7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #19: Featuring Matt Phelan

h1 July 15th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Happy Sunday to all! Just look at that beautiful illustration this week, compliments of Matt Phelan. The latest issue of The Horn Book includes Susan Patron’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech, and she talked briefly in that speech about having chosen Matt as the illustrator for The Higher Power of Lucky (lauding “his thoughtful, tender, and delicate pictures”). And we here at 7-Imp were reminded how much we like his art work and illustrations, so we contacted him and he agreed to share the above image from his upcoming book, Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle (to be published in September by Harcourt).

In fact, we were drawn to this illustration you see here, which is featured on his web site (which he has also given us permission to share). We chose it above all the others profiled at his site and asked him for permission to use it, because — in Eisha’s words — it’s “a good summery happy Matt Phelan image.” And then it turns out that the image he was going to send us — the one at the top of this post, the Internet debut of the illustration — is the finalized version of the one here to which we were initially drawn. Neat, huh? Here’s what he had to say about it:

That drawing was an early preliminary sketch for Very Hairy Bear. Although I liked the looseness, I wanted the finished drawings to be even warmer and softer. So I switched from my usual pen and watercolor to Conte crayon and pastel on a very soft — almost fuzzy — toned paper. {The image at the top of the post} is how the illustration ended up in the final book . . .

Here’s the book cover image, as found on his site. And, though he certainly didn’t ask us to point this out, we see that there are two recently-released titles that he has illustrated, Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli (Dial Books for Young Readers) and A Box Full of Kittens by Sonia Manzano (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), both published in June — and a title that was released in April as well.

Anyway, big thanks to Matt Phelan for sharing his art work this week! (Jules would like to add that her Very Favorite Matt Phelan Image Of All is here at his bio page. Oh my, is that not just a lovely little moment of grace, or what?).

Now on to our lists . . . For anyone new, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is our weekly tradition of listing Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week (whether book-related or not), and everyone is welcome.

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

Red Spikes1* Got an ARC of Margo Lanagan’s new book Red Spikes. Have I mentioned how much I love Margo Lanagan? Hmm? ‘Cause, I do, actually.

2* There’s been some interest in the furniture that my husband posted for sale on craigslist. If people actually buy it, we’re gonna use the money to buy new furniture for the new apartment. Woo!

3* Some of my favorite patrons came in to say goodbye to me on my last day at work. Much hugging and exchanging of emails ensued.

4* And my husband treated me to yummy southern food (FRIED OKRA!) from Redbones to celebrate after my last day.

5* Also got taken out to lunch by people twice. The neat thing about moving – people keep treating me Gots ta represent, yo!when we go out. And one of those lunch-treaters gave me a tank top that says “Cambridge, Massachusetts” on it. It’s a little different from this one, but this is the closest I could find in a pic.

6* I bought my plane ticket – I’m going to Chicago for Robin Brande’s Kidlit Conference in October!

7* And finally, I had a lovely little going away party thing at Grendel’s. It was small, due to me being all last-minute about bothering to invite people, but one person who happily surprised me with his attendance was David Elzey of the excelsior file. It was so great to finally meet him in person. Thanks, David!

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

1). Susan Patron’s aforementioned Newbery Medal acceptance speech, in which she said:

With the firestorm and controversy out of which The Higher Power of Lucky has emerged unscathed, I am more than ever confirmed in my belief that librarianship is a noble profession, essential to free speech and free access for children. It is crucial to children’s ability to make sense of this fragile, battered world–the world we’re handing over to them . . . It’s work you can look back on and know you made a difference in people’s lives, and as clichéd as that sounds, I believe it profoundly.

2). This old “Sesame Street” animated short, which I so totally remember from my childhood and my own girls watched the other day. Dude, this actually rather makes me tear up in the end. And, hey, the Alligator King has seven children, which is perfectly fitting for 7-Imp. Anyone else remember this?

3). This July ’07 School Library Journal write-up on children’s CDs (music that won’t make the parents want to gag), written by Warren Truitt (of the wonderful blog, Children’s Music That Rocks). Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link. And then this story on new children’s CDs, which I heard on NPR the other day. Seriously, these things make me happy, but I also haven’t fully read each article yet, as I know it will be too tempting for my checkbook.

4). “The Wussy Boy Manifesto” by Big Poppa E, as featured at David Elzey’s excelsior file Poetry Friday entry this week.

5). Finding out that Marc Aronson has a blog over at School Library Journal. How did I not know this? I repeat: How did I not know this, people?

6). One of my best friends from high school had a premature but healthy baby boy and named him Oliver. So, of course, I’m going to get him Phyllis Root’s and Christopher Denise’s so-utterly-perfect Oliver Finds His Way (which has an all-new meaning if you think about giving it to a newborn, someone who just entered our world).

