7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #13: Featuring Jeremy Tankard

h1 June 3rd, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

LOOK, EVERYBODY! IT’S GRUMPY BIRD! And he’s mustering his best smile for us! Yes, three 7-Imp cheers for Jeremy Tankard, who sent us this illustration for us to kick off our 7-Kicks lists this week. Remember how last week we experimented with a different image for the list (instead of the usual Alice-with-the-White-Queen image)? And then we thought we could use a different illustration every week, and Jules suggested Grumpy Bird (the star of her favorite picture book thus far this year)? And even Adrienne, who wasn’t so sure she could let go of last week’s illustration (which Nancy now owns!), said she’d totally go for Grumpy Bird? Well, just ask and you shall receive. Jeremy says that this illustration of Grumpy Bird is a piece he did for the cover of a French children’s book catalog (we asked for an image of Grumpy Bird actually smiling, if possible, since we’re listing happy things every week, though we would have gladly accepted a grumpy pic, too. Jeremy says, “He looks sort of happy here. He’s smiling at any rate”). Many thanks to Mr. Tankard!

{Speaking of grumpy, one of Jules’ favorite word fun facts — ’cause, yes, she’s a Super Nerd — is that “gruntle” is an actual verb (as in “disgruntled,” of course), meaning “to put in good humor.” Jeremy Tankard has left us gruntled with this illustration. And lordhamercy, go read Grumpy Bird right now if you haven’t already. It’s a fine, fine book} . . .

Okay, let’s get to the lists then. Here’s our usual intro for any new people: It’s time for another installment of 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks. For those new to our series, this is where we all stop in every Sunday to report seven (more or less is fine) Good Things that happened to you (or that you read or saw or experienced or . . . well, you get the picture) this week. Absolutely anyone is welcome to contribute, and your lists don’t have to be book-related.

* * * * * * * Jules’ list * * * * * * *

Queen Julie here. My daughter refuses to let me call her by her first name this week. She’s Princess Piper instead (“Piper” being her middle name), and I’m Queen Julie. Not Queen Mommy, but Queen Julie. Hmmmm, Queen . . . Damn skippy.

Dana Carvey as The Grumpy Old Man -- Saturday Night Live, circa 1990, I thinkMy week had me feeling rather disgruntled, due to some computer issues. I say that at the risk of sounding like an online-addict, but what was more disturbing was the bad, bad customer service we received — from more than one service provider, actually. Sigh. I know I’ll sound like The Grumpy Old Man (“In my day, we didn’t need moooovin’ pitchurrrres . . . there was only one show in town — it was called ‘Stare at the sun!’ … That’s right! You’d sit in the middle of an open field and stare up at the sun till your eyeballs burst into flames! And you thought, ‘Oh, no! Maybe I shouldn’t’ve stared directly into the burning sun with my eyes wide open.’ But it was too late! Your head was on fire and people were roastin’ chickens over it. … And that’s the way it was and we liked it!”), but I do sometimes think the world is getting ruder (call waiting — don’t even get me started on that). I’ve attached a pic of Grumpy Old Man. See, that was me this week.

So, here’s my list (in no particular order), which is mostly full of simple pleasures of the summer, since I spent my week mainly dealing with Comcrap:

1). Visiting with a friend and watching her three-year-old, Ollie (not the Ollie pictured here, but I’ll take any opportunity to evangelize those Dunrea books), and my three-year-old run around in their suits and play in one of those old-skool baby pools and watching Miriam’s eyes light up at Ollie’s super-cool playhouse in his backyard (complete with a working doorbell) and eating strawberries and drinking lemonade outside in the shimmering sun. Ah, three-year-olds in the summer. It just doesn’t get any better.

2). Getting a really nice compliment this week about our blog from Robin Brande, having the opportunity to correspond with authors and illustrators whose work I admire, and — oh! — Eisha complimenting me on my acting skills in our second meme response this week. I haven’t done straight-up, non-ASL-related acting in so long. She made me miss it a bit, and maybe when I exit the boot camp that is early motherhood, I’ll return to it (though, according to some of our favorite bloggers, things stay busy even as the wee ones get less wee).

