7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #506: Featuring Christoph Niemann

h1 October 23rd, 2016 by jules

7-Imp may be, for all intents and purposes, an art site, but today I’ve got some words for you. (Okay, some art too.) More specifically, Christoph Niemann’s Words, released this month from Greenwillow Books.

I love this one, which makes a great book for emerging readers to browse (if I could, I’d leave copies in every Kindergarten classroom in the country), as well as a great book for those learning English as a second language. To be sure, though, it’s a smart and fun book for everyone. In it, Niemann has illustrated more than 300 words in bold, black lines he drew in Adobe Photoshop. Each page features one word, and Niemann doesn’t desert any parts of speech. (Be sure to look for his illustrations of parts of speech at the book’s close.) How would you draw “there” and “those”? “Did” and “real”? “Almost”? “Will” (the verb, that is)? Tough ones, huh? Niemann’s got you covered here with clever, thoughtful renderings of words in the English language, sometimes pairing homonymns on one spread (“duck” showing the creature and then “duck” showing a duck ducking!).

Here’s part of what Niemann writes in the book’s short opening note:

One of the biggest differences between a word and an image is that most of us learn to understand images through happenstance or playful discovery, whereas learning to read and write usually requires a conscious effort. My aim for this book was to make the discovery of words equally fun and inspiring. By showing words in the context of simple visual scenes, I am inviting kids (and readers of all ages) to intuit and puzzle out meaning, and to see language as a source of ideas and stories.

STORIES, INDEED. (I’m yelling this in enthusiasm.) The book is actually a wonderful story-prompter, page after page, and it will get the wheels turning in the heads of readers, particularly those just coming to our bizarre language. (Niemann came to the U.S. from Germany and writes in a separate note, which came with the publicity materials, that English was challenging to learn. But, he adds, “English is a wonderfully diverse and inventive language, and I eventually learned that it is much less exclusive than other languages that make you climb a terrifying mountain of grammar before you can even dream of communicating.”)

As the starred Publishers Weekly review notes, Niemann is prompting readers to tease out correlations and even cause and effect between things and ideas. Child readers will also put their inference skills to work. Instead of me going on, I’m going to let some more of his words and images do the talking. Below are a small handful of images, and if you want to see even more, click here to see a GIF of more pages from the book.


WORDS. Copyright © 2016 by Christoph Niemann. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, 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 * * *

1) Nasty women who vote.

1½) Lumberjanes.

2) I love this Horn Book post over at Family Reading.

3) Book club and Jason Reynolds’ Ghost.

4) Light and lanterns.

5) Decisions and judgments and fingers crossed.

6) Hot cocoa with rainbow sprinkles.

7) Slow but steady progress on my daughters’ Halloween costumes. (They’re a bit of a challenge this year.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

12 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #506: Featuring Christoph Niemann”

  1. Wow! Our library needs this book. How cool. Will be getting it. Thank you Christopher Riemann for creating such a book. Is there a sequel?
    Jules, I need to read Ghost. Hope you will share about your girls’ costumes. Oldest grand girl’s costume is her own creation…a skeleton fairy. with maybe a unicorn horn to wear.
    My kicks:
    1. Revving up students for Poetry Rocks. We’re starting early this year.
    2. Cover reveal of The Best of the TLD, 2014-2015, compiled by Michelle Heindenrich Barnes.(https://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com) Eek, I have a poem in it.
    3. Seeing the play Terror by Gaslight. A friend of mine is in lead role. Small, intimate theater.
    4. Grand girl weekend. Shopping and the play.
    5. Introduced grand girl to SNL.
    6. Pumpkins.
    7. Poetry opportunities.
    Have a great week.

  2. Jone, what a good week! Did your granddaughter like SNL? Congrats on the cover reveal. That’s exciting. Looking forward to seeing it.

    Here’s who the girls want to be: Hilda and Squirrel Girl, two comics characters. I’ll try to share pics next week. Wish us luck! I LOVE LOVE LOVE a skeleton fairy with a unicorn horn.

  3. Good morning, Imps!

    “Words, words, words.” – Hamlet

    Jules: That sounds like pretty awesome cocoa. Goood luck with the costumes!

    Jone: I haven’t seen nor read that play, but I’ve read the premise. Sounds creepy!

    Kicks from the past week:
    1) Performances
    2) Auditions
    3) Helpers
    4) New music
    5) Roll
    6) Spirit
    7) Hope

  4. Jules, ove the costume ideas. I can see that they involve work. Oldest loves creating things especially around Halloween.

    LW…just the right amount of creepy and a twist at the end. Loved it.

  5. Oh my goodness – this book just went on my Christmas list for several littles in my life.

    Jules – so much yes to your first kick. Good luck on the Halloween costumes – love your girls Halloween costume choices. Yum for hot chocolate with rainbow sprinkles.

    Jone – what a great week – hooray for grandgirls and plays and SNL.

    LW – especially love kicks 6 & 7 this week!

    My kicks this week:
    1) The end of a 5 week+ trial.
    2) Meeting & working with an incredible team of smart, dedicated, hard-working, talented people.
    3) The deliciousness of sleeping in for a morning after weeks of work & early mornings.
    4) I voted. Yesterday I took Miss Daisy for a car ride with me to drop off my ballot, then we went to Starbucks for a latte & puppachino to celebrate.
    5) Finished “Luke Cage” on Netflix.
    6) Got a kids ladybug costume that I’ve converted for Daisy to wear for Halloween.
    7) SNL’s cold open.
    7.5) Echoing Jules, looking forward to spending election night with a large group of nasty women who vote. Party planning is almost complete.

    Have a wonderful Fall week Imps!

  6. Jone: When I looked up the play online, the official synopsis spoiled the ending. Who does that??

    Rachel: Thank you (and Daisy!) for voting. 🙂 Please share a photo of her dressed as a ladybug!

  7. Roll, LW, roll! And break a leg, as always.

    Rachel, congrats on finishing a ginormous work project! Do you recommend Luke Cage? We did not finish Jessica Jones. Something about it just wasn’t working for me, AND I DIDN’T EVEN GET TO DAVID TENNANT’S CHARACTER, which is a flippin’ CRIME. Isn’t Luke Cage a character from that? … I’ve heard good things about Luke Cage.

    Have a good week, all!

  8. LW – here is Miss Daisy Ladybug: https://www.instagram.com/p/BL4EWujADF3/?taken-by=rachelbusygrl

    There is a cuter pic of her cheezing on the sofa:

    Jules – I really liked Jessica Jones for the most part – except for the last episode and a few details in the plot/storyline – and Luke Cage was the bartender she got involved with. Luke Cage – the series – is very different, in a good way. And it has the extra added benefit of featuring Alfre Woodard in a major role playing a very dark and complicated character. I think you’ll like Luke Cage better than JJ. (I have loved Alfre Woodard ever since I saw her play Popeye in The Miss Firecracker Contest.)

  9. Cannot wait to see these costumes!!


    I will check the show out. Thanks, Rachel!

  11. David Tennant is a versatile and stellar actor in my book.

    I haven’t seen Luke Cage yet.

    Rachel: Daisy is a pretty pitty ladydogbug!!

  12. […] In honor of Picture Book Month, Susan is here to explore the mechanics of picture books — in more ways than one. I really enjoy what she has to say, and it all comes with art from Sophie Blackall, Frank Viva, and Christoph Niemann. […]

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