7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #655: Featuring Guojing

h1 September 15th, 2019 by jules


Those of you who follow picture books closely may remember this 2015 publication, The Only Child. Named one of the New York Time’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books for that year, it was created by author-illustrator Guojing. She’s back with a new wordless book (Schwartz & Wade, September 2019), called Stormy, the story of a stray dog who finds a new home.

The opening endpapers kick off the story right away: We see a lone, leafless tree, and underneath it is a bench. Underneath that is a dog. One day, a young woman sits on the bench to read. She sees the dog and reaches out, handing him a ball. Naturally, the stray dog is frightened, but the woman is patient. She leaves the ball there at the end of the day, and when she returns the next, they play. The dog is still hesitant, but the woman is gentle and keeps her distance. In one exquisite golden-hued spread, it is twilight and the woman sits across from the dog, just watching. Letting the dog know she is there but respecting his space.

Eventually, the dog follows her home, unbeknownst to the woman. He stares longingly at her door, ball held firmly in his mouth in the rain, yet ends up sleeping in a wet, soggy cardboard box in the road by her apartment. All ends happily when, during a storm, she runs to the park to ensure the dog is okay and then finds him upon her return — and brings him inside. All of this is expertly paced, Guojing telling the story in a measured way — such that the emotional currents of the story are never forced. She uses panels on many spreads to pace the action, and there is a particularly effective and stirring use of light and shadow in these pencil and watercolor illustrations. The moment she finds the dog on her street is especially eloquent, Guojing taking her time and showing the woman in two panels giving the dog a tender, gentle hug in the rain. It’s as if she knows there is no other option but to bring him inside — and she knows they will be forever linked. When she does bring him inside, he’s dried and fed. They bond. And in the final spread, we see him — ever-so slowly — climb onto her bed and get comfortable.

It’s a poignant tale, one about compassion and, above all, building trust. Here are some more illustrations so that the art can do the talking.



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


(Click to enlarge spread)


* * * * * * *

STORMY. Copyright © 2019 by Guojing. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Schwartz & Wade, 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) My book club. Picture books, wine, and good conversations.

2) When my mother-in-law passed, she had a cat that needed a home. We found one for him this week — one that involves lots of books, as it turns out, and caring people. Since two other cats are already there, let’s hope it works out! Cross fingers for us?

3) This made me laugh:

4) My first dinner here. Yum.

5) Steven Universe: The Movie (because Steven Universe FOREVER).

6) The fact that my daughter wore her Edward Gorey shirt for school pictures this week.

7) Jacqueline Woodson’s TED talk from April. Here’s to reading slowly.


What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #655: Featuring Guojing”

  1. What a beautiful book. I could use it for a poetry writing lesson. The colors are stunning.
    Oh jules, I love that your daughter wore a Gorey shirt. I think my oldest grand needs an introduction to him.
    My kicks:
    1. Seeing my youngest niece when I brought her sis up to spend time with her.
    2. Crocheting.
    3. Autumnal feel in the air.
    4. Tickets for Downton Abbey the Movie for TH.
    5. Farmer Markets.
    6. Hummingbirds.
    7. Family.
    Have a great week.

  2. Happy Sunday, Jules. I have been waiting not so patiently for this book’s release. I know I am going to cry at the compassion of the woman and the hope the dog holds. Oh, my goodness! Thank you for the Nick video and I will listen to the Jacqueline Woodson TED talk.

    I, too, love Farmer’s Markets, Jone. And there is so much in them this time of year.

    My kicks this week:
    1. Crisp cool nights
    2. Rain
    3. Gorgeous clouds
    4. Loads of book releases the past two weeks
    5. Planting trees and perennials
    6. New job
    7. Daily multiple walks with Mulan

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  3. Jone, sounds like a week well-spent. Enjoy the movie! I’m ready for some autumn here.

    Margie: You will loooove this book, I bet. What beautiful, seasonal kicks. You all are making me wish I lived anywhere but the South right now.

    Rachel: If you make it to this post today, check your email!

  4. Hello Imps! Hello Guojing and Stormy! Yay for respecting another’s space and earning trust.

    Also: Save all the animals. 🙂

    Jules: Yay! I’m so glad the cat got a good home.
    I feel as though Edward Gorey would appreciate Emily the Strange, and vice versa.

