7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #33: Featuring Leslie McGuirk

h1 October 21st, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

TUCKER’S SPOOKY HALLOWEEN. Copyright © 2007 Leslie McGuirk. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule}

Jules: It’s almost Halloween, and here’s a festive illustration for you all from Leslie McGuirk’s new title, Tucker’s Spooky Halloween. This one’s about a very determined and rather risk-taking dog who wants to scare the pants off you already this Halloween instead of being dressed up all cutesy-like, as his devoted owner would have it. My wee daughters are drawn to this book like they are drawn to their safety scissors and cutting up the closest piece of paper they can find into tiny, miniscule, barely-perceptible bits of paper that are then strewn all over the kitchen floor and that are infuriatingly difficult to find and then they start over with the next available piece of paper in their vicinity and . . . wait. Where was I? Yes, they really like this book.

Here’s what Leslie had to say about the book:

Tucker was my real life West Highland White Terrier. He deserves to be a famous book character because he was truly a magical dog. Now I live with two Norfolk Terriers and one “Gremlin” Terrier. They are my current models. I love watching them play, sniff, walk, and express their emotions through their eyes and tails. I think of doggie tails as being like little antennas. They register all feelings and display them for everyone to see. I literally have to say to myself, “How would Tucker move if he is thinking such and so?” Sometimes Tucker sticks out his little tongue to show displeasure. Other times his ears go way back. My artwork is very compact . . . just like Tucker’s little body. I think that is why children love my books. The art style is perhaps similar to the way they draw. Children can sense Tucker’s emotions in the drawings, and they can relate to those feelings.

With Tucker’s Spooky Halloween, I wanted to show Tucker’s “I can do anything” attitude. Halloween is such an important holiday for children. It is the only time of the year they can be something other than themselves. And there is power in wearing costumes and dressing up . . . especially if you find just the right costume! One of my favorite pages is the one where he tries to make himself into a ghost. It’s always a joy to draw Tucker and his impish ways. Just wait until you see what happens to him on St. Patrick’s Day! Lucky Tucker is coming in early 2008 by Candlewick Press.

Thanks to Leslie! Now on to our kicks . . .


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.

*******eisha’s kicks*******

1* Okay, well, remember that wedding I went to last Sunday? It was awesome. It was my first Jewish wedding, and they did the whole works just like I’ve always seen in movies, with the chupah (wedding canopy) and the ketubah (marriage contract), both of which were beautifully created by the bride’s mom; and the bride and groom circled each other (which I think is a lovely symbol) and stomped on the glass. And later people danced the hora and put the bride and groom on chairs and lifted them up in the air. It was so fun. There was even a pinata for the kids (maybe because the bride was actually born in Peru? Or maybe just because? Who cares?).

I want a do-over on my own wedding.

2* Jules and I finished (we think) the final edits on a writing project we’ve been working on for months.

Billie Standish Was Here3* I finally read Billie Standish Was Here by Nancy Crocker, and it is every bit as good as Jules said it is. If you haven’t already, read it.

4* I seem to have passed the first hurdle in the application process for a job I’m trying to get, because they sent me a formal questionnaire with a lot of questions about my educational background. Woo!

5* The place where I’ve been temping passed its yearly audit. This is a very good thing, because if they hadn’t it could have been partly my fault, since I was organizing and filing a lot of the documentation they were checking for. And now that it’s over, everyone is a lot more relaxed.

6* They also told me I’ll probably be needed at least through early November.

7* This weekend B. and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary early, so I’m typing all this Saturday morning before we head out for a day of local attractions, such as the Book Barn of the Finger Lakes. ‘Cause seriously, we need more books.

*******Jules’ kicks*******

1). The Blogging for a Cure effort had a successful Week One. Excellent.

2). Robert Plant and Alison Krauss — yes, the two of them together — have a new CD, “Raising Sand,” coming out very soon. Now, though I think that Alison Krauss is loaded with talent and though I love bluegrass, I don’t normally buy her CDs. But I’ve heard some of this CD. It’s very good. Sounds like they’ve both stretched themselves musically. And they cover a BRAND NEW Sam Phillips song, “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” and it’s beautiful. Here is a video about the making of the CD with the two of them and the savagely, uber-talented T Bone Burnett, who produced it (so, damn, you know it’s good). The video’s over eight minutes long. You’d have to be really interested in this CD to watch it, but in case you are, here goes:

3). Interested in Appalachian children’s and YA lit? Look what my friend compiled for a grad school library science project. It’s a great resource.

