7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #561: Featuring Barbara McClintock

h1 November 19th, 2017 by jules


I’ve got some art today from Barbara McClintock’s The Five Forms (Farrar Straus Giroux), released in October. I had the chance to meet Barbara in person early last year, and I actually saw some original art from this book. I saw her working on it in her home studio, that is, so it’s lovely to hold the book in my hands now.

This is the story of a girl who finds a mysterious book, all about poses in martial arts, on top of a library book-return box on a sidewalk. She takes it home and proceeds to disregard the book’s warning about how the movements of Chinese martial arts which sometimes mimic the postures of animals, or forms, need not be attempted “without an experienced teacher!” She forges ahead anyway, first trying the crane, who starts to grab nearly everything in her room in its beak. Since leopard overpowers crane, she tries the leopard stance, which doesn’t go well either. The leopard and crane tussle. And so it goes, until the room also holds a snake and a dragon. Chaos reigns.



That is, until the girls uses the “final form” to return her house to the way it was. Only the Grand Master is to perform it, but the girl manages to find her inner calm and pull it off.

Did you see recently that Rumaan Alam wrote about Barbara’s book at the New York Times? Here is part of what he wrote:

There is something irresistible about McClintock’s painterly illustrations, which are a departure from the beautiful realist style of her previous books. … The new story has a comic strip’s construction, and a young reader will naturally find joy in the utter destruction the forms of the title release, as well as in how sensibly the story’s heroine deals with that mess.

Barbara’s paintings here are expressive and vibrant, and it’s fascinating to see her incorporate some of these comics elements into her art, including speech bubbles. Here are some more illustrations, since the art says way more than I can.


(Click to enlarge)



(Click to enlarge)


THE FIVE FORMS. Copyright © 2017 by Barbara McClintock. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Barbara McClintock.

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 must have listened to Brandi Carlile’s brand-new song, “The Joke,” about 20 times this week. Go here and scroll down to the (live) recording. Turn it up, man. It is EPIC.

It’s for the misfits.

2) This interview with Father Greg Boyle was good in many directions.

3) And this interview with these two women? They are truly bad-ass.

4) Finding just the right gifts for a friend about to turn six. Well, I certainly hope they’re just-right gifts.

5) Getting the chimney cleaned. (This is not a metaphor. Somehow, it sounds like one.) Now let’s hope we get weather cold enough to use it. …

6) Tonight, we are going to hear Shawn Colvin live. There will be wine.

7) In honor, I’ll share here my favorite-ever Shawn Colvin cover (that is, her covering someone else). I love every note of this:


What are YOUR kicks this week?

12 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #561: Featuring Barbara McClintock”

  1. This book reminds me of a bit of Jumangi and Pandora’s Box. Looks terrific. Love the crane spread.
    Jules, so many good kicks. Enjoy the concert. Kick 3 reminds me of how we’re living in a watershed moment.
    My Kicks:
    1. Oldest grandgirl turned 13. Relunctantly.
    2. Dinner with her and family last night.
    3. Looking forward to having this week off.
    4. Seeing a friend.
    5. Bookclub at my hpuse tonight. The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
    6. Sharing book review sites with a staff member.
    7. The library recieved two grants: one for BreakoutEdu boxes and one for Graphic novels.

  2. Jone, congrats on the grants! I don’t know what BreakoutEdu boxes are, but I’ll look that up. Happy birthday to your granddaughter! My girls are also reluctant about aging. They wanna stay kids as long as they can. Do you have this entire week off? Enjoy!

    Yes, watershed moment. Next time you have podcast-listening time, you should listen to the whole interview, if you haven’t already. Impressive journalists.

  3. I found this last week to be alternatingly stressful and frustrating so I’ll have to do some digging. Let’s see…

    1. Finally finishing and sending a letter I promised myself I’d write and send five months ago.

    2. Being on hand to help a kid who was suffering a mild anxiety attack and that the kid trusted me to come to me for help.

    3. Clearing out my raised garden bed in time for a winter crop of lettuce.

    4. Oh! Taking my kids for a bike ride last Sunday and seeing them light up at the experience.

    5. Sharing (mostly) unexpected twists and turns with my writing partner. 🙂

    6. Sunday morning that truly feels like the first day of a week-long vacation.

    7. Finding an “Oldies” station that plays music from before the 80s that’s going to be the soundtrack to making pancakes this morning.