    Jone: Enjoy the visits. Hummingbirds are lovely.

    Margie: Best wishes for your new job! Hi Mulan!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) New TV shows
    2) Old TV shows
    3) Music, always
    4) Talking
    5) Planning
    6) Voices
    7) Laughter

  5. Little Willow:

    New TV shows: We just finished season two of Mindhunter. It was … fine? We’re about to start The Americans, because I’ve been meaning to for yeeears.

    Old TV shows: Started watching Friends with my girls, and they like it more than I thought they would. It’s been a hoot to re-watch it. Phoebes always.

    How about you?

    Somehow I’ve gone all my life and never heard of Emily the Strange. Just looked her up.

    MARGIE: Somehow I missed “new job” before. WHAT? Congrats!! (How’d I miss that??)

  6. This book is so beautiful and the longing and emotion so strong it had me in tears (in a good way). Thank you to Guojing for creating such a powerfully moving story, and to Jules for sharing it today.

    Jules – Hooray for book club and wine, and that restaurant looks amazing! Love the tweet video (Jackson has some other pretty funny videos too), and yay for your daughter wearing her Gorey shirt for pics.(email checked & responded to.)

    Jone – farmers markets and hummingbirds and nieces sounds like a great week. The weather here certainly shifted straight into fall, didn’t it?

    Margie – cooler nights, walks with Mulan and a new job sounds wonderful.

    Little Willow – hooray for laughter and voices and a big fat yes to save all the animals! My old tv shows right now are The Practice and sometimes Friends (Phoebe Buffay aka Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock 4EVA) and new one is The Righteous Gemstones.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Last week was another intense work week – yay that its over.
    2) Making time for a deluxe pedicure (reflexology massage included) ahhhhh.
    3) Saw Hustlers opening night – Jennifer Lopez is outstanding, the chemistry with her and Constance Wu is terrific, and the direction and cinematography alternates between lush and sultry to gritty and dark. So good.
    4) Hike during the week and saw 9 deer.
    5) Hike yesterday and saw a bunny and then a young buck crossed the path right in front of us (about 20 feet away).
    6) Beautiful moonrise over the reservoir on a weeknight walk.
    7) Daisy, who is always a kick every week. She had a great session at underwater treadmill therapy this morning and has been a silly, funny goose all week.
    7.5) Streaming the Highwomen and Tanya Tucker and The Boss on Spotify while working today.

    Have a great week Imps!

  7. Rachel: Hope this week (and the next and the next) are stress-free! High-fives to Daisy!

    Jules: I saw the first season of Mindhunter. I want to see The Americans. Did I tell you about This Close last year? Season 2 just started.

  8. I am so happy I stopped by tonight. This book is beautiful, story and art. I look forward to seeing the whole book very soon.
    And all the kicks are wonderful – just the boost a weary soul needed (too much cleaning this weekend and continued insanity around the world!)

    My Kicks:
    1. school libraries open and running
    2. The Track Series by Jason Reynolds (not a new Kick, just a renewed one)
    3. cooler weather
    4. almost time for Yellowstone National Park – counting down the days
    5. my brother’s family got their first dog this week
    6. pilates solving back problems
    7. Calling Caldecott blog is back for the season

    Until next week.

  9. Rachel, I love deer-sightings. Glad you enjoyed the movie. Congrats on surviving another intense work week.

    LW: I will look into This Close. Did I tell you (can’t remember??) that we finished Season 2 of Dark. Our daughters joined us on the adventure.

    Allison: I also find that everyone’s kicks are a boost for the soul. (Thank you, one and all.) LOVE your first kick, naturally. … So eager to read Reynolds’ brand-new book, which was just longlisted for the National Book Award. Enjoy Yellowstone!

    Have a good week, you all.

  10. Jules: Yes to Dark! Yay for Dark! If you watch This Close, let me know what you think.

    Allison: Hello to your brother’s dog, aka your new canine nephew!

  11. LW, I just looked it up and, yes, I’ve heard about this! It’s in ASL. WOO HOO! I need to find out where to watch it.

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