4). The Brookeshelf is back in a new WordPress home!

5). An old-skool kids’ Halloween party (just like in Julius’ Candy Corn) with cupcakes (which make life better) and seeing my daughters dress up, though they didn’t end up wearing what they wanted to wear, due to wardrobe malfunctions. But they were so cute, I thought I’d eat them up. Just eat. them. up. Chomp.

6). Going to this pumpkin farm with my family on a cool Autumn day — and taking a hay ride, to boot.

7). Last, but not least, inviting a friend to guest-blog on Poetry Friday, and it was so great that I hope he wants to do it again one day.

What are your kicks this week? Do tell.

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #33: Featuring Leslie McGuirk”

  1. Eisha, Happy 8th Anniversary. My wedding was so lo-o-o-n-n-n-g ago. My husband and I got married the day before the first moon landing–that’s how long ago. Do you know what year that was???

    Jules, I used to love my family’s annual visits to a local apple orchard/farm at this time of year when my daughter was little. We’d spend lots of time selecting the perfect pumpkin.

    My Kicks of the Week? Let’s see.

    1. Blogging for a Cure got off to a great start because of all the hard work Jules did to organize everything. Bloggers in the kidlitosphere have been so supportive of my friend Grace Lin and Robert’s Snow.

    2. 7-Imp’s Poetry Friday guest blogger. I have to meet that man some day, Jules!!!
    Love the poem he posted that was written by Bill Brown.

    3. I saw the snowflake exhibit at the Child at Heart Gallery again! I went to the gallery with Grace and Janet Wong, two of my favorite people and children’s authors, and then we had dinner together.

    4. I spent last Monday with Grace and Janet. They critiqued one of my poetry manuscripts and gave me some good advice.

    5. Janet and Grace read one of my poems and suggested I used it as a starting point for a new collection. That got my writing juices going again.

    6. I met with a friend who is an elemenatry teacher and also writes poetry. He gave me some good suggestions, too.

    7. I bought three new poetry books. One is COLORS PASSING THROUGH US by Marge Piercy. The poems I’ve read in it so far have been awesome. Also got a collection by one of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska. Love her work!!! She deserved a Nobel prize.

    The Red Sox killed Cleveland on Saturday!!!

  2. Thanks, Elaine! So good to see you listing kicks again. Congrats on the valuable critiquing and encouragement for more writing you got. And getting new poetry anthologies is always a kick; I agree.

    And, yes, the pumpkin farm is so fun to visit every year. The face paintings and picking out the perfect pumpkin and the hay ride and all that. Who doesn’t love October?

    Oh, and yes, you’ll have to meet Shannon one day. Being in the same room with the two of you, just listening to the two of you have a conversation about poetry and teaching, would make me smarter, I think.

    p.s. My two new kicks are that a) the nightmare I had about my family and an awful, 911-esque catastrophe was just a dream and b) Peter McCarty’s snowflake from ’05, which I included in today’s post about Blogging for a Cure! So fabulous, and I love his understated comment about it.

  3. Happy Anniversary, Eisha! That wedding sounded beautiful. Love hearing about cultural traditions like that. Keeping my fingers crossed that you get the job you’re hoping for.

    Jules, you definitely are a superwoman, with all your tireless efforts to keep Bloggers for a Cure on track. Thank you so much! And I love pumpkin farms too! Never had stuff like that in Hawaii.

    My kicks today are actually from the last three weeks or so (can’t believe it’s been that long since I last checked in on a Sunday):

    1. Participating in Robert’s Snow: Bloggers for a Cure, seeing all the amazing snowflakes, visiting new blogs and reading all the fabulous features.

    2. Grace Lin blogging again. Her bunny slippers are back!

    3. Spending time with my family in Hawaii recently. Having my niece read aloud Diane deGroat’s Gilbert books. There is nothing I love more than the sound of a child’s voice reading a good book.

    4. Seeing “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont” for the first time. How did I miss this? Who doesn’t dream of having a new friend like Ludo really get you? I was sighing through the whole movie.

    5. Saw a woodchuck, a chipmunk, 4 deer, and a fox right outside our house. The deer were practically ringing the doorbell.

    6. Finishing Kerry Madden’s LOUISIANA’S SONG recently. The book is lyrical, touching, and beautifully crafted. I want to belong to the Weems family!

