7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #546: Featuring Bob Shea

h1 August 6th, 2017 by jules

“Well, things are plenty scary right here. See? A kitty drinking milk!
Maybe it’s the kind of kitty that doesn’t like hugs? That’s scary!”


It’s a pleasure to showcase some art and preliminary images today from Bob Shea’s The Scariest Book Ever (Disney-Hyperion, July 2017). Remember last year’s The Happiest Book Ever? Well, now it’s time to get PETRIFIED. Maybe a bit panicky . …

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s the ghost protagonist of this very funny book who is scared. He even intentionally pours some orange juice on himself so that he can disrobe and avoid heading into the scary dark woods without the reader (who sees these scary woods on the title page spread). He knows, after all, there’s a dark hole in the forest, and that “nothing good ever comes out of a dark hole!” Even when the reader is given an opportunity to tell the ghost that it’s an adorable bunny who pops out of said hole, the ghost is still wary. This interaction with the reader continues, the ghost breaking the book’s fourth wall the whole way — and young readers will be thrilled to be one-up on the protagonist, privy as they are to the happy goings-on in the forest — the bunny plans for a spooky, but ADORBS (of course), costume party.

But don’t be scared for our less-than-intrepid protagonist: He gets past his fears in the end, though the final page indicates his new worry may be the belly ache he’ll have from cupcake consumption.

It’s smart. It’s funny. And this is not a surprise, because it’s Bob Shea. Below are some spreads and preliminary images. I thank Bob for sharing. (Some of the colors in the final art appear here brighter than they do in the book. And these are some eye-popping, highly saturated hues in the book, mind you. But the colors are slightly off here, FYI. These things happen with computers sometimes.)


Final Art from the Book:


Art from title page spread
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“… Whimsical woodland creatures? Invitations? To a party? Nice try. …
Don’t leave! I got us doughnuts.
Spooooooooky doughnuts.”
(Click to enlarge)




Preliminary Images:


Two early covers
(Click each to enlarge)


Bob: “This was an early color test that I inexplicably wrote ‘you are loved’ on.
It wasn’t a self-affirmation.”
(Click to enlarge)


Early sketch
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Bob: “For a while, the ghost was going to be just floating eyes after it lost its sheet. …”
(Click to enlarge)


Bob: “Losing his sheet …”
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A couple of images from the original pitch
(Click each to enlarge)


THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER. Copyright © 2017 by Bob Shea. Published by Disney-Hyperion, New York. All images reproduced by permission of Bob Shea.

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 * * *

This week, a college friend of mine died from breast cancer. Her name was Karson. We actually didn’t overlap at Maryville College—she started the year after I graduated—but I still knew her. In fact, she once stage-managed a show I directed, and she was a ray of sunshine. When she was first diagnosed (before the age of 30, if you can believe it), she regularly kept her friends updated via the Caring Bridge site; this was good for me, as I lived over 200 miles away. At one point years ago, she stopped posting regularly about her cancer and chemo and such, and I thought, Well, good. She’s out there living her life. And boy howdy, was she. She lived big. And brave. And happy.

About a week ago, she was placed in hospice. It seemed sudden, though it wasn’t, as she’d lived with this cancer over a decade. She was only 41 when she died on Friday, but she touched the lives of so many people.

Karson was a bright light and a kind soul. The world’s a bit dimmer without her megawatt smile.

This isn’t kicky at all, but here’s what made me think of the weekly seven-kicks tradition:

Karson was put on what is called comfort care in hospice about a week before she died. She wasn’t expected to linger in hospice as long as she did, but she was so strong. A friend of hers wrote this update one or two days before she died:

Karson continues to rest peacefully surrounded by her family. She is a lingerer, you know. We coined the term “Karson-late” for precisely this reason. She lingers over so many things … brilliant sunrises, flowers, the flaming colors of fall trees, the rich smell of coffee, starry skies, butterflies, the sting of snow on her tongue, and the list goes on and on. Karson is someone who knows that little things are important and sustaining. We like to think that she’s lingering appropriately in this spectacular collision of human love and God’s grace, soaking it all in for a while longer until she’s ready to fly Home. … Perhaps you could even take a minute to linger today — that would make our girl smile. …

Thanks to those of you who join me weekly to linger in the little (and big) things. That’s my one-to-seven kick today — in addition to Karson and the joy she brought to so many people’s lives.