3). My oldest daughter, who isn’t even three-and-a-half yet, is reading and recognizing a few words. I’m trying not to sound like Braggy Mom here. I’m just really excited, ’cause, well, you all know I love to read (der). I just want to do a little dance.

4). Alkelda’s 7-Imp-esque interview of the fictional children’s book historian Penny Esmarkus. Funny stuff.

5). The baby finches left in a nest in the fern hanging on our front porch have all learned how to fly and moved on (à la Leaving the Nest, Mordicai Gerstein-style). I’m glad they made it. I’ll miss that mama finch being all protective and chirping at us every time we so much as looked at our fern.

6). Finally reading last year’s Dizzy by Jonah Winters and Sean Qualls (go see Qualls’ site and see those illustrations! Maybe we can boldly ask him to contribute an illustration for next week’s list?). Wow. How can you not like a book that ends like this (and I tried to space it like it is spaced in the book, but alas and alack, I cannot):


That’s what Dizzy called
this CRAZY kind of jazz
that he had invented just
by having the courage to be himself
until the very thing that had gotten him into trouble
so much
being a clown, breaking all the rules —
had become the thing that made him great,
his ticket

into Jazz Heaven
where, on certain nights,
Dizzy Gillespie
still shoves the angel Gabriel out of the way
and shows him how to play


And I also read and LOVED Kady MacDonald Denton’s Would They Love a Lion? (published way back in ’95). I have Eisha to thank for pointing it out to me after I reviewed her latest illustrated book here. Just look at that cover! I adore this woman’s artistic talents. And then, last but not least, I have David at The Excelsior File to thank for reading the wordless The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard by Australian illustrator Gregory Rogers. This is an ’04 title I hadn’t seen before, and David mentioned it here in a review of Rogers’ new title, Midsummer Knight. The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard is a visual feast. And, hmmm, the pissed off Shakespeare (shaking his fist) is so funny, a side of him I’ve never seen before. I loved it and am anxiously awaiting my library copy of Midsummer Knight.

7). Really good biscotti.

* * * * * * * eisha’s list * * * * * * *

All hail, Queen Julie! All hail, Princess Piper!

My list is pretty much all simple pleasures this week, too. No big parties, didn’t meet any authors or illustrators. Just little things, like…

Earl & Joy - seriously, people, watch this show!1* Well, for starters, Monday was a holiday! Woo-hoo, three-day-weekends! We spent a lot of it watching my graduation present from my husband: Season One of My Name is Earl on DVD. I. Love. This. Show. It’s exactly like going home for me, but so much funnier.

2* Also, we had a guest over last weekend, and went to Fried Okra at Redbones!Redbones, a very yummy BBQ place. Being vegetarian, I don’t get too excited about BBQ, but OH MY GOD, it’s the only place up here I’ve found fried okra. Sure, they serve it with salsa (blasphemy!), but whatever, it’s good.

3* Treated my friend Jamie to long-overdue dinner and beer at Bukowski’s. This is the only place I’ve found anywhere that has vegetarian chili dogs. They also have killer sweet potato fries.

Peter Bjorn and John4* I’ve been happily grooving to the Peter Bjorn and John CD Writer’s Block. That song “Amsterdam” is in my head all the time, which could get annoying soon but right now I still love it. I really wish I could whistle, though.

5* Sleeping with the windows open.

6* I had a tummy bug Thursday and Friday, and spent most of both days on the couch. But I got a lot of reading done, including Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce. It’s pretty good – a little sprawly, but imaginative. And I started Skulduggery Pleasant, and so far it’s really fun.

7* Finding out I helped Jules on her way to becoming a children’s librarian in that 8 Things Meme post. I’m honored. The profession is definitely a better place to be with you in it, Jules.

Looking forward, as usual, to everyone’s lists . . .

29 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #13: Featuring Jeremy Tankard”

  1. It’s amazing how summery everyone’s blogs from the Northern Hemisphere sound at the moment. You all sound like you’re enjoying yourselves!

    I didn’t post last week as I was just too tired Sunday to think up a list. But I have lots of lovely things to share from the last fortnight.