    7. Autumn. My favorite season. Period.

  4. Jules, Week 1 roicked. Thank you for your efforts. Isn’t Julius the best?
    Eisha, Happy aniversary.
    I will check out Wislawa Szymborska, Elaine.
    My kicks:
    1. Close to finishing Water for Elephants. Great read, and what a slice of life.
    2. Bought the new Skippyjon Jones book and it is fun, fun, fun.
    3. The 5th grade boy who ask me “What does library have to do with social studies?” in class.
    4. Got my post up about Susan Mitchell, one of by snowflake artists.
    5. Re-discovered ratatouille, yum.
    6. Showing my poetry kids ways to shape poems.
    7. Going to the AASL conference on Wed.
    Have a great week.

  5. You know they want you, eisha! Good luck! And jules: mmm, candy corn, cupcakes.

    1. My daughter was home for four days!
    2. Eating with her at our favorite Lebanese restaurant. I tried the okra stew. I don’t know the correct Lebanese name, but it was soooo yummy.
    3. Having her cook me a grilled cheese and pesto sandwich.
    4. Watching The Office together. Beets! I must be a Shrute. (Gulp.)
    5. My neighbor went above and beyond in helping me when I locked myself out of my house.
    6. My son brought a date over and they watched a scary movie and held hands. I tried not to look.
    7. The awesomeness that is Robert’s Snow.

  6. Hey, all! I’m actually coming in on the early side today. I hadn’t seen Julius’ Candy Corn, by the way (I don’t think), so I’ll keep a lookout for it.

    1) My first kick is on behalf of a.fortis at Finding Wonderland– Neil Gaiman acknowledged her existence (and her cartoon!): http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2007/10/hanging-on-telephone.html

    2) Thanks to Jules, I too am looking forward to the new Robert Plant/Alison Krauss cd. In the 1980’s, I had a huge crush on the 1970’s Robert Plant. It hasn’t really gone away.

    3) John Vanderslice playing “Time to Go” on the Fremont Bridge in Seattle with the bell clanging in time: http://barsukmusic.blaireau.net/johnvanderslice/video/TimeToGo_BridgeVersion.html

    4) The Who live playing “A Quick One While He’s Away”: http://youtube.com/watch?v=OjkGHn8_Z2c

    5) My new copy of Jane Cobb’s What’ll I Do With the Baby-o? is a fantastic resource and will bring some new rhymes and stories to my gigs this coming weekend.

    6) Eric Herman (musician and fellow blogger) came to dinner on Thursday, and we all had a really good time hanging out. He even played a few of his new songs for us.

    7) I got to meet up with a young guitar teacher Friday night and make exciting plans about future house concerts and neighborhood musical activities. So much of the musical scene goes on in the Western part of the city, and we need some of it in our neck of the woods, too!

  7. It’s been a while again since I was last here – sorry about that, but I’ve not been feeling terribly kick-worthy about anything except my mad fiction writing, and I figure you don’t want to be bored with my weekly word counts on mad Doctor Who fanfiction ! Plus which, my mum’s just been diagnosed with a form of pre-cancer in one breast, which coming on top of her brain tumour last year, is something of a blow…

    However, I heard today from Nancy at JourneyWoman that I’ve won a prize in her Pop Culture in High Culture contest and this has made me ridiculously happy, so I had to share !

  8. Michele,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I’ve gotten a lot of bad news from close friends and family since last December–and have missed out on several weeks of kicks this year. It’s hard to see friends and family going thorugh difficult times. My thoughts will be with you and your family. I send all my best wishes along to your mum.

  9. Jules,

    Oooooppps! There I go again misspelling a word: thorugh for through.

  10. Hey! I’m one of Jules’ “kicks”!

    And that, my friend, is definitely going to be one of my own kicks of the day. I’m so glad that people are reading and enjoying the blog. Thanks!

  11. Michele, I’m so sorry to read that about your mom/mum. My best wishes to you all. Thanks for visiting anyway — and for telling us. We’ve missed you. And, hey, I don’t mind reading about your fanfiction. It is your passion after all, and that’s part of what kicks are about.

    Jama, yes, isn’t it great that Grace is blogging again? And I also loved Madden’s book. I reviewed it here last week (well, here and at ForeWord Magazine).

    Jone, I love it when you talk about your library and students. They’re lucky to have you.

    Sara, great list. Congrats on having your daughter home for an extended time. And for managing not to look at the hand-holding. AW AW AW!!!!

    Alkelda, great news on the feedback from the guitar teacher and having dinner with Eric Herman. Woot! And I’ll have to check out the Gaiman link. I didn’t know that about a. fortis. Squee for her!

    Hi, Brooke! Yes, glad you’re back.