7). Blueberry scones that I made for the first time ever. They weren’t so bad.

What were your kicks this week?

27 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #19: Featuring Matt Phelan”

  1. I hope the move goes well, Eisha! And I’m glad your friend’s baby is healthy, Jules! Sorry for skipping the last two 7 kicks. But the first item on my list explains it all:

    1. I submitted my PhD thesis!
    2. Celebrations included plenty of champagne
    3. Our home smells and looks good due to celebratory flowers
    4. We’ve found storage homes for the furniture we’re keeping and the books and managed to sell and give away nearly everything else. Well, plan to give away, we haven’t actually managed to get boxes and stuff out the door yet
    5. The goodbye lunches, dinners and coffees have been very nice and are set to continue for our last fortnight
    6. Although I still haven’t managed to blog about books I’ve been having a good time reading, particularly re-reading old favourites before they were packed
    7. The people across the road finally painted their apartment block. Sure, we’re moving in a week, but the dull and patchy grey of the rendering they had had for the last year was very depressing!

  2. Congrats, Emmaco! I bet it feels good to have turned that in. Are you excited about the big move?

  3. That’s one adorable bear! Jules, thanks for the video…who’s that singing? Eisha: I haven’t forgotten that I’m supposed to read White Time and discuss it with you. But by then, you’ll be all “wait until you read Red Spikes!”

    My list:

    1. Having these lists to look forward to. They never fail to make me happy, and composing my own list keeps me looking for the good all week.

    2. Little Willow featured a poem from my book. Thanks, Little Willow!

    3. I finished a draft of my next book.

    4. Then I got a brainstorm of how to make it even better! (I think that’s a good thing, even if it means more work.) Oh, and I cleaned off half of my desk. I’ll get to the other half…um, soon.

    5. Sushi, white wine, and the movie, Music and Lyrics. Watch it for the hilarious spoof of 80’s music videos at the beginning.

    6. I tried a new fitness class: Body Combat. Nothing like some jabbin’, hookin’ and right crossin’ to make me feel good.

    7. My daughter registered for college. She’s taking a Great Books class. And a first year seminar on how computers have changed the study of literature. And courses on Ancient Cities and Astronomy. (I’m thinking about pulling a Freaky Friday on her.)

  4. Oooh, Sara, those classes sound great. How computers have changed the study of literature? Do you think they’ll talk about lit blogs? Hee, hee. Are we lit blogs important enough to make it into a contemporary lit course?

    I do want to see that movie. Last week my husband and I finally saw the new James Bond, “Casino Royale.” Duuuuude, Daniel Craig is good. And Judi Dench is in it. Excellent. And that was my first introduction to Eva Green, who will play Serafina Pekkala in The Golden Compass movie, which all time will stand still for, come December (is that the right month?).

  5. Eisha, good luck on the move. Jules: O love the Susan Patron quote. She will be in Oregon in October, Emmaco, congrats ont getting the thesis finished and Sara, I would love to play Freak Friday. That sounds fun.
    My seven kicks:
    1. Just returned from “Camp Odell”; my college friends’ annual reunion.
    2. Got into reading a book on my list: Chicken Boy by Frances O’Roark Dowell. Fist I have read of her but we have the others in the collection. Am enjoying it.
    3. Read “Goblin Market” by Christina Rosetti. We had been talking about it at Lain’s author party.
    4.My aunt arrive tomorrow until Saturday.
    5. Almost finished with listeing to Harry Potter 4 and going to the HP movie today.
    6.Created beaded bookmarks for my friends when the weather outside was 102 degrees,
    7.Looked into taking the national boards for library media.
    Everyone, have a great week.

  6. Sara, I forgot to tell you that I don’t know who is singing “The Alligator King,” but Matt Phelan (our featured illustrator this week) told us in an email that he loves that little short, and he said this: “Someone on your comments asked who is singing it, and I’m 99% sure that the cartoon and song are by Bud Luckey, a major talent who now works at the genius factory called Pixar (he wrote and directed the Pixar short ‘Boundin” about the jackalope and the sheep.)”

    So, there ya go. Thanks, Matt!

    I forgot to add, too: The best kick of all this week is that Eisha will be at the kidlit conference in Chicago. Woo hoo!

    Jone, let us know how you like the Dowell book. I read Dovey Coe forever ago and really liked it. Have fun with your aunt!

    ADDENDUM: I just found this . . . looks like Matt is right.

