7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #711: Featuring Kenneth Kraegel

h1 October 4th, 2020 by jules


I love the newest book from author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel. It’s a board book called This Is a Book of Shapes (Candlewick, September 2020), and it is suprising and fun and subversive.

You all know those board books that introduce basic shapes. That’s how Kraegel kicks things off here: “This is a circle. This is a square. This is a triangle.” On thick pages, we get big, bold shapes, slightly textured (they appear wood-grained) and featured in solid colors. There are no other images on these three spreads. The verso features the shape; the recto, the text.

But then turn the page to see expectations subverted: “This is an emu pushing a pancake wagon down a hill.” (Cue the giggles.) And so it goes with more basic shapes, interrupted by more absurdity. I love it. These spreads with the more ridiculous, imaginative scenarios are more detailed, filled with color.

There’s even a rimshot of an ending with a very deadpan joke involving a pineapple. What more could you ask for?

Perfect for your older board book readers, this one will cause a stir at story time. Here are two of the wilder spreads:


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


THIS IS A BOOK OF SHAPES. Copyright © 2020 by Kenneth Kraegel. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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’s Kicks * * *

1) It actually feels like Fall!

2) Long walks.

3) Allie Brosh’s new book.

4) This week! The celebration of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards begins!

5) This piece from author-illustrator Elisha Cooper.

6) When Little Willow points me toward a new song from Guy Garvey.

7) I love this post from author Kate Hoefler on Instagram:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kate Hoefler (@katehoefler) on


What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #711: Featuring Kenneth Kraegel”

  1. I love the colors in this book. We could probably spend hours on finding shapes. Love Emu and Hippo. Are there other characters?
    Jules, hooray for long walks and felling like fall.
    My kicks:
    1. Small bits of progress in the writing room.
    2. The full moon.
    3. Three writing Zoom meetings, all different and energizing.
    4. Oldest grandgirl.
    5. Finished THE GIVER OF STARS by Jojo Moyes. About librarians on horseback in Kentucky,
    6. My poem :Umbrella” is in the new Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell book, HOP TO IT.
    7. A drive for outdoor pizza with a friend.
    Have a great week.

  2. Delightfully, there’s a surprise pineapple, for one, Jone!

    Congrats on the poem! Glad to hear you’ll have your own writing room in your new space. And, yes, the moon has been gorgeous this week.

  3. Hi Imps! I would gladly welcome an emu with a pancake wagon.

    Jules: The song is addictive, isn’t it? I wish the show were available to view in the US! I am excited for Allie Brosh’s book.

    Jone: Glad that the writing sessions were energizing. Say hi to the moon for me!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Helpers
    2) Music
    3) Good food
    4) Options
    5) Questions
    6) Answers
    7) Included

  4. That skateboarding rhino with a jetpack is absolutely my favorite illustration today. I must get this book, one for me and one for my youngest nephew.

    Jules – hooray for long walks and it feeling like fall. Thank you for alerting me to Allie Brosh’s new book – I LOVE HER. Also thanks for sharing that poem and Kate Hoefler’s Insta.

    Jone – I read The Giver of Stars earlier this year & really enjoyed it. Congrats on your poem being included in Hop to It! That moon was very pretty.

    My kicks this week:
    1) I won a copy of Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam from the Fug Girls and it arrived yesterday! Excited to start reading.
    2) Lazy Sunday morning having coffee on the sofa with Daisy.
    3) When checking out more from Kate Hoefler’s Insta I read this poem, which gutted me: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBiUYYvH8fS/
    4) A promise to myself to workout/exercise for at least an hour every day this month. Keeping it up for my mental health even more than my physical health.
    5) Time spent reading in the sun in the backyard.
    6) Paul Feig’s Quarantine Playlist on Spotify.
    7) This Twitter thread of a fanfic script of The West Wing. It made me laugh and is so good its getting attention from tv showrunners for the writer: https://twitter.com/jelenawoehr/status/1311917089888890880

    7.5) Taking time to appreciate the little moments – like the look and feel of the warm, golden afternoon sun while I read in the yard yesterday, and seeing the Harvest Moon Full Moon and then the Moon and Mercury close together in the night sky days after.

    Wishing everyone golden moments of peace this coming week!

  5. Little Willow! I missed you in cyberspace! Helpers, Good Music, Good Food and Options are great to have. Included is a wonderful kick.

  6. Little Willow, I’m almost done with Allie’s book. So good. What’s some really good food you had this week? I’m making my best, most indulgent mac and cheese right now.

    Rachel, I would be thrilled just to get anything from the Fug Girls. I will go read that other Kate post in a second, and thanks for the playlist. (I really gotta do the Spotify thing.) Love your last, extra, half kick.

    Have a good week, you all!

  7. Hi Rachel! Many fun and good kicks there, especially time with your pup and reading outside!

    Jules: I cannot wait to read it. I had some very tasty veggie pita chips today. Ooh, what type(s) of cheese do you use?

  8. Jues – I won it in one of their afternoon book giveaways! I adore them and the throwback premiere posts have been such a great alternative to doom scrolling. All the 90’s ones are making me feel very nostalgic for my LA days.

  9. Rachel, I’ve seen some of those posts too. Very fun.

    Little Willow: CHEESE. I love Brie the most. Or Mt Tam: https://cowgirlcreamery.com/pages/mt-tam.

    My husband has cut out cheeses, and he’s healthier for it. But I love it. I love it so.

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