  12. Okay, I love Elaine, I truly do, but I was crying in my pillow last night. I am NOT a Red Sox fan. Enough said.
    It’s wonderful to be back reading everyone’s lists. Here are my kicks for the week.
    1. Snowflakes. Man, I need to win the lottery. There are just too many I’m crazy about. I can only commit to really bidding on one, lest my wallet begin to echo. However, I have sent my Christmas list to generous relatives, and a few snowflakes are on it. (NO, I’m not telling which ones!)
    2. I finished a 101 page, single-spaced report that has been hanging over my head for a very long time. What a relief.
    3. William is reading up a storm. I can’t say when it happened, but one day I noticed an amazing change. He even reads with inflection. This is great stuff. I can see why teaching first grade is appealing for so many folks. Reading really is magic.
    4. I made Jama Rattigan’s Sow’s Ear Apple Pancake for breakfast yesterday and it was awesome. Next time around I’m making it for dessert and serving it with vanilla ice cream.
    5. My wonderful administrative assistants took me to lunch Monday in honor of boss’ day, which was Tuesday. Who knew? They also gave me a “grown-up” book to read. Apparently my choices don’t live up to their expectations of me.
    6. Went to the Green Valley Book Fair and came home with a box full of books, including a lushly illustrated edition of Redwall (for William one day), The Looking Glass Wars, several books of poetry and Postcards from No Man’s Land.
    7. Snowflakes – again, because this whole event has been just amazing. I love learning about the illustrators each day. I have a whole list of new books I must have because of this!
    Have a terrific week every one.

  13. Elaine – thank you…

    Jules – passion ? Mad obsession more like ! My latest multi-chaptered story is up to 25,000+ words and counting !! (Only one more chapter to write, thankfully !)

  14. Oh darn, I hit that submit button too fast – meant to say thanks for your thoughts too, Jules.

  15. Good luck with the job Eisha! And best wishes for your mum Michele.

    My kicks for the week (tame despite having a good week):

    1. My sister got home safely
    2. There was ice on the car this week! Such a weird sight! (The strangeness of this is the kick)
    3. Accompanying the cold were clear sunny days, making the shock to the system much easier to bear (plus I got lots of washing dry without the dryer this weekend)
    4. Winter wheat is starting to come up in the fields as a green haze – I’m loving watching it grow
    5. We were registered as overseas voters in time for the announcement of the Australian election in November
    6. Today we went and visited Wimpole Hall (ie old stately home) in Cambridgeshire. It was really interesting and a great day out.
    7. And we joined the National Trust while we there so we can visit lots more cool places!

  16. Eisha, happy anniversary. Jr. turns 8 this week, too. ’99 was a great year! Michele, I send good wishes for a good recovery for your mom. Jules, Robert’s Snow is inspiring and impressive!

    My big kick of the week was reading Sherman Alexie’s YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Ooooh, boy, I highly recommend it. So funny.

  17. Tricia, man, what a good list. I love reading about all these illustrators, too. It’s really satisfying for picture book nerds like us. Congrats on getting that report done. I got a headache just reading about it.

    But then Michele wrote 25,000+ words, too, on her story. You all put us to shame.

    Emmaco, thanks for visiting again. Glad you’re getting settled in so well. You truly sound “at home.”

    Susan, I wanna read that book. Happy b’day to Junior!

  18. Wow, so much going on! Michele, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. That’s scary. Tricia, congrats on finishing the report–will we see you at choir this week? Eisha, Happy Anniversary! And, Jules, I can only echo everyone else’s amazement at all the work you’re doing for Robert’s Snow. Thanks!

    My kicks this week:

    1. My 10-yo is practicing guitar and I can actually recognize what he’s playing.

    2. Snowflakes!

    3. My column went up (a wee bit late; not my fault!) at Literary Mama. (It’s linked from the blog if anyone cares…)

    4. Fall cooking. The weather’s not quite cooperating with me but I don’t care.

    5. Got some new books this week. Need time to read them!

    6. Baseball! (I AM a Red Sox fan, so it’s been great. Plus, long games= more time for knitting)

    7. More snow flakes. I’ve got to go update my blog sidebar now…

  19. 1. Ditto Elaine (with apologies to Tricia) on joy over the Red Sox beating Cleveland (handily) last night. SO great!
    2. The Snowflake posts have been wonderful.
    3. I enjoyed reading Scott Westerfeld’s Extras this week.
    4. We went to Oktoberfest at a favorite restaurant Friday night, with friends, and had great food and great company.
    5. Last night we went to a winemaker’s dinner at a local winery where we’re members (Picchetti), where we again had great food, and met interesting people.
    6. And this is really enough for one week. I get to watch the Red Sox play Cleveland again shortly. Signing off…

  20. Eisha, Yay anniversary!

    Jules, I clearly have to go to a farm and get pumpkins. And also bake some Halloween cupcakes.

