7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #578: Featuring Phoebe Wahl

h1 March 18th, 2018 by jules

Early sketch and final art
(Click each to enlarge)


Do you all remember, back in 2013, when Phoebe Wahl visited 7-Imp as an an “up-and-coming illustrator”? I’m happy to be writing here today about her second picture book, Backyard Fairies (Knopf, March 2018). I love to see her artwork, and this book is a delight.


(Click to enlarge cover)


This is the story, written in a soothing rhyme, of a young girl searching the yard of her home and the woods around it for fairies and “magical sprites.” They are always just out of sight, but observant readers will be able to spot them on every spread. Wahl’s illustrations are rendered via watercolor, gouache, collage, and colored pencil, and they are, as always, so earthy and rich that it’s nearly as if you can smell the soil. It also looks as if all the text is hand-lettered. It’s a beauty, filled with mystery and magic.

Phoebe is sharing some final art from the book here today, as well as a few early sketches. I thank her for sharing.


“A tiny, magical somebody’s home?”
Early sketch and final art

(Click each to enlarge)


Early sketches and final art


“You might leave an offering, then you discover,
it’s vanished by morning, replaced with another.”
(Click to enlarge)


“You wind through a forest of branches and brambles.
The woods are awake, making way for your rambles.”
(Click to enlarge)


BACKYARD FAIRIES. Copyright © 2018 by Phoebe Wahl. All images reproduced by permission of Phoebe Wahl and the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 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 * * *

You’ll have to forgive me for being brief, but my oldest just had a birthday party, which meant there were five pre-teen and teen girls runnin’ around, and I’m. worn. out. My kicks are: my daughter, her birthday, her great friends, and ice creak cake. Also, Phoebe Wahl’s artwork. And Bill Hader.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

5 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #578: Featuring Phoebe Wahl”

  1. Three cheers for fairies! Thanks, Phoebe. They are friends of imps, for sure. 🙂

    Jules: Hi to you and yours and theirs. I’m sure they all had a kickin’ time at the party.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Sharing
    2) Why not
    3) Authentic
    4) Worthwhile
    5) Simple
    6) Sweet
    7) Secure

  2. Brava, Phoebe. Fairies and in search of them never get old. Gorgeous art.
    Jules, what a great way to spend the weekend. Happy birthday, oldest.
    LW, good morning. Love kicks why not and simple.
    My kicks:
    1. A visit with The Library Girl aka Jennifer LaGarde. She’s mentoring librarians rhis year.
    2. Studying Naomi Shihab Nye to prepare for her upcoming lecture in April.
    3. Meeting a friend at Tabor Bread for coffee.
    4. Writng and playing with Golden Shovel poems.
    5. Gathering recipients for the student poetry postcard project.
    6. Dinner out with Chuck.
    7. Poetry Rocks’ kids.
    Have a great week.

  3. Such a lovely celebration of imagination & the fun to be had in one’s own backyard when looking for fairies. Congratulations to Phoebe Wahl on her second picture book!

    Jules – happy birthday to the oldest, & sounds like the party was quite the blowout – ice cream cake – yum!

    LW – love your last 3 kicks the most this week.

    Jone – Tabor Bread looks wonderful, I will have to give them a try. What a full week you had!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Finished the Sookie Stackhouse series. It was a fun journey, especially since I read the 1st book, then took a break to watch the HBO series, then went back to finish the entire book series.
    2) Daisy had to get stitches for a glass cut – that is not the kick, but the care she got & always gets from our vet & staff is so wonderful. She is already healed up almost completely.
    3) Fun launch party Friday night for Freeland Spirits Blue Bottle gin, a local distillery that is owned & run by all-women.
    4) Saw A Wrinkle in Time. Really enjoyed it, felt that it captured the essence of the book, & had some very beautiful moments. Storm Reid as Meg was a great casting choice – she was so so good.
    5) SNL, especially Weekend Update. Stefan!!
    6) Making plans for future hikes.
    7) Participating in democracy at the local level.
    7.5) All the kids who participated in the National Walkout Day, love all those kids so much. These 11-year-olds,in Alexandria, Virginia, Naomi & Carter, who organized their school walkout, were particularly great: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2018/mar/14/wednesday-walkout-gun-control-parkland-florida-students-live?page=with:block-5aa94c01e4b0d7d09c5c7515#block-5aa94c01e4b0d7d09c5c7515

    Have a great week Imps!

  4. LW: I first read Jone’s sentence as “why not simple?”, and I like that too.

    Jone: NAOMI! I’m such a fan!

    Rachel: I’m glad sweet Daisy is okay. … Haven’t even heard of Sookie Stackhouse and will have to look for that. Your last kick is the best kick of the WEEK. RAH!

    Have a good week, you all!

  5. Jules – The teenagers have been amazing, but those 11 year olds are on it too! Love that so much!

    The book series is what HBO’s True Blood is based on. The books were all a fun, relaxing read for me.



    Have a great week!

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