7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #690: Featuring Zhu Cheng-Liang

h1 May 10th, 2020 by jules

“… you are what I like the very, very most in the world.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


Today, I’ve some illustrations from Mary Murphy’s new picture book, What I Like Most (Candlewick, April 2020), illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang. This terrifically child-friendly story is told from the point of view of a young girl, who tells readers about her world and what she values in it.

“What I like most in the world is my window,” the book opens. The girl explains why, telling us what she sees in the moment. The child even possesess a sort of self-awareness and wisdom beyond her years, adding: “My window won’t change, but the things outside will. … The trees will grow, and so will the children, including me.”

But wait. There’s also apricot jam. That is what she likes most in the world.

But wait. There are her shoes that have lights that flash. And there’s also the river. Fries. Her book that “has a story about someone quite like me.” (In this spread, Cheng-Liang paints the girl holding a copy of A New Year’s Reunion, the 2011 book by Yu Li-Qiong that he illustrated and which won a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award that year.)

In the final spreads, the girl makes another exception. Perhaps what she loves most in the world is her mother: “You have been here since before I was born. You look after me. Mostly we have good times. Even when we are upset with each other, we belong together.”

There is an immediacy to the text that is engaging, and Murphy fills it with the little sensory details of the girl’s world — the way her fries taste when dipped in the middle of her egg, the way the river shines, the way her grandmother’s house smells of apricots, and much more. (This book would be paired well with Amy Schwartz’s What James Likes Best, published in 2003 and one of my favorite books for preschoolers.) Cheng-Liang’s delicate, relaxed-line illustrations in watercolor and pencil bring light and a fluid energy to the girl’s world. Below are some more illustrations. (Please note that some of these vary slightly from the final ones as they appear in the book.)



(Two images above: Click either to see spread in its entirety)



(Two images above: Click either to see spread in its entirety)


(Click cover to enlarge)


WHAT I LIKE MOST. Text copyright © 2019 by Mary Murphy. Illustrations copyright
© 2019 by Zhu Cheng-Liang. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

* * * * * * *

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 kind, patient, understanding daughters.

2) On my birthday this past Wednesday, there was not only a new What We Do in the Shadows episode about Colin Robinson (my favorite), but there were THREE Colin Robinsons in the episode!



3) The 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award winners were announced this past week. Congrats to Jacqueline Woodson and Albertine!

4) Weighted blankets. How’d I sleep without them in the before world?

5) One of my favorite musicians, Laura Marling, did a Song Exploder episode about the title track of her new album, “Song for Our Daughter.” And it is a devastatingly gorgeous song, so I was happy to hear about its construction. Also, she announced a solo concert from Union Chapel in London on a Saturday in early June. Virtual, of course. But it will be filmed with multiple cameras in Ultra HD and with the highest quality audio and all that. So, though my ticket to see her in Nashville back in March had to be refunded, now my whole family can watch this with me.

6) My new favorite tweet:

7) Next weekend (gulp) is our weekend of judging for the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards! Reading, reading, reading, re-reading, making notes, and looking forward to it.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all — to those of you who mother and to all who have mothered you.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

5 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #690: Featuring Zhu Cheng-Liang”

  1. What a delight to finds this book this morning. And I love that she is hold the book fro 2011. Love when books put little treasures in. Unexpected.
    Jules, belated happy birth day! The tweet is hilarious. Good luck next weekend.

    I am keeping it simple tody and rolling all my kicks into one. It’s the reason I didn’t check in last week. We stumbled on an opportunity to buy a ground level condo three doors from us. With Chuck at 70 and 14 stairs, a ground condo makes sense. So since last weekend, I have been packing and staging the house to go on the market yesterday. So far good interest. Fingers crossed.
    Have a good week.

  2. Congratulations, Jone! I wish I lived close enough to come help you pack and move. Good luck! Thanks for thinking of us kickers anyway during a busy time.

  3. Good morning, Imps! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the parents out there!

    Hello to Zhu Cheng-Liang (and the fish and the ducks!)

    Jules: Enjoy the concert next month! I hope you had a fantastic birthday.

    Jone: Fingers crossed for the condo!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Singing
    2) Seeing
    3) Sharing
    4) Snacking
    5) Seeking
    6) Sensing
    7) Solving

  4. What a beautiful book, and such perfect illustrations of the outdoors with the river and the rock and the kids and the ducks.

    Jules – happy belated birthday and hope it was fun! Yay for Colin Robinson! (That episode was so silly! Loved it!) Good luck judging! So glad the weighted blanket is working.

    Jone – good luck on the new condo!

    Little Willow – love your sibilant kicks this week! Especially singing, sharing, snacking and solving!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Beautiful sunny spring days.
    2) A Zoom 50th birthday party for a friend. The 5 of us have been friends since waiting tables in LA in the 90’s and though we are spread far apart now we’ve always stayed in touch. We had so much fun we’re going to do a weekly Zoom HH once a week.
    3) Going to sleep on a freshly made bed.
    4) Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Netflix. Felt like a warm hug from an old friend. (I miss them so much.)
    5) Paper Moon was last night’s watch and it is still so good. I love that movie.
    6) Social distancing hair care pick up today from my hairstylist – and realized when I got home he put a bottle of wine in the package!
    7) Warm enough weather to put the hammock up. Looking forward to some time spent reading in it this afternoon.
    7.5) Daisy being her usual cute self – and she is learning to walk/jump through a hoop now.

    Happy Mother’s Day! Hope everyone has a week with some beauty and love!

  5. Little Willow, glad it was a good (and sibilant) week. My birthday was good, yes.

    Rachel: Surprise wine! A hammock sounds lovely right about now. (We are having fab weather in middle TN these days.) Happy Zooming! I miss Barack and Michelle, our real parents, too.

    Have a good week, everyone!

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