7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #600: Featuring Ian Schoenherr

h1 August 19th, 2018 by jules

— From Chapter 16, “Angelus”: “I pressed into a corner as the hounds, desperate to attack, bayed round me. ‘Back,’ cried a huntsman striding in, whip in hand.”


I’m doing something a little bit different today. I’ve not got a picture book for you this morning, dear Imps. I have a novel.

This is one of my favorite books this year, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s The Book of Boy (Greenwillow, February 2018). I like it so much that I’m reading it a second time — this time, I’m reading it out loud to my daughters.

“This story, like another, begins with an apple,” the book begins. This is the tale, set in Europe in 1350, of a boy who can talk to animals. His name is merely Boy. He is physically disfigured and mercilessly mocked for it. He is called a hunchback, and when he meets a mysterious pilgrim, named Secundus, in the medieval town of France where he lives, his life changes forever. In fact, when Boy leaves with Secundus (Secundus is impressed with his ability to jump and climb) to help the pilgrim find the seven relics of Saint Peter — rib, tooth, thumb, toe, dust, skull, tomb — it’s the first time Boy ever leaves the only home he’s ever known. He pilgrims to the city of Rome with Secundus in the hopes that Saint Peter can remove his hump and make him a real boy.


— From Chapter 6, “Saint-Peter’s-Step”: “A brindled mongrel bitch settled beside me with her four fat puppies, and she rested her head in my lap whilst they nursed and smiled her good dog smile, and another dog with shaggy black fur made certain that not a drop of honey remained on my fingers or behind my ears, and all the dogs lay close and the puppies, too, when they finished their meal, not one of them stinking, and at that moment I was as happy as ever I have been because I had dogs to love me and a miracle freshly witnssed, and not one person that day called me names,
most especially not the daughter with her burbling laugh.”


And that’s all I can tell you about this story, because anything further would be a disastrous spoiler in a book filled with lovely surprises. Oh, how I love this one. It is an adventure story — there is a dangerous quest, thieving scoundrels, mysterious religious relics, plenty of brimstone, a thumb in the hilt of a shattered sword, miracles, and much more — and it is filled with intrigue, superb characterization, and such exquisite, economic writing that it’s a pleasure to read aloud.


— From Chapter 7, “Feast Day”: “Till the end of my days I shall remember that moment. The crowd stood in shock, the mouth of every man and every woman hanging open in the shape of an egg, as the baby flew up, up to me. The guards turned, their eyes wide, watching. The baby’s mouth, too, was egg shaped, and its arms flailed in the smoky air.
I must save this baby or it will die.”


Because it includes illustrations — a map of Boy’s journey, as well as opening illustrations for each of the book’s sections and chapters — I’m sharing some today. They are by Ian Schoenherr. I’ve also got some of Ian’s early cover sketches.


— From Chapter 8, “A Fork in the Road”: “Pages of words. Words, and drawings, and lines I did not understand. Whole pages crossed out, or written to the very edges.
‘This is my quest. Decades — centuries! — of knowledge. The seven relics of Saint Peter. I have maps, I have floor plans, I have … secrets.'”


— From Chapter 9, “Tooth, the Second”: “We reached the rock that was shaped like a resting cow, and ducked behind it. Not a moment too soon, for a company of monks appeared on the stairs. Other men walked with them — fighters, they looked like, with swords and bloodied staffs, and bloodied bandages, too; the monks bore the injured. Monks cannot fight, and so must use others to wage their battles.
But even the fighters sang as they trudged up the steps.”


— From Chapter 10, “A Bath”: “Around a bend came a company of knights,
and squires with banners, and stout men leading an oxcart.”


— From Chapter 14, “A Little Boy with a Cold”: “Through a gap in the wall waddled a quartet of geese. They glared at Secundus with yellow eyes and snapped at him as they passed. They stood before me, nipping each other. Secundus began to laugh.
Hush, hush, the geese snapped at him. We all of us think you’re too loud.”



