put that on my list of goals, to be “so full of joy, fun and bubbles!” I want to know more about Jazz Grandma.

    Carol – Sounds like an amazing work-free weekend. Hurrah for planning trips to see friends.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Daisy had surgery Thursday to have a tumor removed & she came through swimmingly. I’ve had to stay close to home for the first few days, so its been a fun weekend if Daisy snuggles & binge-watching tv & movies. Now its going to be a challenge to keep her quiet for the next week, til the stitches come out.
    2) The wonderful staff at Vista Pet Hospital who took such good care of Daisy. She loves them as much as they love her.
    3) The fun interactions Instagram provides. Jason Lewis, (Smith Jerrod from Sex & the City) recently liked one of my photos, which gave me a fun & silly thrill.
    4) Productive work week – super busy the beginning of the week to allow for Daisy-sitting at the end.
    5) Back to back The Rock movies (Furious 7 & San Andreas) has now inspired a challenge to watch all of his movies to see if his charm can make even awful movies watchable.
    6) Dreams of bears. Not sure what it meant, but seemed a good omen.
    7) Planted a small azalea yesterday, Daisy supervised. Time to start planning more for the spring & summer garden,

    Big thank you to all of you for the good wishes and healing thoughts for Daisy – they totally helped & we are grateful! Have a wonderful week everyone!

  4. Carol, I’m happy to see signs of Spring too! Your third kick sounds exciting.

    Rachel, SO GLAD that Daisy’s surgery went well, and I love that vet staff already. I send more wishes for her to have a great recovery. Your fifth kick is making me laugh.

    For anyone else who might show up (if you’re outside instead, I wouldn’t blame you), I probably won’t be back till tomorrow, because I’m going to visit my mother.

    Have a good week, all!

  5. Jone, I had to release your kicks from spam. Sorry about that!

    What a good week, Jone — Eric Kimmel (!) and a poetry workshop, friends, and wine. You’re living well, as always. Hello to Chuck! Is is Spring-like in Portland yet for you and Rachel?

  6. Hello Imps! Hi Morrison & Miller & Clarksville kids!

    Jules: Bubbly is great! Best of luck to your daughter & her friends & their films! Have a lovely visit with your mom. 🙂

    Jone: Poetry and writing and groups – sounds like a great week.

    Carol: Picturing the robins doing a kick line. Rockin’ Robin(s), naturally. Good luck with the forthcoming announcements and good things!

    Daisy: YAY PUPPY! Congrats, sweet dog. Now take a nap and heal – no, I didn’t say heel, I said heal…

    Rachel: So glad that Daisy’s doing well. Yes, I wrote her a message. Words have power. Get ready for the Rock’s forthcoming performance in Disney’s animated film Moana, with music by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Booking
    2) Recording
    3) Filming
    4) Reaching
    5) Trying
    6) Achieving
    7) Singing

  7. LW: Singing! Filming! As it should be. Lucky theatre-goers.

  8. 1. Chirping wood frogs–first sign of spring
    2. Playing a new board game–Splendor. Super fun. I think I am becoming a game geek.
    3 Making a crazy butterscotch jelly roll cake
    4. Having my interior design friend advise me about adding a bathroom to my basement.
    5. Jane Lynch in Afternoon Delight. She is always a kick.
    6. Maybe I’m watching too much TV, but Olive Kitteridge!!!
    7. new jeans that fit really well

  9. Cindy, oh, I gotta see Olive Kitteridge already, but I still want to read it first. I’ll also have to look into Splendor, as I LOVE board games. Happy Spring!

  10. […] blog primarily focused on illustration and picture books. The above blog was posted at 7-Imp on February 28, 2016. Follow […]

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.