7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #728: Featuring Mariachiara Di Giorgio

h1 January 31st, 2021 by jules

(Click cover to enlarge)


A fair has come to town. A group of animals, watching from the nearby treeline, sees humans setting it up. As night falls, they continue to watch as people filter in. They watch from the shadows, taking in the bright lights and constant movement. (It’s here you can almost smell the funnel cakes.) But after the people filter out and the fair is closed for the night? Well, the creatures make their way in and experience all the fair has to offer.

Wanna see a couple spreads from Gideon Sterer’s The Midnight Fair (Candlewick, February 2021), illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio? It is captivating.

Di Giorgio, who lives in Rome and illustrated this entertaining 2017 book, lays out the story here in not only full-bleed spreads, but also spreads with panels of varying sizes — which pick up the pace, when needed, and provide abundant details. For instance, in an early spread we see a groundskeeper closing the fair for the night. A top horizontal panel on the verso shows people exiting the fair. The three smaller panels under it show the groundskeeper, as the lights are distinguished and the night’s shadows grow darker, lock everything up. The (very funny) illustration on the recto (sans any panels) shows all the forest creatures looking directly at us, covered in darkness with their eyes glowing. They are determined to make their way into the fair, no two ways about it. Is this something they are doing for the first time? Is it a regular occurrence? In this wordless book, that’s up to readers to decide.

There’s a lot of humor here. The animals aren’t anthropomorphized (in that they are, say, dressed in clothing) but do work with human-oriented goals, such as the moment we see a raccoon lift up another raccoon, who then pushes the large switch neceessary for lighting up the fair. And once it’s activated, Di Giorgio does a splendid job of capturing all the fair’s sights, sounds, and wonders — the popcorn, the cotton candy, the games. A wolf even wins a goldfish at the ring toss; the fish swims in a small plastic bag. (What the wolf does with it at the book’s close is genuinely touching.)

Di Giorgio also treats us to thrilling perspectives (see below), and she captures with detail and precision the beguiling, magical atmosphere of the evening. The smudgy, velvety lights. The swirling colors and movement of the rides. The sparkling lights of the carousel. The animals also find creative ways to pay for treats; these visual delights are there for readers who don’t rush through the book. A bear cub, for instance, slides an acorn across a counter in exchange for some ice cream.

I won’t give away whether or not they make it out of the fair before the groundskeeper returns. (He does become suspicious after seeing, from his home, a hazy glow in the night sky.) This is one you’ll want to hold in your hands anyway and take in for yourself. Below are two spreads.


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


THE MIDNIGHT FAIR. Storyline © 2020 Gideon Sterer. Illustrations © 2020 Mariachiara Di Giorgio. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

* * * 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) It was very fun a couple of weeks ago to be a part of the virtual Caldecott Club Voting Party 2021 with the young patrons at Lincolnwood Public Library and Evanston Public Library in Illinois. (There we all are below.) Thanks to Brian Wilson and Eti Berland for the invitation. Eti wrote a recap here.



2) The ALA Youth Media Awards this past week and the 2021 Robin Smith Picture Book Prize.

3) One Night in Miami. Soooo good.

4) Sign language interpreters (which I was in my 20s and 30s) being a part of the Biden administration’s daily news briefings.

5) R. L. Stine appearing in a scene in a recent episode of Search Party.

6) People singing, including Simone Istwa, Sam Phillips’s daughter, doing a five-song set of Sam covers in honor of Sam’s birthday, and Wilson Cruz



… and this:



7) Speaking of covers: Thanks to Tyler Childers, I’ve been humming this all week …



p.s. Bob Staake’s Bluebird has been animated. Head here to see the short film.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #728: Featuring Mariachiara Di Giorgio”

  1. The cover of The Midnight Fair is stunning. I can imagine the planning of the animals.
    Jules, One Night in Miami is on our list. I thought of you as the book awards were announced. Great choices this year.
    My kicks:
    1. Dinner with daughter and granddaught last night.
    2. Finished another Georgia Heard class.
    3. Taking a Highlightd Foundation class.with Cordelia Jensen.
    4. Organizing work space.
    5. Watched Borat, Subsquent Movie.
    6. Reading.
    7. A smidgen of snow. Didn’t really stick but maybe next.month?
    Have a great week.

  2. Happy last Sunday in January 2021 to you, Jules and Jone. (Where did this month go?)
    I for one cannot wait to hold this book in my hands. It appears to be downright magical. And I loved sharing the ALA Youth Media Awards with everyone who I know was watching. I still have some reading to do, but at least I have the books on my stack.

    Jone: Hooray for taking classes.

    My kicks this week are:
    1. Some sunshine on more than one day
    2. Chilly mornings with frost painted on everything
    3. Grocery delivery
    4. Songs of the chickadees
    5. 2021 books arriving in the mail
    6. Finishing Elatsoe
    7. Loads of romps in the snow in the backyard with Mulan; so grateful I could afford to fence it in last May
    Have a super week everyone!

  3. Jone, so glad that the Highlights Foundation can continue to do their wonderful courses online. Enjoy the snow, if it’s still there!

    Margie, I want to read Elatsoe aloud to my daughters. I’ve heard great things. Hugs to Mulan.

    My extra kick is that this morning I inadvertently trashed this post in WordPress, but my tech support (Blaine Danielson) helped me figure out how to recover it. Whew. I mean, not the end of the world if it didn’t go up, but it takes work to make a post!

  4. Good afternoon, Imps! Hello, Mariachiara Di Giorgio and the animals of The Midnight Fair! Three cheers for teamwork. (Go raccoons!)

    Jules: Sounds like a very cool week! I too am glad interpreters are included. Hi Blaine!

    Jone: Organization is key!

    Margie: I have no idea where the month went. No idea at all. Hello to the chickadees and to Mulan!

    My kicks:
    1) Making things work
    2) Offers
    3) Auditions
    4) Strength
    5) Patience
    6) Entertainment
    7) Friends

  5. This book and illustrations looks amazing. That cover just pulls me in and makes me want to visit that world.

    Jules – that song and video for Love Me When I’m Sleeping was so sweet and tender. Hooray for diversity and inclusion, and virtual voting parties!

    Jone – yay for dinners and classes and a smidgen of snow.

    Margie- sunshine on winter days and romps in the snow with Mulan sounds like a wonderful week.

    Little Willow – love all your kicks, especially Making things work and Friends.

    My kicks this week:
    1) First in-person court appearance since October and it was weird to be in a very empty courthouse, but otherwise fine and done with lots of social distancing.
    2) Testified (remotely) before a legislative committee on a police reform bill, and it went well.
    3) Connecting people to work together for much-needed changes in the criminal justice system.
    4) The simple pleasure of cooking fresh vegetables and portobello mushrooms for dinner.
    5) Getting mail from faraway places – always an instant mood lift.
    6) The celebration of Cicely Tyson’s incredible joyous style at GoFugYourself and reading all the tributes and in memoriams. What an amazing and inspiring human.
    7) Walks with Daisy.
    7.5) Lazy Sunday morning spent drinking coffee and hanging out with Daisy on the sofa.

    Have a great week Imps!

  6. Little Willow, break a leg with auditions! I like your last kick and that I can call you a friend.

    Rachel: Isn’t that song fabulous? It’s a good one to have in your head and to hum all day. And those lyrics, oof. Beautiful. … I love your second and third kicks (in particular), and I’m proud to know you.

    have a good week, you all!

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