7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #726: Featuring Yael Frankel

h1 January 17th, 2021 by jules


Would you like to take a look at an Argentinian import? Today, I’ve got some spreads from Yael Frankel’s The Elevator, originally published in 2019 in Argentina and translated from the Spanish by Kit Maude. It comes from Tapioca Stories, a New York-based publisher that brings readers Latin American children’s books, originally written in Spanish and Portuguese.

The tall, slim, vertically-oriented (naturally) story of The Elevator begins with our narrator, a girl with a miniature red hat. She and her dog Roco head out for a walk, aiming for the ground floor in the elevator, but finding themselves going up. There they meet their neighbor Ms. Paula, who is scared of dogs. They keep going up, where they meet Mr. Miguel on Floor 8. As they finally head back down, they meet more neighbors — Cora and her twins, nestled in their stroller. They hear a strange noise around Floor 5, and suddenly the elevator stops.

This is just after the dog has peed in the elevator. The twins start to cry. Mr. Miguel complains about the elevator: “Not again! … When are they going to fix it?” Things seem grim until Ms. Paula opens the box she has with her and pulls out a cake. “It was a birthday cake for my friend,” she says, “but who cares?”

Eventually, Mr. Miguel improvises a story called “Who Cares?” It’s about a bear at his own birthday party. He hears no one is planning to show. “What does it matter,” the bear thinks. “I wasn’t expecting anyone anyway.” On the story goes, as the inside of the elevator morphs into a forest. Mr. Miguel is now the bear.

This playful, offbeat tale of connection with one’s neighbors, filled as it is with endearing characters, is visually striking with its monochromatic palette and occasional touches of vivid red. Frankel gets creative with her composition choices, as we see the elevator on the move; in one case, it rises and the top of an illustration is lopped off. Below are some spreads so that you can get a sense of the art.

Best of all, after you finish the book, you find a tiny envelope pasted to the book’s back inside cover. Open it. Pull out a 5″ x 5″ book that is the bear’s story, the one Mr. Miguel tells in the elevator. Cue the delight. This tiny book is called Who Cares? Pictured below are some illustrations (and the cover) from Mr. Miguel’s story too.

Note: If you’re intrigued by this story and especially if you’re interested in other Latin American children’s imports, Tapioca has also published The Invisible, written by poet Alcides Villaça and illustrated by Andrés Sandoval. Translated from the Portuguese by Flávia Rocha, in collaboration with Endi Bogue Hartigan, it was originally published in 2011 as invisível. This (delightfully) cryptic and evocative tale is for anyone who has ever wondered what it would like to be invisible. (I, for one, wish it were my superpower. And evidently Villaça wrote this poem as an ode to the fact that invisibility was his own favorite childhood superpower.) The book employs clear red vinyl pages that, at the page turns, conceal portions of the illustrations with an effect similar to the ones achieved by old red-and-blue anaglyph 3D glasses. It’s one you have to hold in your hands to experience. You can read more about it here.


From The Elevator:


“‘Someone must have called it before us,’ I told Roco. And I was right. When we got to Floor 7, my neighbor Ms. Paula got on. (She’s the one who’s afraid of dogs.)”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“On Floor 8, we were met by Mr. Miguel,
the oldest person in the whole building.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“The elevator stopped on Floor 6. Now what? It was Cora and the twins going out for a walk. (Cora said she wanted to tire them out for nap time.)”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“For instance, when none of his friends came to his birthday party, he said,
‘Who cares?’ over and over again.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“The story wasn’t over, but then we heard that strange noise we’d heard before.
All of a sudden, the elevator started to move again … It stopped back on Floor 4
(even though no one had pressed the button)!”

(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


From Who Cares? by Mr. Miguel:


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)



THE ELEVATOR. First English language edition published in North America in 2020 by Tapioca Stories. English language edition © 2020 Tapioca Stories. Originally published as El ascensor © 2019 Limonero, Argentina. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tapioca Stories, Huntington, New York.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

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.

1) Inaguration!

(May everyone stay safe.)

2) Actual snow.

3) Christmas gifts that showed up late just made Christmas feel longer.