    1. The big news of last week was that I got my visa to live and work in the UK! In super record time! So I can look for work over the next couple of months secure that last minute delays in the visa won’t mean turning down a job.
    2. I have a beautiful bunch of sunflowers on the table.
    3. My mum received good news on a financial matter we had given up hope on – no one could deserve this fortunate turn of events more than she does so my whole family has been pleased all week.
    4. My youngest sister got a new job!
    5. My middle sister is moving to Cairns! I’m not sure if this really counts as good news for those left behind, but she thinks it’s good so I’m pleased. (And I’m moving so it’s not like we were going to be able to hang out anyway!)
    6. We are feeling very organised after going through our wardrobes and sorting out old clothes. And by old, I mean clothes from a decade ago and I was in my mid-teens. Um.
    7. Last but not least, I put in my intent to submit form for my PhD thesis! Comments are coming in from my advisors and I plan to have my thesis in on 9th July. It feels fantastic to have a date organised!

  2. Good morning, Emmaco. I was wondering where you were last week. Your list is great, but special congratulations on #7. That is excellent news.

  3. Happy Sunday one and all ! Here are my Kicks:

    1 – last week’s neuralgia seems to have cleared up now the hot weather’s arrived. I wish it wasn’t quite SO hot since I live in a tiny attic that holds the heat, but hey, no neuralgia is definitely kick-worthy !

    2 – I’ve decided to do my non-Who time-travel tale next after I finish the current (6th) Who story – even bought myself a new notebook in which to write it (with a different coloured cover, too, so I don’t confuse it with my Who fiction notebooks).

    3 – As if my brain wasn’t fizzing enough with ideas, I also came up with a plot synopsis for Who story 7 !

    4 – Yesterday I finally got around to listening to one of the “Doctor Who” audio plays featuring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor – and I’m SO proud I actually sat still and listened for nearly 2 hours without losing focus or tuning it out and picking up a book, or going back to my writing !

    5 – Yesterday morning I finally picked up copies of Stephen Hunt’s (adult) fantasy The Court of the Air and David Thorpe’s Hybrids – I’ve been waiting for the library to get these for AGES ! I also got E E Richardson’s The Summoning – Kelly H introduced me to this young author last year and I was really pleased to be able to pick up his new book so soon.

    6 – I got my act together and re-read The Ruby in the Smoke in good time for doing this month’s Book Discussion Group piece for my Blog. Rather essential as on Tuesday I’ve got a doctor’s appointment followed by lunch with a workmate who’s leaving Oxford and I’ve no idea what time I’ll get home.

    7 – Last week’s first of two “Doctor Who” episodes by Paul Cornell was all I’d hoped AND more ! He wrote one of my favourite season 1 episodes (“Father’s Day”) so I had high hopes of this two-parter being good. I’ve been warned, however, that the second part will likely leave me a sobbing wreck – it even made my brother cry, and he rarely cries at fiction on the screen ! I can scarcely wait until I get my hands on the disc tomorrow !

    Right, that’s it then. I’m hoping I’ll have a full seven to share again next week, but my department is being downsized this week and I may find myself downsized out of a job – and whilst that would mean more time for writing, I don’t really want to find myself unemployed ! So please keep your fingers crossed for me, folks ! (I should find out no later than Thursday whether I’ll get to keep my job.)

  4. Oh, Michele, I’m so sorry! I’ll absolutely keep my fingers crossed. Very best of luck.

  5. Queen Julie, I hope your week gets better.
    Eisha, have your read Bettles, Lightly Toasted by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor? It is an older book of hers and has one of the funniest scenes abut okra ever written. The description cracks me up. Emmaco, congrats on the visa and the thesis news.
    Michelle, I hope you aren’t part of the downsizing.
    My week:
    1. An email from a former student, quite out of the blue.
    2. I finished yweo books that have been on my nightstand. This reading before bed doesn’t get me very far sometimes. I end up checking for ligth leaks.
    3. Spending time outdoors every day this past week, the weather ha been fabulous.
    4. My yearly evaluation had some nice observations about my work.
    5. I tranplanted three hanging flower pots into the hanging pots with the coconut fiber liners.
    6. On to listening to Book Two fo HP in the car, I drive minimum of 30 minutes each wy to work.
    7. Fourth book started in my goal to read 8 books this weekend.
    Have a great week.