What are YOU lingering over this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #546: Featuring Bob Shea”

  1. Good morning, Imps!

    Jules, my thoughts are with you and with Karson’s loved ones. Little things are so beautiful.

    Hello there, little black cat! How adorable, and not at all scary. Thanks, Bob.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Booked
    2) Offer
    3) Learning
    4) Music
    5) Finessing
    6) Smiling
    7) Breathing

  2. Finessing. Now, that’s an under-appreciated thing.

    And congrats on “booked”!

  3. What a fun book! Such energetic illustrations, and that ghost is so funny.

    Jules – so sorry for the loss of your friend. Glad to hear she spent a lot of time living large, and that description of her is breathtakingly beautiful. What a talent to be such a lingerer in beauty and simple pleasures.

    LW – congrats for your booked kick! Hooray! And hooray for smiling too.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Fun late-night work excursion.
    2) A good result for a client.
    3) HH catch-up with a friend, fun and long overdue.
    4) Surviving our days of 105 degree temps with Daisy.
    5) Daisy patiently standing still and enduring her bath – progress!
    6) Working in my garden.
    7) Sunday morning yoga.

    Have a great week Imps!

  4. Rachel, I read earlier this week about your unusually warm weather. Glad you and Daisy are hanging in there. It actually cooled down a bit here.

    Tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL for my girls. Cannot. believe. it.

    Have a good week!

  5. Hi Jules,

    I am sorry to hear about Karson. Thank you for sharing her friend’s words about her, with their reminder to linger over many small things.

    Thank you for sharing Bob’s artwork, and good luck with getting the kids back to school!

    LW – I love your kicks. They all sound refreshing.
    Rachel – Oh, that’s some heat! Glad you got through.

    My kicks:
    1. Celebrating my birthday
    2. Hiking
    3. Nature
    4. Extra desserts
    5. Giggly children
    6. Rain
    7. Family

  6. Happy birthday again, Dow! Hope it was great. What kind of extra desserts did you have? Inquiring minds wanna know.

  7. Oh, my favorite is the giant milk chocolate chip cookie my youngest baked and that we are still eating! And we’ve celebrated all week with: a strawberry milkshake, a chocolate mousse cake, cream cheese brownie, and green tea ice cream… pretty sure I didn’t hike enough to offset all this decadence! 🙂

  8. Thank you Jules for featuring Bob Shea and this new book. When I read it last week, I thought—He’s done it again. I can’t wait to write about it and share it with children.

    I am so very sorry about your friend Karson. With your words and the words of her friend, I can tell the world loss some brightness. I like the thought of lingering.

    I love your kick music, Little Willow. I’ve been associating songs with books more and more lately.

    Kudos to you and Daisy, Rachel, for surviving those hot days. It is so hard when the temperatures are high and our pups still want to play outside.

    Happy Birthday Dow and I love giggly children too. Their happiness is contagious.

    I lingered this week over:
    1. The moon. It’s full tonight.
    2. Rain…finally
    3. Wandering in nurseries and bringing new plants and shrubs home
    4. Smelling roses
    5. Taking a day and reading a book, One Amazing Elephant. Last week it was Miles Morales and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
    6. New picture books
    7. Walking with Mulan; she’s a hoot. Sometimes we will be walking and she will stop and sit like she’s contemplating the universe.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  9. Margie, I love your last kick. I wish we could have a kickers gathering with both Mulan AND Daisy. In fact, I love all these linger’y kicks. And I GOTTA read this new Miles Morales book.

    Have a great week!

  10. Dow, cream cheese brownies. Mmm. (I’m channeling my best Homer Simpson as I say that.)

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