4) One of those gifts from Blaine Danielson included my new Janeway mug:



5) Starting a Movie Project with Blaine Danielson in which we watch a bunch of 2020 movies we managed to miss. We close our eyes and pull a film name out of a hat when it’s movie time. I hope to have informed opinions when it’s time for the Oscars. (And clearly I needed a pandemic project, because I’m super excited about this.)

6) I’ve nearly perfected my Alexis Rose impression.

7) The 2021 ALA Youth Media Awards are a week from tomorrow.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #726: Featuring Yael Frankel”

  1. Oh the elevator, the tiny red hats, the story about Bear, I love it. I swear, my dog recently made me once every two hours just to use the elevator of a hotel to go outside. It was like he was fascinated with it.
    Jules, I love how you are watching 2020 movies. Do you have a list of movies to share? Email? And Alexis Rose? Yes, please, love her.
    My kicks:
    1. Reading Deception by Selena Montgomery AKA Stacey Abrams! A fun, need to escape read.
    2. Reading for the CYBILS Early Readers/Early Chapter Books for the CYBILS ( because of the Pandemic, they took away the Poetry section. Made me sad!)
    3. Poetry class with Georgia Heard.
    4. Wishing for snow.
    5. Buster gets to spend supervised time outside his crate. He’s almost 8 weeks out of surgery.
    6. Inauguration!
    7.Visit to Tualatin Wildlife Refuge.
    Have a great week.

  2. Jone, ooh! I want to read Abrams’s book! Good luck with your Cybils work, and hugs to Buster. Yes, I will email our list. It’s maybe 30-ish movies? We’ve watched about four so far. Last night we watched The Trial of the Chicago 7, which I recommend.

  3. Hi Imps! Hope you are all doing well.

    I love that they include the story the character tells as a mini-book! How cute.

    Jules: Hope you all have fun watching the films!

    Jone: Enjoy the stories! I’m so sorry they took away the poetry section. Hi Buster!

    My kicks:
    1) Music
    2) Amusement
    3) Other people’s pets
    4) Listening
    5) Connecting
    6) Similarities
    7) Catching up

  4. Oh my goodness The Elevator is fabulous. I really love the floors for the feel of an apartment building, and the pops of red are perfect. Also really love the Bear’s book Who Cares? which immediately made me think of this:


    Jules – that’s a great mug & I agree that late Christmas gifts are awesome. Yay for that Alexis Rose impression. I’m with Jone, would love to see your movie list.

    Jone – so glad Buster continues to recover so well! I wish we had some snow too. Yay for fun books and getting outside.

    My kicks this week:
    1) The Inauguration, joining in with both of you in the hopes that everyone stays safe.
    2) Got my first dose of the covid vaccine & got the one funded by Dolly Parton, so feeling very lucky and grateful. (In Oregon they have just started making it available for those of us who go to jails and prisons for work.)
    3) in a bit of Jane synchronicity, I’ve been attending an online retreat this weekend with The Jane Club, run by June Diane Raphael. Its been fun and interesting, some presentations were better than others.
    4) Writing letters and cards to send to faraway places.
    5) Watching Dharma and Greg. Still funny episodes that are only somewhat dated, and at under 30 minutes, a perfect watch when cooking or doing other chores.
    6) Still managing to do yoga every day with Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day January practice.
    7) Hanging out with Daisy. We’re increasing our daily walks and she is very happy about it.
    7.5) Paul Feig’s Instagram Happy Hour dance parties are a solid 10-15 minutes of joy.

    Have a great week everyone! Here’s to good changes on the way!

  5. Little Willow! I missed you in cyber space!

    Love your kicks of music, listening, connecting and other people’s pets!

  6. Little Willow, I’m laughing, because other people’s pets is one of my favorite things about these kicks (Daisy, Buster, Mulan).

    Rachel: HA. Thank you for that SNL reference. Will email you my movie list too! … So excellent that you got the first part of the vaccine. Hugs to Daisy.

    Have a good week, you all!

  7. LW, I LOVE your other people’s pets!
    Rachel, Hooray for you getting your vaccine. I am hoping for mine soon so I can sub.

  8. Hi Rachel and Daisy! I am glad you are both doing well. Go Dolly!!

    Hi Jules and Jone! I love that there are lots of four-legged Imps.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.