  6. I really should re-read and proof my spelling before hitting submit. Sorry for the typos.

  7. No, worries, Jone 😉 We’re pretty informal ’round here. And no, I haven’t read that Naylor, but I’ll put it on the ol’ pile. I know exactly what you mean about the “light leaks.”

    Oh, and I forgot to say: Welcome back, Emmaco!

  8. Eisha, Jone, thanks – I hope I’m not, also ! What’s very annoying about this is that we’ve known for 3 weeks that our dept was being downsized, but they keep moving the flaming goalposts. Originally it was going to be halved (from 16 to 8), then it was going to 5 desks but if one person only worked two days and another worked 3, they’d count as one full-time person. Now, however, they’ve decided to give our department 5 desks and a max. of 200 hours per week. Since there are 8 of us wanting to work in the office rather than switch to online proofing, 3 of us will not make the cut, and the 5 who stay in the office might find their hours slashed. So even if I get to stay, I may be earning less – and I barely manage on the bit I earn now ! *sigh*

  9. Michele, I will cross fingers and hope for the best. Keep us updated.

    Jone, congrats on a good list, esp. the year-end evaluation.

  10. I was only an occasional visitor to 7 imp until Jacket Flap’s blog feed made me aware of this Sunday event. This will be my first.

    1. I moved an idea from out of my head and onto the hard drive, finishing the first chapter of a book I’ve been pondering for months and months.
    2. I managed to finish reading two (adult) books: “The Department of Lost and Found” and “If I’m Missing or Dead”.
    3. Vegetable seeds I planted last week have sprouted!
    4. I picked up a copy of “Writing Down the Bones” at the local used book store.
    5. One of my wonderful online friends sold a piece to O magazine. Not my coup, but something that made me very, very happy.
    6. My family played a rousing game of Settlers of Catan, leaving several of us hiccupping from so much laughter.
    7. I got away from my desk for a long, uphill walk four times this week, achieving my (vague) goal of becoming more active.

  11. Welcome, Kris! And how the heck does one play Settlers of Catan?

    I’ve heard many friends praise Writing Down the Bones. Let us know if you enjoy it.

    Looking forward to visiting your site . . .

  12. Yes, welcome, Kris! I read Writing Down the Bones in college, and though I don’t remember a whole lot, I remember it was inspiring. And I only recently heard about If I’m Missing or Dead – sounds really intriguing, if sad.

  13. Aw. Grumpy Bird can smile. And I know why: yeah for jules’ daughter entering the world of reading! And eisha: wait until you get to the My Name is Earl episode where Randy’s girlfriend LOVES cats…

    My list:

    1. My husband taught my son how to do battle with a used car salesman this week. He now owns a Honda Civic.

    2. My son hugged his dad after the transaction was complete. “Dad, I know you didn’t have to do this for me…”

    3. Popcorn. The best snack food in the universe.

    4. I managed to hold “crow” pose in yoga class for the first time.

    5. I made back-to-back birdies on the golf course last weekend. Surprised the hell out of me.

    6. A kid asked me for advice on how to get along with his parents!

    7. My husband told me every day is Tuesday. (Those of you who watch House will know what I mean.)

  14. Okay, I usually think these things through before I get here, but I havent had time today so in random order until I get to seven – and oh yes, I will – is…
    1. My friend is here to visit this weekend and we’re having a great time!
    2. Did a house cleaning blitz yesterday in anticipation of her arrival, and while not a through job, it’s a great start.
    3. KFC for dinner last night, ’cause mmmmm it’s good.
    4. Great booktalking session on Friday, with at least a third less books than I usually bring.
    5. Babymouse postcard arrives for the 48HBC and books from Sara delivered right to my doorstep (Thanks Sara!).
    6. The deck is finally cleaned, fixed and stained.
    7. Going to the pool when I got hot and sweaty from finishing #6.

    Extra bonus item: countdown to 48HBC begins!

  15. Hi ho!

    Michele, I’m crossing my fingers for you too. Been there. (Though I’ll say being unemployed part of last year proved to be a GREAT 4 months!)