  4. Scratch that. It was French Toast. And it’s going to lead off my Kicks next week.

  5. 1. I slept in!!! (It has been a while!)
    2. Reading “Spinning” by Tillie Walden
    3. Went to listen to Steads on Saturday at Books of Wonder. Fascinating, inspiring and humbling to hear how they work and create.
    4. My neighborhood bookstore, newly opened by amazing three women, finally got a store sign – Kew & Willow Books. So proud.
    5. Watched Murder on the Orient Express!
    6. Starting to design holiday card.
    7. Will not step out of my place today and stay cozy.

  6. Good afternoon, Imps!

    Hello, Barbara! The book looks cool. I don’t like when people touch my stuff, either. 🙂

    Jules: Have fun at the concert! Just-right gifts are the best.

    Jone: Happy birthday to your granddaughter, and congrats on the grants!

    Jerrold: May next week be better.

    Aram: Yay for sleep and yay for bookstores!

    Thanks again to everyone who contributed to my article about favorite short stories. Much appreciated.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Friends
    2) Articles
    3) Energized covers
    4) Fun
    5) Fierce
    6) Fearless
    7) Meeting & beating deadlines

  7. Can I just say up front that Barbara McClintock is inspiring. What a fun looking book. I really like her voice and I love her illustrations.
    Such awesome kicks from everyone.
    My Kicks:
    1. visiting family this week – relaxing, kind environment
    2. real fall weather in a colder climate than LA
    3. airplane travel
    4. great walks with all the Littles
    5. seeing my niece’s tap recital
    6. anticipating Thanksgiving and all the yummy foods
    7. making book lists for the next round of purchases for our school library

    Wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving and a restful week to All.

  8. Jules, yes, oldest doesn’t want to be a teen. She can talk on such grownup topics but also just wants to still be a child. So her borthday was more of an unbirthday…she days she’s 4 (1+3) LOL

  9. That shadow crane filling up the room is so striking, and I love how the chaos escalates as there are more forms/animals filling up her room. I will definitely have to check this book out!

    Jules – have a wonderful time at Shawn Colvin! Hope you enjoy the concert and the wine. That Brandi Carlisle song is epic, and sent me down an interwebs wormhole of her music.

    Jone – congrats on the grants! How wonderful! Enjoy your week off!

    Jerrold – hurray for french toast and the first day of vacation.

    Aram – ahhh, sleeping in is so great.

    LW – your kicks 4,5, & 6 read like a perfect description of you. Yay for meeting and beating deadlines.

    Allison – enjoy your visit with family and the colder weather and yummy Thanksgiving food.

    My quick kicks this week:
    1) Read “Fierce Kingdom” this week and loved it but holy cow was it unsettling, in that way that something really well written can get under your skin.
    2) Watched the movie “The Right Stuff” – what a great movie, and full of swoonworthy performances from Sam Shephard, Dennis Quaid and Ed Harris.
    3) Very busy work week, with some really nice results, which is always a good feeling.
    4) Binge-watched Stranger Things 2 over the past week and loved it so much. Really loved Sheriff Hopper dancing to Jim Croce, and his relationship with Eleven, as well as the addition of Max – another cool girl to join the boys club.
    5) Finally planted my fall bulbs.
    6) Slowly working on a home improvement project
    7) Yesterday’s Target run that resulted in matching pj’s for Daisy and I. (It was not on the shopping list, but that’s just what happens to me at Target. How could I possibly NOT get them?)
    7.5) Ready (almost) for Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving Imps! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and eats lots of yummy food – especially dessert!

  10. Back tomorrow. Promise!

  11. Here I am. It’s been a long day!

    Thanks for visiting, you all!

    Jerrold, coming in a close second to my favorite kick (#5) is your second one. That’s pretty flippin’ cool. Also, French toast. Mmm.

    Aram, staying home, new bookstores, the Steads. All good. Was Murder on the Orient Express good?

    Little Willow: What’s your favorite energized cover?

    Allison, enjoy the time with your family, and have fun with that book order!

    Jone, I like her math.

    Rachel: I actually knew little to nothing about Brandi’s music when I found that song this week, and I went down a wormhole too. I actually bought her most recent album. It’s good stuff. …. I think they’re making a film of Fierce Kingdom, right? Hugs to Daisy. Yay Hopper!

    I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving!

  12. Jules: There are so many! I was thinking of music when I typed that, then realized the phrase could evoke the thought of books, and that could work as well. 🙂

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