Archive for October, 2009

Long overdue

h1 Friday, October 30th, 2009

“So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night!”Hi there. I’ve had something I needed to say to ya’ll for a while, so please bear with me for a bit.

I am officially resigning from 7-Imp, and henceforth this here blog is solely the property and responsibility of one Ms. Jules Kick-Ass Take-Names Danielson.

Really, I’m just stating the obvious here. For months, nay, years now I’ve barely contributed any content beyond the occasional Poetry Friday post and the weekly 7 Kicks. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and priority-rethinking lately, and the fact is this: I’m in a very different place than I was three years ago when we started this endeavor. My current job doesn’t really lend itself to keeping up with the latest in children’s lit. And… I’m okay with that. I didn’t expect to land on the career path I’m taking now, but I LIKE it. And I don’t expect it to change any time soon.

My only regret is how much I’ll miss all of you guys. Jules, I know, will be my best friend forever and ever. And while I’ll miss having this shared adventure with her, I think we’ll still have plenty to talk about. But I will sorely miss this community of readers and bloggers and writers and such who I’ve come to think of as another family. So, I’ll try to keep in touch, reading your blogs and checking in with you on all our other online hangouts.

Thanks, everyone, for everything. Further up and further in!

Name That Book

h1 Thursday, October 29th, 2009

(Click to enlarge spread.)

I’ll be back next week with a continuation of this post, the Men of Children’s Lit and What They’re Up to Now (my unofficial title). Instead, I’m making a quick art-and-poetry stop today with some spreads from J. Patrick Lewis’ new title, Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (Chronicle Books, August 2009). Lewis, on each page, is riddling us, quizzing children—and children’s lit aficionados—on children’s titles: “Her hair’s the stairs,” pictured above, is my favorite one. With answers listed in the back, you’ve got Charles Perrault’s Cinderella; Charlotte’s Web (“Do you know this spider, / this spiderweb writer?…”); Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (“Toy / boy / cries, / lies. / Nose / grows.”); and Doreen Cronin’s Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (“No bedding? No butter. / No blankets? No udder.”)… Plus much more. This is for delighting and challenging the bookworm children in your lives. Or riddle-lovers. (Hey, I live with a five-year-old, learning the art of knock-knock jokes and riddles. It’s painful sometimes. She’s even fond now of saying “Get it? DOUBLE GET IT?!” for jokes that are hardly jokes. Ah, it’s a challenge, this learning-of-wordplay. She’ll get there.)

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Seven Questions (Or So) Over Sunshine Snack
with Angela and Tony DiTerlizzi

h1 Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Dude. I have to say I’ve wanted to interview award-winning author/illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi for yeeeeears now. I like his books; I really like his art; and I like it pretty much whenever he speaks. (Really, have you explored yet the videos at his web site? Big fun.) So, I’m happy he’s made it by this morning for breakfast. He and his wife, Angela—who are pictured above (and whose glasses I covet somethin’ fierce)—have recently collaborated on a new series of titles for the wee’est of children, called Adventure of Meno. These books, which make me laugh (and whose series was launched this month by Simon & Schuster), are about none other than an elf. A toddler elf. A toddler SPACE elf. Whose best friend is a jellyfish. And who says things like “sunshine snack” for breakfast and “moo juice” for milk. (There’s even a “happy fun bowl” in Book Two, which brings to mind probably my VERY FAVORITE Saturday Night Live commercial parody EVER, but I seriously digress.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #138, Halloween-Style: Featuring Howard McWilliam and Pascal Lemaitre

h1 Sunday, October 25th, 2009

“‘Listen, Herbert, I’m sorry. I just don’t think this is going to work. It’s nothing personal, but I really need a monster with claws.’ ‘Picky, picky,’ Herbert complained. ‘As you wish. I’ll go.’ There was some more creaking. Then Herbert was gone.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Jules: How funny is that illustration? I love it.

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Up and Out with Lane Smith and David Ezra Stein

h1 Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

“Princess Hyacinth floated. Unless she was attached to something, or weighted down, she just floated—up, up, up.”
(Click to enlarge.)

You all know I like to shine the spotlight on up-and-coming illustrators here at 7-Imp, but I also like to keep up with some of my favorites. So, I went asking for some spreads from new titles to share with you — from folks whom I’ve previously interviewed or otherwise featured here at the blog. That includes Lane Smith, Sean Qualls, David Ezra Stein, Adam Rex, Matthew Cordell, Steve Jenkins, and more. Heaven help me, I keep adding to the list, too, and somehow it’s become The Men of Children’s Lit series of posts. Anyway. I’m going to break this up into a few posts, starting today with Lane Smith and David Ezra Stein. I’m talkin’ a quick stopping-in here to simply summarize their in-one-way-or-another fabulous new titles and then let the art speak for itself.