  7. Beautiful illustration from Matt Phelan. Thanks for sharing!

    Eisha, don’t be afraid to mark the furniture WAY down on Craig’s list if you want to get rid of it fast. I got rid of 3 couches in about 4 hours that way.

    Here’s my list:

    1. Going to the movies twice. I saw Live Free or Die Hard with my boyfriend, and that movie was everything I expected it to be. Then I snuck off the next day and saw HP5 on my own. That was a bit of a disappointment — very well done, but there was no realistic way to fit such a huge book into 2+ hours without making a significant amount of cuts, which they did. Still, I’m glad I went and now I’m even more Harry Potter refreshed and ready for book 7 to arrive.

    2. Finding new restaurants. We ordered food from a local place that delivers, and they showed up with food and a bill for $21.42. The woman who delivered the food said “Twenty dollars will do it.” I was so shocked, I handed her the 20 with a thank you, and didn’t even tip her. Now I have to go back and find out if she was the owner, or what. It’s a mystery. Anyway the food was wonderful, so they’re on my must-order list.

    3. Went shopping for my vacation clothes and shoes. This is the first year in several that my excuse for buying new clothes is that I’ve LOST weight. Yay!

    4. I had new blinds installed in my house, and they’re very pretty and really change the look from the inside and the outside.

    5. For no apparent reason I had an episode on Friday night where my finger and toe joints were hurting so much and were so stiff that I couldn’t get to sleep. 2 Aleve and a 3AM bath later, I was able to get to sleep around 4. The good thing was being completely indulgent on Saturday morning and letting myself stay in bed till after 11.

    6. Watching sappy romances: 13 Going on 30, Music and Lyrics, and last night Catch and Release.

    7. I’m going sailing in Maine for 4 days on Friday, and will be on vacation after that for another 5 days. Which means I’ll probably miss the next one or two 7-Kicks installments, but I’ll be having lots of Kicks while I’m away and can report back on them later.

    Enjoy the rest of July everyone!

  8. Eisha: Good luck with the moving thing…

    Emmaco: Congrats on submitting your thesis ! Woo HOO !!

    What have I got that’s Kick-worthy ?

    1 – Although I’ve yet to finish re-writing the last chapter of Who 6, I’ve written 2 Tenth Doctor/Martha short stories (approx. 2000 words) this week.

    2 – I’ve been re-watching Doctor Who’s season 1 – quite good fun even if they’re not David Tennant-alicious… 😀

    3 – Someone’s getting me a copy of David’s film “LA Without A Map” – Woo Hoo !

    4 – There’s going to be second “Doctor Who” soundtrack CD this year ! More gorgeous Murray Gold music !!

    5 – I’ve been reading some fascinating non-fiction books as research for my non-Who story this week.

    6 – I’m also re-reading Linda Buckley Archer’s “The Tar Man” – and thoroughly enjoying it.

    7 – The final HP book will be out next weekend – no more wondering ! I’m actually not excited about it – seriously not (head’s too firmly fixed in the Whoniverse still), but I look forward to knowing how it all ends (does that make me weird?).

    Bonus KICK – I got a migraine yesterday as a result of all the long hours I’ve been working, but it wasn’t so bad that I had to take to my bed. That’s definitely kick-worthy…

    Have a good week everyone…

  9. I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so my kicks will be cumulative:

    1 – We finally got both summer shows up and running!

    2 – Terry cleaned up the house, which had been overrun by costumes for said summer shows.

    3 – I made some kick-butt grilled chicken and coucous salad last Sunday night…eating at home is YUMMY. I liked the salad so much I made a second batch for lunches.

    4 – I finally went to the Teton County Public Library yesterday, and was so pleased to find out that it’s a GREAT library. I haven’t been in a town with a decent library in almost 15 years. I’d forgotten how much I love them.

    5 – The reason I wanted to go to the library was I found out Friday night that Armistead Maupin had a new book…Michael Tolliver Lives. I’ve already read half of it. It’s wonderful!

    I can’t think of #6 & #7 right now, but I’m having a good week, so that’s all that matters, right? Jules – I’m loving the Alligator King clip, it was one of my favorites. Now I have to watch the Ladybug Picnic!

    Have a great week, y’all…

  10. My big kick for the week was working at the library book sale and spending as much time chatting as shelving. I ran into so many friends there. I found some early chapter books for Junior. One came recommended from a friend who remembered it from her childhood: The Celery Stalks at Midnight, by James Howe.

  11. What a happy little (big!) bear!

    Awww! I see KITTENS!

    The past week flew by.

