Jules: ARE YOU READY TO ROCK, Y’ALL?!!! Okay, that was nerdy, but we’ve already established I’m a punk-hole. Moving right along then . . .
We’re ready to rock here at 7-Imp, because author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has stopped by for our kicks this week, and he brought along some illustrations from his new book. You may have seen our co-review from this week of the Punk Farm sequel, Punk Farm on Tour (to be released in October by Knopf Books for Young Readers). In that co-review we also announced Jarrett’s creation of the new Punk Farm Space site, which you must go see if you’re also a Punk Farm fan.
Eisha and I have made it clear many times before here at 7-Imp (such as here, here, here, here, here, and here — whew) that we’re fans of Punk Farm and Krosoczka’s other books as well, so needless to say, we’re excited and it’s been rather like Punk Farm Week here at our site.
The illustration at the top is Punk Farm backstage at their recent concert in Maine (Sheep has just figured out what song to perform first for the eager crowd, having been inspired by their tour van), and the illustration below it is right after the show. The gang’s ready to roll and head out to their next gig in Florida, but Pig asks them to hold up just a bit. (Fame is getting to Pig just a bit in this new title). There are two more illustrations from the book at our co-review. Here’s what Jarrett had to say about the illustrations and the new book:
“In Punk Farm on Tour, the band loads up their instruments and travel the country. Their first show is in Maine, where they play to moose, raccoons, deer, and various other animals that are indigenous to that area. I spent months researching the animals – drawing from photos and by spending time in nature labs, drawing from the real things! I had a lot of fun creating these various background characters. I hope you like them, because Punk Farm has a few stops on their tour and there are tons of animals in the book!”
Many thanks for stopping by, Jarrett, and for sharing the art work!
By way of explanation for any new folks (who we hope will leave their lists), our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing 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.
1). The new issue of The Horn Book (“Boys and Girls”) totally delivers in every way — all those fabulous essays on gender from John Green’s essay (“I think I was about ten when I began to hate the Hardy Boys. I didn’t hate the books. I hated the actual Hardy boys, as people. As I followed them through their minor perils, I kept wishing they would die” — you can read it all here) to Lisa Yee’s essay to M.T. Anderson’s “Coloring Dinosaurs” to Gregory Maguire’s “Promotion” to Janice Harrington trying to kiss her elbow (which you can read here) to Brian Selznick’s story about being asked by a kid if he’s part man and part woman (which you can also read here!) to Emily Jenkins’ Peter Pan musings and every. little. other. word. in. between. The very best part, though, is Jon Scieszka telling Roger Sutton in his interview: “It would be horrible to divide things up into chick lit and — can we say this in the Horn Book? — dick lit.” You see, my husband teases me about not reading “his books” and he teases me about the phrase “chick lit,” because he knows I detest it. And he actually — jokingly — said “dick lit” during a conversation once about this very topic, and I almost choked on my food from laughing. Great minds think alike, huh? You can listen to the interview here.
I also love how Scieszka said: “Of course, not everybody has to read really well, because I think we also tyrannize kids by saying everybody has to love reading; reading is magic.” I love that, because I always try to be careful about that kind of attitude around children. Even though I love reading and do think it’s magic, not all children will, and that doesn’t make them losers. When I interned in library school, I kept finding myself irritated with those “readers are leaders”-type signs hanging all over schools, and I couldn’t figure out why. My husband said, “because it’s not necessarily always true. Lots of forty-five-year-old science fiction geeks still live in their parents’ basement.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that; we just need to stop talking about reading as if it’s going to make every child an Insta-CEO . . . “Just add water and a book — poof! Top executive!”) . . .
Shoot, that could have been its own post. Sorry. Just go get the latest issue and read it already.
2). This video from Feist, whose new CD is excellent. For about the first two seconds of this video, I wasn’t so sure. Then I just started smiling, what with all the slick videos out there of barely-clad anorexics and their fancy-schmancy dance moves and crotch-grabbing (yep, I’m channeling Grumpy Old Man again). These people, though, are having some damn fun, that’s what they’re doing. All their whooping and hollering and clapping in their festive clothes. I was in a foul mood before I saw it and then I was dancing ’round the kitchen. Really. It doesn’t hurt that the song is GREAT.
5). Wanna see some poetry in the air? I’m a bit partial to ASL myself, but, man, this just rocks. It’s a Quidditch match as conveyed in American Sign Language. Really, you don’t have to know ASL to understand it, as his poem is mostly comprised of what are called classifiers, or ways of showing shapes and movement in ASL (or, if you’re a nerd: classifiers move through the signing space to iconically represent the actions of their referents). And this is hard to explain, but each sign begins with a letter of the alphabet, and he goes from A to Z (it’s a particular kind of ASL poem, and it’s especially clever how his last one is “Z” for Harry’s scar). This poem is short. And awesome. And, hey, you don’t have to turn up the volume. At first, the man is signing “An ASL Poem: Harry Potter and Quidditch.” That’s all you need to know. Then, just watch him go. (Thanks to my fellow interpreter friend, Judith, for the link!) . . .
6). Seeing Wishing Chair Productions at the Nashville Public Library perform their 65-minute marionette production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As this write-up puts it (and you can see some of the puppets at that article), Puck looked like a cross between a hedgehog and a chicken. But it was one of the best Pucks I’ve ever seen, all whirling across the stage with his puppeteer in charge. I know that, as a former theatre practitioner, I’m supposed to be all jaded with that oft-performed script, but I still think it’s one of the best.
7). Last but not least, Scott Magoon sent me and my girls an autographed copy of The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating by Alice Weaver Flaherty and illustrated by him (Houghton Mifflin; September 2007; remember when we featured Scott last June and got a sneak peek at the book then?). Best of all, he addressed the book to “Princess Piper and Ada,” Princess Piper being the name my oldest sometimes insists we call her. What a treat that was to receive in the mail!
Now, I know my kicks are long enough here, but let me add that I already had a library copy of this book and was diggin’ it — and was planning on reviewing it (I would think our readers would trust by now that I wouldn’t praise a book just ’cause I got it as a gift, but moving right along . . .). It really is a fun and clever story — part tall tale, part cautionary tale, and part pourquoi tale — about a young American girl’s picky eating habits and how they transform a small worm into the famous Loch Ness monster. And it has quite the tongue-in-cheek humor. And it’s even a bit tender and sweet, but not nauseatingly so. Best of all, Scott’s illustrations — in a palette of lots of browns and sea-water green-greys — are delectable, unlike the dreaded oatmeal of protagonist Katerina-Elizabeth. He really has fun with perspective in this one, too, and he makes that monster downright endearing. Flaherty includes a picky-eater/Supertaster test for children at the close of the book (“John Lee Supertaster” by They Might Be Giants, anyone?!). And it passed the Kid Appeal Test — at least in this household — with flying colors, too. Very fun. And I always look forward to each new Magoon-illustrated book; Eisha and Adrienne and I are (very slowly) working on a list of The Best Demented Picture Books (that’s a compliment coming from us), and the fabulous Ugly Fish, illustrated by Scott, will be on there for sure. And, look! His site says his next book in ’08 will be Rabbit & Squirrel: A Tale of War and Peas (written by Kara LaReau, who also wrote Ugly Fish). Hoo ha!
Eisha had a super busy Saturday (and one or two pina coladas on a Saturday night, a good reason not to make it to the kicks list!), but I’m sure she’ll leave her kicks in the comments. Maybe I can have a pina colada with her in Chicago! It’ll be here before we know it, you guys . . . How about you all? What are your kicks this week?