First up: Lane Smith, who stopped by 7-Imp during August of last year. In that interview, Lane said:

I am working on a book with my idol, Florence Parry Heide… It’s about a princess who floats. It’s called Rescuing the Princess. I wrote to Florence nearly twenty years ago to tell her how much I loved the Treehorn books that she did with Edward Gorey. It’s taken us all this time to finally collaborate. Better late than never. It will be out in 2009.

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Adam McCauley

h1 Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Adam McCauley. Photo credit: Bart Nagel.

Seven Reasons I’m Happy to Welcome Illustrator Adam McCauley
to 7-Imp Today for a Breakfast Chat:

1). I think Adam is one of the most exciting contemporary illustrators at work, quite frankly, and I enjoy following his career. His answer to a question posed to him (in this October interview) about what inspires him pretty much sums up his appeal for me:

Making light of the darker things, allowing the strange and ridiculous in the front door whenever possible. Avoiding trends, like antlers and ironic bunny rabbits. Making it personal.

2). The illustrations for Vivian Walsh’s new picture book, June and August (Abrams, September 2009):

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #137: Featuring Mélanie Watt

h1 Sunday, October 18th, 2009

At the risk of sounding like Grumpy Old Man in a Series #7,000, I have to say that I pretty much loathe how children today are targeted as consumers at such very young ages. Though I limit the amount of time my children sit in front of the television screen, I actually don’t have a problem with storytelling (done well and in moderation) via the medium of television or DVD; it’s the commercials that I DO NOT want them to see. My husband taught our girls to say, at very young ages, “commercials are for suckers.” This would be why I’m happy to share some illustrations today from Mélanie Watt’s newest picture book, Have I Got a Book for You!, in which Mr. Al Foxword, one very insistent salesman, tries just about everything to get you to buy his book already.

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Poetry Friday One Day Early: A Chat with Denise Doyen In Which Her Thoughts on the Ability of Children to Understand Sophisticated Texts Makes Me Quite Happy

h1 Thursday, October 15th, 2009

“A riskarascal in repose, / A mouse who stopped—to smell a rose. / ‘You there! Jam Boy!’—now he knows / His name, bestowed in front of all. / ‘You brought our scamper to a drag! / Dropped preycautions, raised a flag!’ / Jam shrugs, he laughs, mouse-scallywag, / Brags, ‘I’m not a-scared of anything.'”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Yeah. Whew. That’s a long post title, but I enjoyed this conversation with debut picture book author Denise Doyen so much that I wanted to get your attention. Denise—who studied creative writing, poetry, design, and film direction and who directed children’s television for Disney—recently went back to school to focus on writing for children. Her first title—Once Upon a Twice (Random House, August 2009 — cover below), illustrated by the-seven-kinds-of-fabulous Barry Moser—is a cautionary tale (about both the hubris, or “furry overconfidence,” of a young mouse named Jam Boy and the dangers of the night) in the grand tradition of nonsense verse (“clever nonsense words and rhyming verse reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky,'” the publisher likes to say). And it’s dark (in regards to both dramatic action and Moser’s lush, richly-dark palette — “a marvel of nighttime beauty,” writes Publishers Weekly) and eerie and beautiful and begs to be read aloud. Or, if you’re Kirkus, it’s “deliciously inventive,” possessing “fresh, inventive wordplay and masterful illustrations.”

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Saying Goodbye to Tilly and Her Friends
and the Little Yellow House

h1 Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

“She even CRUNCHED and MUNCHED on the sofa.”
(From Doodle Bites. Click to enlarge spread.)

Regular 7-Imp readers may know of my deep and abiding love for British illustrator Polly Dunbar’s work. There’s been this post and this interview and this post and Penguin (I love that penguin and the blue lion who eats Ben for being too noisy)…and oh-so much more.

You may also remember this Sunday post from February of this year in which we met Tilly and her friends: This is a terrifically charming series of books for the wee’est of toddlers. Not a sticky-sweet kind of charming either. (You know I won’t steer you toward the Sticky Sweet.) And they’re funny. And the characters—Tilly and her friends, Doodle, Tiptoe, Pru, Hector, and Tumpty, who all live together in a little yellow house—will settle themselves quite comfortably into the lives of young children. This I know from experience with my own.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #136: Featuring Il Sung Na

h1 Sunday, October 11th, 2009

“Some make lots of noise when they sleep.”
(Click image to enlarge. Really. The details are lovely.)

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on 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.

I’m keeping the feature this week simple, since it’s been a busy weekend. See that sleepy elephant up there? I’m in need of his sleep, I think. But the busy-ness is the good kind of busy. More on that in my kicks.

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