    1) I trained new folks at work, and everyone seems to be getting along very well. We did a whole lot of work.
    2) I worked all day yesterday on a new site.
    3) I treated myself to one of my favorite kinds of bread at the grocery store yesterday.
    4) I am updating half a dozen client sites today.
    5) Last week, I posted one new author interview every weekday, and I plan to do the same this week.
    6) Rehearsals are going well!
    7) I celebrated yesterday, which would have been Twinkie’s 22nd birthday.

  12. Hello Friends!
    I so missed you all last week. Emmaco, I submitted my dissertation 13 years ago, and I still remember that day with satisfaction. Treat yoursefl to something really nice! Eisha, I hope the move goes well. I’m so jealous of all you folks buying tickets to the kidlit conference. I will be at a conference through Friday and can’t seem to make a reasonably priced connection to Chicago, though I am still trying.
    Okay, on to my short list.
    1. I spent two fantastic weeks with a group of amazing teachers doing math every day.
    2. I am researching a project on books for math instruction and received a huge box of books in the mail. I LOVE getting new books.
    3. Finally replaced the digital camera I broke in Tibet. The new one is nice and was much cheaper than the one I trashed.
    4. Had a short but lovely visit with my sister in-law this week.
    5. Fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden. Yum!

    Have a great week all!

  13. This go-round’s list needs a special name like… kickosity or kickical or… got it! major kickage!

    1. Crawled out of my comfort zone and actually went out, across the water, and had a great time hanging with Eisha, her husband, and crew. Honestly, this should count for more than one item on the list, so if I fall short than this will pick up the slack. I only wish it wasn’t both hello and good-bye.

    2. I still get a huge kick when other bloggers (and blog readers) really dig something I’ve done. You never can tell what’s gonna click with people and I was happy folks dug both “The Wussy Boy Manifesto” and my highlighting of “The Crows of Pearblossom”. Okay, that’s another kick that counts for more than one.

    3. This will sound weird, and maybe a little gross, but I finally got over my fear of shellfish and crustaceans this week. No, it’s not a phobia, but a little over a year ago I made a paella that was great the night I made it but punished me the next day when I reheated the leftovers for lunch and laid myself out with some food poisoning. I made up for it four-fold this week with no adverse effects. I do love shrimp, and scallops, and I was afraid I’d never be able to go back.

    4 & 5. As a break from her Bar review, my wife suggested we spend a day at the movies. We haven’t gone out to see a movie in a theatre in for-ev-er. And we say POTC 3 and Ocean’s 13, so that was two three-quels.

    6. My eldest and I have been working out a new board game, a chess variant with fantasy pieces, and this week a final element brought the whole thing together. She’s at a sleep-away drama camp and we’re playing a distance game via email and so far it looks like it’s working out. We joked before about sending it out to a game company but part of me thinks this could really work. Like I need another project in my life.

    7. See # 1 and #2

  14. Nancy, I KNOW! Isn’t that illustration great? I can’t wait to see the final product, the final book in September . . . your list is great, Nancy. I have family who live in Maine. It’s gorgeous up there. Have fun on your trip, and, yes, please do report back.

    Michele, sorry about the migraine. Have you ever figured out what triggers them?

    HI, TRACY! I’ve missed you! . . . Mmm, couscous . . . I’ve never read Armistead Maupin and will have to add to my to-be-read pile, as I trust your taste . . . yes, after watching “The Alligator King” this week, my daughters and I got online (good ‘ol YouTube) and also watched “The Ladybug Picnic” and classic “Muhna Muhna” sketches, which made them hee-haw laugh. “The Ladybug Picnic,” I read this morning, is also Bud Luckey singing.

    Susan, one of my favorite memories of working as librarian at the Tennessee School for the Deaf (pre-K to 12 — whew!) was “reading” James Howe’s Bunnicula to a middle school class. I put reading in quotes, ’cause it was the teacher reading while I interpreted it into ASL. Hard, but fun. That was their story time at their library visit — kickin’ back in some chairs and watching me hand-flap the story for them. Fun.

    Little Willow, your interviews are like no other’s. And good bread . . . mmmmm.

    Tricia, I do hope you can make it to Chicago. And tomatoes and basil . . . mmmmm.

    David, I’m insanely jealous that you hung with Eisha and her husband. I have known Brian just as long as I’ve known Eisha, and I’d love to have a beer with him (and Eisha, of course) right now — or any time. David, your list is particularly kick-ass, I must say.

    Thanks for visiting, everyone. Let’s all wish Eisha luck with packing and moving. Wait, we’re supposed to say “p***ing,” since that’s a Bad Word to her right now.

  15. Okay, technically I’m on blog vacation as of 12:01 a.m. this morning, but p***ing sucks so bad I have to take a break.