Early cover sketches
(Click each to enlarge)


Final cover


THE BOOK OF BOY. Copyright © 2018 by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Ian Schoenherr and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, 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 * * *

1) This was the week for the new live CD from Sam Phillips (my favorite musician/singer-songwriter). It is fab. She also released a live concert film, which is also fab. I haven’t watched it multiple times already or anything.

2) Also, I got to pre-order her new album, and she has released one wonderful song from it:



3) Taking songs like Caroline Rose’s “Bikini” …



… and playing the audio over the Double Dream Hands/Feet guy …



… with my daughters and their friend. We moved the couch to the back of the room and did our best to learn the moves. I am a klutz, but it was fun.

4) This tweet.

5) Listening to the sun.

6) Brooklyn Nine-Nine with the girls.

7) I love how much my girls love their school library. I love that the school library is hoppin’ and has such wonderful librarians.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #600: Featuring Ian Schoenherr”

  1. Thank you, Jules, for the novel recommendation. It looks like a great adventure. Love the illustrations for each chapter.
    Jules, I’m happy that your girls love the school library! Yay for strong school library programs.
    My Kicks:
    1. Being with former colleagues at the school board meeting last Tuesday. Bargaining is not going well.
    2. Being grateful that I’m retired.
    3. To me, retirement starts this week as the teachers are returning to the work week.
    4. I’m at the coast for 4 days to write with other writers.
    5. Finishing my poetry swap for summer.
    6. A poem from a student in my mailbox.
    7. Walking with a friend.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello, Ian! Three cheers for those who communicate with creatures of all kinds.

    Jules: Yay, library! Yay, music! Enjoy both – enjoy all of it.

    Jone: Enjoy the coast and the writing!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Prep
    2) Applications
    3) Details
    4) Music
    5) Cinematography
    6) Sweet
    7) Simple

  3. Oh this novel sounds right up my alley. Just ordered it from the library.

    Jules – that double dream feet & Bikini mashup is great, glad y’all had fun. That tweet was hysterical.

    Jone – enjoy the coast!

    LW – love all your kicks, but 6 & 7 best of all.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Made it through another packed work week, hurray.
    2) Dinner & catching up with a friend at a Lebanese restaurant neither of us had been to before.
    3) Bonus- the restaurant was a part of Burger Week & had an amazing burger plus other great food & great staff.
    4) This great Twitter thread on movies not talked about/appreciated enough (Jules, The Fall is well-loved by many). https://twitter.com/jowrotethis/status/1030660550311653376
    5) Watched “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on Netflix and it did not disappoint.
    6) So much yes to this quote from Jenny Han’s New York Times interview: “Because when you see someone who looks like you, it reveals what is possible. . . . It’s maybe I could be an astronaut, a fighter, a president. A writer. This is why it matters who is visible. It matters a lot. And for the girls of 2018, I want more. I want the whole world.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/opinion/sunday/crazy-rich-asians-movie-idol.html
    7) Friday morning trip to the vet with Daisy for a routine pawdicure (nail trim) & a shot. She loves them and was of course very good, so a trip to Starbucks for a puppachino was in order. Its always a kick to see how happy Daisy is to see everyone and get pets and attention from old and new friends. She’s a hit at the Starbucks drive-thru too.

    Have a great week everyone!

  4. Jone: Love your sixth kick. Also THE COAST. Jealous. Have fun! Amazing that you went to the school board meeting (and that you care), even in your retirement.

    LW: Sweet and simple is the way to go. Always.

    Rachel: YAY THE FALL. Love that Twitter thread. I could read it all day. Love Han’s quote. Jazz hands for Daisy. What is a puppachino? What does it consist of?

  5. Jules – a puppachino is free for your pup, and its simply whipped cream in a small cup. Dogs LOVE IT. Daisy certainly does. Daisy starts to get excited whenever we start into the drive-thru because she knows whats coming. She’s a big hit with the baristas.

  6. Rachel and Jules: “Jazz hands for Daisy” = YES.
    …And jazz hands for e v e r y o n e.
    Sweet and simple = lovely!

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