7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #575: Featuring Denise Fleming

h1 February 25th, 2018 by jules

“These are the NESTLINGS, tufted and pink, that cracked the eggs, brittle and blue, that lay on the grass, fresh and sweet, that cushions the weeds, dotted with seeds, that bind the mud, soft not soupy, that plasters the straw, rough and tough, that covers the string, long and strong, that wraps round the twigs, not too big,
that anchor the nest that Robin built.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


I’ve some art today from Denise Fleming’s new picture book, This Is the Nest That Robin Built (Beach Lane, March 2018). This is what the Kirkus review calls an “avian revision of a classic rhyme,” and that would be “This Is the House That Jack Built,” the popular cumulative rhyme. Here we meet the animals — squirrel, dog, horse, pig, mouse, and more — who, in one way or another, contribute to a nest (made of twigs, string, straw, mud, weeds, and grass) that a robin builds for her fledglings. The narrative’s structure is a cumulative one, just like the classic rhyme upon which it’s based, and these full-bleed spreads, which includes a gatefold towards the end, put readers right in front of the action. We are up close with these creatures, all the better to see the bold colors and textures of Fleming’s artwork. “After 28 years of paper-making,” she told me, “I decided to try a new medium. I make monoprints (using a gelatin plate) with texture and color and then cut up the prints and collage the bits and pieces. … I also use foam printing in the illustrations.” She says she will soon make a process video, which I look forward to seeing.

The starred Horn Book review calls this a “celebration of bits and pieces, of process, and of creation.” Yes. That! Here are some more illustrations so that the artwork can do the talking.


“This is the DOG who brought the string, long and strong, that wraps round the twigs, not too big, that anchor the nest that Robin built.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


“This is the MOUSE who gathered the weeds, dotted with seeds, that bind the mud, soft not soupy, that plasters the straw, rough and tough, that covers the string, long and strong, that wraps round the twigs, not too big, that anchor the nest that Robin built.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


(Click to enlarge spread)



THIS IS THE NEST THAT ROBIN BUILT. Copyright © 2018 by Denise Fleming. Published by Beach Lane Books, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Denise Fleming.

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) The Parkland teens.

2) Janelle Monáe’s new tunes.

3) I commissioned illustrator Ethan Aldridge to make a drawing of my daughters’ friend’s favorite D&D character for her birthday. (He is still doing drawings if anyone else wants one!) I love it so much, and I hope she likes it too:

4) Cancelled plans. (This really was a kick, even if cancelled plans usually aren’t.)

5) At Parnassus story time yesterday, a young girl (at storytime) came up to me and whisper-asked if she could read to everyone. I told her she could stay and help me. She was fabulous. FUTURE LIBRARIAN. WOOT!

6) I presented this week to Nashville Public Library’s children’s librarians about my favorite picture books and middle-grade novels of 2017, and it was a lot of fun to re-visit those books and speak to those librarians.

7) This part (below) of this Fresh Air interview made me think of the weekly kicks we all share together. It’s the little things, isn’t it?



What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #575: Featuring Denise Fleming”

  1. Good Sunday morning Jules~

    I have been a fan of Denise Fleming’s images and words for years and years, doing an annual author study every year with my younger students. Sixteen of her books have a place in my personal collection. I am looking foward to this newest title even more after seeing the illustrations here today.

    I’ve always told my students they are our hope. Thank you for your first kick. And your story time future librarian tale is the best.

    My kicks:
    1. Still reflecting on the award announcements at ALA
    2. Reading wonderful new 2018 titles while still reading earlier books
    3. Bobbie Pyron’s A Pup Called Trouble and Brian Selznick’s and David Serlin’s Baby Monkey Private Eye
    4. Sunshine
    5. Birdsong
    6. New possibilities
    7. Walking with Mulan

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week

  2. Good morning, Imps and creatures! Hello to Denise and company!

    Jules: That’s an awesome drawing. Yay for the future librarian (or storyteller, or actor, or public speaker, or teacher…!) Thank you for sharing that tragically beautiful quote. Wow.

    Margie: Hi Mulan! Yay for hope!

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Bit by bit
    2) Why not?
    3) Calm
    4) Safety
    5) Information
    6) Truth
    7) Steady

  3. I love Denise Fleming’s work. Putting on my list to get for school.
    Jules, love the cancelled plans kick. We had something similiar happen this week. Love kick number 7.
    Margie, interested in the new possibilites. Good luck.
    My kicks:
    1. Snow.
    2. Saw Three Billboards.
    3. Organizing.
    4. Seeing a Spotted Towhee on the deck.
    5. Daffodils.
    6. Catching up on Frankie and Grace.
    7. Longer days.
    Have great week.

  4. Margie, hugs to Mulan, as always. Do you plan to go to the ALA summer conference and hear the big speeches?

    LW: Yes to what you wrote about that girl! I thanked her when story time was over and told her that she’s a future librarian OR storyteller. I didn’t think of actress, but you’re absolutely right. … I love your second kick.

    Jone: Did you like Three Billboards? We watched Lady Bird last night.

  5. Love all the bright joyous colors in today’s artwork – much needed on this rainy grey day!

    Jules – so much yes to kick #1, they are giving me so much hope. Thank you for sharing that achingly beautiful last quote.

    Margie – yay for walks with Mulan and sunshine and birdsong.

    LW – love bit by bit, why not and steady the most this week.

    Jone – snow, daffodils and longer days are great kicks.

    My kicks this week:
    1) My bathroom has gotten a much-needed & long overdue refresh and I am kind of amazed at what a difference it makes & how happy it makes me.
    2) Listening to 80’s music while cleaning yesterday.
    3) Daisy got a bath yesterday & was very mad at me at first, but she is now so soft & velvety & smells so good.
    4) Saw “I, Tonya” Friday night – so, so good.
    5) Good productive work week.
    6) the Parkland teens (co-opting your first kick Jules) they are so fierce & it is breathtaking to watch how determined & effective they are.
    7) A catch-up with friends – always so good to hear others good news!

    Have a wonderful week Imps!

  6. Rachel, I’m eager to see I, Tonya too. Thanks for the reminder. Hugs to Daisy, and I’m raising my mug of coffee now to your productive work week (as I try to begin mine!).

  7. I know Denise and I am ordering this book to go to my grandgirl, whom Denise knows via my fb pics of her. I like your 7 kicks and glad to meet you. You sound like someone I would love to get to know. Am a former teacher and now sometimes poet. I love her new book, her new art, her reinvention and in general her…… I wish I could have a second life so I could live it learning to be an artist from Denise and a librarian and a published author of meaningful children’s literature. Alas I am an advocate for kids and poetry and books and quality education for all. That has to be enough, but I love to savor all the brilliance and fun and good energy I can find online. I tend to avoid the gloom, get that from the news endlessly. This brings happiness today. Will look at your blog and thank you.

  8. Hi Janet! Thanks for the kind message.

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