    So, hello everyone! I’m glad you’re all having such kicky weeks.

    David, I caught the kickiosity/kickage reference. Very nice.

    Right, the husband’s giving me the evil eye. Back to the boxes…

  16. Eisha, SO happy you’re coming to the conference! Tricia, I had no idea you were considering it. Come! Same to any and all of you–COME!

    Emma, big, big, BIG congratulations on turning in your thesis! That must have felt like passing a stone. (Am I allowed to say that here?)

    Sara, congratulations on finishing your second book!! Lots of writers can start books, but not finish them. What an accomplishment.

    Jules, you’re so full of it. “Daniel Craig is so good.” What you mean is Daniel Craig is so hot, and you know it. He was “good” in Sylvia. Casino Royale is in a whole other manflesh category.

    Jone and Nancy, I saw the new HP movie, too, and I wish it were twice as long so they could have fit in more of the book. But still, I’m with you that I’m glad I saw it. Wouldn’t miss any of those.

    Michele, you know you secretly want to set aside two days to read the new HP straight through. Don’t act so casual. You know it’s an important part of all of our lives.

    Little Willow, Happy Birthday to Twinkie! And it’s so nice to hear that you’re on stage and having fun. We should all get to express ourselves the way we like best.

    Everyone else, love to read your lists, but gotta go attend to a few things so I can go see Sicko this afternoon. Carry on!

  17. Ha! Robin, I was going to call Jules on her Daniel Craig feint, but you did it better. I was actually trying to NOT think about him at all, so I could work today!

    Thanks for tracking down the singer, jules. Cool that Matt Phelan knew who it was.

    David: very interesting sounding game. I’m so curious. You’d better give updates.

  18. HA, Robin. Okay, Daniel Craig is seven kinds of handsome in that movie. How’s that? And, wait . . . THAT is Daniel Craig in Sylvia? I had not made that connection.

    Let us know how “Sicko” is.

  19. Can’t tell you how Sicko was, because we were siting there with the previews about to come on, when my husband suddenly said, “I can’t take serious right now.” So we did something I never do because I always think I’ll get in trouble for it, and we switched theaters and saw Knocked Up instead. And boy, was that a fun time at the movies. Highly recommend it. Especially if you’ve ever had a baby crowning or anything, which I haven’t, but now I know everything.

  20. Sorry, that’s “sitting,” not “siting.” Still upset about the crowning, apparently.

  21. Sara, you are welcome, and thank you!

    Jules, twelve-grain bread = good times.

    Robin, thank you. She’s the best audience I’ve ever had.

    I’ve never seen a Daniel Craig picture, though I recently saw his sketch with Catherine Tate (she in character, he as himself) and I may have seen his episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The point of this ramble is that Mr. Craig is in The Golden Compass, and that is one movie I must see.

  22. Robin, back in ’04, when my husband and I had our very first date-out since having our screamy, rather collicky, god-love-‘er firstborn (who’s now not so screamy), we went and saw the ultra-serious “Fahrenheit 911” (Michael Moore), and we thought, ‘uh, why did we do that?’ There’s a place for that, but we really needed to see something more light-hearted then.

    THAT’S RIGHT, Little Willow — I forgot! . . . Daniel Craig is also in the upcoming “Golden Compass,” as well as his Bond co-star Eva Green. Oooh, I can’t wait.

  23. Love the Aligator King! I believe Bud Luckey also did Ladybug Picnic and 10 Tiny Turtles (both played with three chords!).

    Let’s see if I’ve got 7 kicks in me:

    1) Three storytelling gigs.
    2) $$ for all of them.
    3) Lilies out front opened up.
    4) Sunflowers opened up.
    5) Berries at the farmer’s market.
    6) Jules is my new penpal.:)
    7) Melendy Family quartet in hardback.

  24. Jules – too many hours spent staring at the computer is the trigger for me with migraines – that and stress…

    Robin – 2 days ? Are you kidding me ? I’m not wasting two days on THAT book ! I’ll have read it by dinner time on Saturday so I can get back to the Whoniverse… (Mind you, it’s my Blog discussion group book in August and September so I’ll then spend 2 months talking about it (off and on) ! And please do come over everyone to participate in that (assuming you’ve finished it !) as I’m expecting a really intense discussion !

  25. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the congrats! And I am still both scared and excited about the move, Jules. With less than a week till we’re out of our unit I’m joining Eisha in making p***ing a dirty word. But once we’re out I think I can focus on the excitement!!

  26. I am so late, but WOOO, EISHA IS GOING TO CHICAGO!!! WOOOO!!!!!

    This is very good news.

  27. The Golden Compass photographs at IMDb

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