Mordicai Gerstein: A Tribute

h1 September 26th, 2019    by jules


Over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott today, we pay tribute to author-illustrator Mordicai Gerstein, whose death we learned about this week.

That is here.

I think I’ll find my copy of Applesauce Season — my favorite book for autumn, which he illustrated for Eden Ross Lipson — and spend some time with it. Not to mention the exquisite The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Gerstein’s legacy is a very tall stack of lovingly crafted picture books.

My condolences to Gerstein’s family.

“You know that book about a family who
eats breakfast in the shower and the mom
wears a dress that’s made out of live chickens?”

h1 September 24th, 2019    by jules

As I’ve made clear before here at 7-Imp, I’m a fan of Abby Hanlon’s Dory Fantasmagory books. I think Abby taps into something real (and often quite poignant) with these books; in the hands of a lesser author, Dory’s antics would be altogether cloying. But Abby seems to know how to write about childhood in a way I think is authentic. She depicts children as they are — in all their glorious weirdness, that is — and not in ways that an adult thinks they should be. (We see a lot of the latter in children’s books.) It’s hard to get books for this age right, and I think Abby gets it just right.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #656: Featuring Zachariah OHora

h1 September 22nd, 2019    by jules

See that guy on the right? That’s Reuben of Troop 73, and he’s not the most self-aware dude. He is, in fact, the king of false accusations. He’s peed his pants, blames it on everyone else, and never really comes to understand that it’s his own doing. In fact, in the end he blames his pants. (“Thanks for nothing, leaky broken pants! Making me blame all my super great friends.”)

This is the story of Bob Shea’s Who Wet My Pants? (Little, Brown, September 2019), illustrated by Zachariah OHora. Child readers looooove to be one-up on the protagonist in a story. They’ll recognize that Reuben has — heaven bless him, it happens to the best of us — had an accident yet can’t accept it. He’d rather play the blame game, which … hey, it’s a tempting thing for even the non-narcissistic among us. Read the rest of this entry »

JooHee Yoon’s Up Down Inside Out

h1 September 20th, 2019    by jules

“People in glass houses should not throw stones.”
(Click to enlarge)

I always like to see what author-illustrator JooHee Yoon is up to. (Remember when she first visited 7-Imp back in 2011?) Coming to shelves in early October (from Enchanted Lion Books) is Up Down Inside Out, in which Yoon takes a string of idioms and depicts them literally.

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The Hundred-Year Barn

h1 September 17th, 2019    by jules

(Click to enlarge spread)

I’m sending you to BookPage today for my review of Patricia MacLachlan’s The Hundred-Year Barn (Katherine Tegen Books, September 2019), illustrated by Kenard Pak. That is here, and then if you want to come back here to 7-Imp Land, I’ve some spreads from the book today.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #655: Featuring Guojing

h1 September 15th, 2019    by jules

Those of you who follow picture books closely may remember this 2015 publication, The Only Child. Named one of the New York Time’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books for that year, it was created by author-illustrator Guojing. She’s back with a new wordless book (Schwartz & Wade, September 2019), called Stormy, the story of a stray dog who finds a new home.

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Raina Telgemeier’s Guts

h1 September 13th, 2019    by jules


Hello! For just a moment anyway.

I’m sending you to the Horn Book’s site today for a review I wrote of Raina Telgemeier’s newest graphic novel for children, Guts (Graphix, September 2019). The review is here, and the book? It’s good stuff.

Until Sunday . . .

Lucy Knisley on Kid Gloves

h1 September 11th, 2019    by jules

Author and comics artist Lucy Knisley has written (and drawn) candidly about many stages of her life — her childhood as the daughter of a chef and gourmet (Relish, published in 2012); her trip abroad to Europe/Scandinavia as a single woman (An Age of License: A Travelogue, published in 2014); her marriage to her partner (Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride, published in 2016); and more. And I’m there, so totally there, for these comics memoirs; I hope she continues to document every stage of her life. (As someone there now myself, I’ll be eager to read her take on middle age’hood.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #654: Featuring Daniel Egnéus

h1 September 8th, 2019    by jules

I am happy to see a new picture book illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, who has illustrated two of my favorites this year (see here and here). This is Wendy Meddour’s Grandpa’s Top Threes (Candlewick, September 2019), and it a moving look at grief — and how it affects a child and his grandparent. It was evidently first published in the UK as Tibble and Grandpa.

“Henry was talking,” the book opens. “But Grandpa was gardening. Again.” I love this. We see young Henry on the verso; it appears that he is expounding in great detail on one topic or another, finger in the air as if to accentuate his point. On the recto, there is Grandpa. Yes, he’s gardening, but he seems lost in thought. Or maybe just lost.

Henry asks his Mom why Grandpa is always gardening, to which she tells him: “Just give him some time.” Henry fails to reach his Grandpa — until, that is, he engages him in the top three game. “What are your top three sandwiches?” he asks him one day. Grandpa’s face lights up a bit. Then they discuss their top three jellyfish, trains, and days-out. The latter is Grandpa’s idea, asking his grandson what he’d like to do that day. (“The zoo. The swimming pool. The park,” Henry exclaims.)

The life seems to be seeping back into Grandpa, thanks to his ebullient grandchild, filled with joy and a bustling energy. It is when Henry asks Grandpa who his “top three Grannies” are that it is revealed Grandpa is mourning the loss of his wife. (See the spread below.) It is a deeply felt moment, tender and restrained.

Meddour writes with a delightful specificity: Henry’s answers to the top three game are detailed, often funny, and reveal much about his personality. She succinctly captures Grandpa’s grief (“Grandpa made a little grunty noise”). Read the rest of this entry »

Picture Books, Picture Books, and More Picture Books

h1 September 5th, 2019    by jules


Ready to talk about picture books?

Head this way. . . .