    Here’s my list:

    1. I made a grilled steak dinner last night, and managed to get steak, carrots, corn and salad all coordinated and ready at the same moment. Okay, the salad was the easy part, but the rest was quite a challenge for me. It turned out to be a great dinner.

    2. Saw old friends on Friday night and Saturday morning and met their 4-year-old son who was extremely funny and charming.

    3. Quality time with new boyfriend after I made him stay away for a week while he got over a bad cold/sinus infection. (I was sympathetic, but from a distance.)

    4. Dinner with new boss and a friend from work, including great food and a lot of laughter.

    5. My house has stayed pretty cool this week despite the early summer weather. I’m ready for fall already everytime I step out the door.

    6. Blue moon! I love full moons.

    7. Good thunderstorms this week. My favorite thing about summer!

  16. Happy Sunday, one and all. Comments first:

    Emmaco: Will you take me with you to the U.K.? I want to live and work there too!

    Michele: I’m glad you feel better!! But I’m worried about your job situation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed here in the Midwest.

    Jone: Here’s to enjoying the outdoors. I’m with you this week!

    Kris! Yay for getting an idea on the hard drive. A BIG move.

    Sara: Here’s to first cars. Is there anything more magical?

    MR: Can you come over here and blitz my house? I’m having trouble getting up right now to do it.

    Nancy: Thunderstorms rock (and new boyfriends)

    Jules and Eisha: Grumpy bird is awesome 🙂

    Okay, on to 7-ish things:

    1) Only one kid event left until the end of August
    2) Son kicked ass at his violin recital. I was so proud of him 🙂
    3) Daughter made it through a sleepover. True, she’s almost 12, but has never been (or, shall I say, remained) at a sleepover before. She’s slightly anxious…
    4) Making progress through the e-mail inboxes. I have a few big tasks left–ones I hope I’ll complete tomorrow.
    5) After complete craziness, it’s been a very quiet day today. Husband has taken the kids out of the house and they’ve been gone 4 1/2 hours and counting…

    Okay, dudes, that’s all I’ve got. I’m off to write some reviews!

  17. Sara – oh, I know! Amy Sedaris is hysterical in that one!

    MotherReader – you had quite the productive week! And we’re all counting down with you – I’ve got a big pile of books waiting…

    Nancy – I NEVER seem to be able to time a meal so everything is done at once. I’m so impressed, and so glad it seems like your new boss will be a good fit.

    Kelly – congrats to son and daughter, and to you for scoring 4 1/2+ hours of Kelly-time!


  19. Oh, Queen Julie, I love Ollie the Stomper. And that’s awesome about your daughter reading already. It’s not bragging to be excited about reading, I think. And Eisha, I hope that you’re feeling better. Reading is definitely a consolation for being under the weather. I couldn’t get into Flora Segunda, but I am looking forward to Skulduggery Pleasant. Such a great title!

    Michele, fingers crossed for you on your job. Reading time is no good if you can’t afford to buy books. And welcome to the 7 Kicks, Kris! I wish I could go on your walks with you.

    And on to the kicks! I missed last week, because, like Emmaco, I was just too tired by Sunday. But this week, in no particular order:

    1. While on a business trip, I managed to see friends Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, and eat out at three different former haunts. I also had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and talked kids books / blog with pretty much everyone.

    2. Today I wrote five book reviews (some published, some I’m saving for later in the week). I still have at least seven that I want to do, for books that I’ve already read and enjoyed, but at least I’m making a dent. Such great books I’ve been reading. I especially loved Dairy Queen.

    3. I got a very fun package in the mail this week from Rick Riordan, with a Hunters of Artemis t-shirt, and a signed copy of The Titan’s Curse. It was a thank you for helping drum up support for his visit out here, which of course I was more than happy to do. Now, no one who knows me can say that this will influence my review (one of the seven still to be written), because I’ve been raving about his books for years. But still fun!

    4. Sight unseen, I’m totally in love with a book reviewed by Jules earlier in the week: The Wicked Big Toddlah. Too, too funny, at least for those with a New England tie!

