7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #512: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Sophie Ambrose

h1 December 4th, 2016 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means the work of a student or debut illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I have some spreads from British illustrator Sophie Ambrose’s debut picture book, The Lonely Giant (Candlewick, December 2016). In fact, the book may not even be out quite yet; I think it publishes in mid-December.

Evidently, Sophie is a recent graduate of Kingston University in London. Elements of her illustrations in this book bring to my mind the work of some of the UK’s most well-known illustrators — John Burningham and Raymond Briggs are two who come to mind. In the story, a giant wreaks havoc where he lives — pulling up trees and hurling them “like spears” and smashing mountains until, eventually, the forest disappears. At least, all that is good about the forest disappears — the animals, the songs of birds, etc. He becomes lonely, but he keeps smashing — until he meets a yellow bird. He likes her song so much that he captures her in a cage, only to see that she has become too sad to sing anymore. He releases her and apologizes. When he discovers the next day that she has left, he decides he must do what he can to bring all the creatures back — and all their music. He begins to mend all that he’s destroyed.


“At night, the giant sat alone in his cold cave. ‘How quiet everything is,’ he said with a sigh. ‘I remember the forest being full of birdsong, with plenty of wood for my fire.’
The giant grew lonelier and lonelier.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Ambrose makes a pretty obvious point here about our environment and our abuse of it. But she does so with ease and grace. Her illustrations were rendered in acrylic, watercolor, and colored pencil, and the earth-toned palette is warm and welcoming. The story is paced particularly well, Ambrose twice showing us forest spreads that manage to show the passage of time and the giant’s impact (for both bad and good).

I look forward to seeing what Ambrose brings us next. Here’s a bit more art.


(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)



THE LONELY GIANT. Copyright © 2016 by Sophie Ambrose. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

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) Wreaths.

2) Hot cocoa with chocolate chips waiting at the bottom.

3) My favorite music podcast playing a new Sam Phillips song right before a new Laura Marling song.

4) Getting a whole big long list of book recommendations from my smart friends and colleagues.

5) I’ll see some old high school friends today.

6) Good advice.

7) A dream with my late brother in it. He was so young (early 20s) and bright-eyed, and I had convinced him in this dream to come crash at my house. This is much better than the dream where I’ve learned it’s the end of the semester and I never went to my college physics course and I’m going to fail so, so hard.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

5 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #512: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Sophie Ambrose”

  1. Jules, thank you for introducing us to Sophie Ambrose. This is a much needed book. I loved your dream. I love when those not with us anymore visit in dreams. Happy it’s hot chocolate weather.
    My kicks:
    1. Colder mornings with a tease of snow this week.
    2. Writing December haiku for #haiku for healing.
    3. A party I have attended for most of the 15 years the hostess has had it.
    4. Grandgirl’s cello concert.
    5. Time with friends.
    6. The Singing Christmas Tree.
    7. Some many poetry books for the CYBILS in my house right now.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps and giants alike!

    Sophie: Congratulations on your artwork and your graduation!

    Jules: Sending you good thoughts. Dreams can be healing. Cocoa is the best. I like mixing chocolate chips into oatmeal, too.

    Jone: Congrats to your grand-cellist! Enjoy the haikus.

    Kicks from my week:
    1) Switch
    2) Wrap
    3) Go
    4) Layers
    5) Walks
    6) Reading
    7) View

  3. I love watercolor. Just sayin’. A well done environmental parable is always a good thing. The kids drink these in when I read them at school, at home in workshops. I like the look of the bird, not what I was expecting. I look forward to this book.

    Jules – glad you have had a good dream about your brother. That is a gift.

    My Kicks:
    1. very hard work all week at our school book fair netted our biggest profit ever ($13K which is not bad for our little 800 student Elementary and Middle school). So much credit to buy new and wonderful books.

    2. breaking out all the snow and snowman decorations – and the weather is chilly here in LA, so I get to pretend it might snow.

    3. enjoying reading all my picture books about winter, snow and snowmen/women to my Tiny. Enchanted by Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes.

    4. new sweaters

    5. banana bread (homemade with gluten free flour, maple syrup and coconut oil instead of butter – surprisingly good and rich)

    6. finally reading Brown Girl Dreaming

    7. rejuvenating my blog

    So happy to have a few minutes here today. Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

  4. Thank you for sharing Sophie Ambrose’s book & illustrations! I especially love the giant drinking tea from his tiny cup in front of the fire.

    Jules – what a lovely dream. Hooray for hot cocoa and new music.

    Jone – cello music is divine. What a full week you had – sounds awesome.

    LW – Love kicks reading & go most of all this week

    Allison – congrats on a successful fundraiser & holiday decorations. Banana Bread =yum.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Good work conference this week.
    2) A late lunch with cocktails.
    3) Office-warming for a colleague where I got to catch up with old friends.
    4) Christmas tree is up!
    5) Coffee & a catchup with an old friend who was in town on a quick visit from NY.
    6) Same friend gifted me with a signed copy of the new book she translated “Memoirs of a Polar Bear,” by Yoko Tawada. Made me ridiculously happy.
    7) Trimming the tree & putting up more Christmas decorations over wine & cheese with another friend.
    7.5) Daisy wrapping herself in blankets & making me laugh.

    Have a wonderful week Imps!

  5. Jone: Snow! We might get a tiny bit this week. I love to hear the cello. How great that your granddaughter is playing.

    Little Willow: Switch. That’s intriguing. And “go” is so you.

    Allison: Congrats on a great book fair! And your banana bread sounds like something I’d like to try. (Made some today, but yours sounds better. Mmm.)

    Rachel: ONE DAY one of my kicks is going to be that I WAS ACTUALLY IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS and *we* had coffee and got to catch up. One day, one day ….

    Have a good week, all!

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