    Sara, Was the who/whom scene in The Office this week not the best thing EVER? I had to rewatch it five times, and I can’t bear to delete it off my DVR.

    My seven:
    1. I got the page proofs for my book this week, and I love the design!
    2. And I like the cover!
    3. And they even sent me the page with the CIP, so I have an LC number AND a Dewey number AND an ISBN!!!
    4. As if that weren’t enough, I did a presentation on homeschooling at a conference on Friday and didn’t throw up or anything.
    5. After the conference, Jason and I went to Niagara Falls and went to a couple of the haunted houses on Clifton Hill, which was way fun. We also watched The World’s Worst 3D Movie, which was surprisingly fun, considering.
    6. Tammy brought over dinner last night, and we hung out watching TV. So relaxing.
    7. Today was sunny and warm, and I got to spend lots of time outside. Ah, fall. 🙂

  21. 1. Reading everyone’s 7 kicks. Hard to stay blue when you get a load of all this up-ness.
    2. Saw two good movies this weekend — Ray and The Lives of Others.
    3. Sick six-year-old is less sick than she was on Friday.
    4. Traveling husband came home.
    5. We took the girls to see a stage show of High School Musical today and they were singin in the aisles.
    6. Austin Texas is positively swimming in good Mexican food.
    7. Here goes another week of SNOWFLAKES!!!!!

  22. Howdy, all! I’ve been away from the computer today as I caught up on non-fun housekeeping type stuff, but the payoff is a bunch of lists to read all at once!

    Elaine, I actually do know what year that was, because it’s in Billie Standish Was Here. And it sounds like you had a lovely time with two lovely ladies, Grace and Janet.

    Jama, that’s an impressive list of wildlife sightings! Aren’t foxes just so gorgeous in person? And deer?

    Jone, I hope you set that 5th grader straight – library has to do with EVERYTHING.

    Sara – AWW! They held hands? That’s so sweet! Also: yum to okra. And pesto. But not together.

    Akelda, I hadn’t seen that Neil Gaiman had acknowledged a.fortis’s cartoon – that’s freakin’ awesome. Maybe someday Robert Plant will do the same for you…

    Michele, I’m so very sorry to hear about your mum, and I wish you both all the best of luck. Also, if anyone deserves the Pop Culture in High Culture award, it’s you. Hands down.

    Yay, Brooke! We’ve all missed you. Congrats on the precious new baby!

    Tricia, my goodness, 101 pages?? That’s a novella! And congrats to William. Reading is powerful magic indeed.

    Emmaco, I love hearing about all the new stuff you’re discovering in your new home. Sounds lovely.

    Susan, 1999 was a good year indeed. And that book is nominated for a YA Fic Cybil, so hopefully I’ll get my hands on it soon!

    Libby, I hear ya on the weather. Although the leaves have dramatically started to change color here, it’s been ridiculously warm. I’m dutifully drinking my cocoa and making soup anyway.

    Jen, are you a winemaker? That’s so cool! I have fantasies about someday owning a little vineyard. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it, really, but that’s why it’s a fantasy.

    adrienne, super-major-congrats on the book. It must be such a relief to like the cover and design – it’s your baby, after all.

    Liz, glad your 6-year-old is feeling better. And yum-yum-yummy to good Mexican food.

  23. Also, a serious big-upps to Jules for the whole Blogging for a Cure effort. And I do mean effort. Jules, you are truly a wonder and an inspiration.

  24. Libby, ooo! oooh! I wanna read that Literary Mama post. Will go looking.

    Jen, my, you had a festive weekend. Awesome.

    Adrienne, I’m glad the book’s coming along the way you like it. That must be exciting to see. I can’t even imagine.

    Liz, glad the hubby’s home.

    Eisha, aw thanks, man.

  25. Hey, Libby’s write-up at Literary Mama is great. She was too humble, I suppose, to link it, but I’ll brag on her:

    Here it is!

  26. Okay, I have ONE MORE KICK: The Red Sox killed Cleveland…again!!!

    Sorry, Tricia–but the Sox are off to the World Series.

  27. Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their wishes for my mum – it’s much appreciated !

    And I’m so gleeful STILL about my win ! *grins*

  28. Jules, thanks for the link! I think I was more lazy than humble…

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