    5. Red Sox / Yankees on TV this weekend.

    6. On Memorial Day Mheir and I went for a great six-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains. Yes, my calves were sore for a few days, but it was worth it.

    7. The friends I saw Friday night made wonderful mint chocolate chip brownies, in my honor.

  20. Jen– A Hunters of Artemis tee-shirt? Are those available commercially? Because, as they say in the old country, “J’ai besoin un blouson/tee-shirt de Hunters de Artemis.” No kidding!

    Okay, here are my seven kicks for the week:
    1) This afternoon, the House of Glee attended a concert in someone’s house. Cupcakes were served to everyone who attended.
    2) Peonies arrived on Thursday, more rhubarb roots arrived on Friday (good thing, too, since the first batch I’d ordered rotted due to my inept planting)
    3)I had a storytelling gig on Thursday and I got paid. I love to get paid!!! (Exclamations intentional.)
    4) Locally grown cherries from the farmer’s market
    5) After I had some naan bread at dinner the other night, I realized I didn’t miss gluten as much as I’d thought. The naan was good, but I knew I would be fine without it, too. (Glutenous olive bread is another story.)
    6) I read Queen Bees and Wannabes and felt I had a bit more perspective on my daughter’s future years as a teenager. Will I still have perspective when they actually come around?
    7) I got to order tickets early for next year’s Arlo Guthrie and Dan Zanes concerts plus the “Frog and Toad” musical coming to Seattle.

  21. Thanks for the welcome! Settlers of Catan is a great board game (http://www.mayfairgames.com/ – click on Catan in the left sidebar).

    Kelly, musical kick-ass is always good. Jen, the Rick Riordan package sounds like fun. We had a surprise package of a certain Riptide in the mail last week, courtesy of Wellesley Booksmith. What Fun!

  22. Riptide is also cool, Kris! I love fun book stuff.

    And no, Alkelda, I don’t know if the Hunters of Artemis t-shirts are available. I suspect not. You probably have to go to a book signing or something… I’ll be treasuring mine.

  23. *adopting a British accent* Hullo to the royal princess and her mother.

    1) I played on someone else’s piano – the first time I’ve touched a piano’s keys in a good year, because I no longer have daily access to a piano – and then
    2) I composed a new piece of instrumental music.
    3) I visited my closest relatives.
    4) I wrote a new scene for one of my plays.
    5) I did extensive website work for someone.
    6) I did extensive website work for someone else.
    7) I was informed that I will have the honor of hosting Free Monkey.

    I wonder if Grumpy Bird could be cheered up by Alice, or if he would rather hang out in the Pool of Tears.

  24. Thank you, everyone who’s commented on my work situation. I’m hoping that 3 years and 9 months of being always on time, reliable (ie. turning up when I say I will, unlikes *some*), being flexible and adapatable so that I can turn my hand to whatever they ask me to do, and never making an undue fuss, will count for something…

    On the other hand, I know that neither of my immediate bosses like me very much (I’m too weird !), so we’ll see !

  25. I love all of these lists. It’s such a nice way to start the week. Thanks for the congrats.

    Kelly, you’re welcome to come with me to the UK if I get your baggage allowance to take some books with me.

    Michele, my fingers are crossed for you too. Surely all of our good vibes will outweigh any perceived weirdness? 🙂

  26. Hey, everyone. Love reading your lists. I’m too behind to comment on them all, but thanks for visiting and sharing.

    I got rather behind yesterday, since my youngest (who Princess Piper calls Princess Missy Moo — there’s no “Missy” in her name, but long story — yes, we have a whole royal court here) was feverish and ill. Anyway, thanks to all. Your lists are really fun to read.

  27. Fun lists, everyone.

    Eisha. Salsa with fried okra? That is highly unusual–and almost renders the frying into something…healthy.

  28. I know. I always thought anything battered-and-fried was supposed to be dipped in ranch dressing, if anything. But I have to admit their salsa is pretty good.

  29. I’m late here on account of BEA (which was more like 700 kicks), but I’m ever-so-pleased to see Grumpy Bird. Our library copy came in over the weekend, so I found it on my desk when I came back to work today. Cute, cute, cute. 🙂 Thanks again for recommending it, Jules.

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