Archive for January, 2014

What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today

h1 Friday, January 31st, 2014

Whew. I’ve had my work cut out for me this week, given a big honkin’ book deadline.

But I’m nearing the finish line. I really am!

Today at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books (nonfiction’y in nature, but technically fiction — “nonfiction’y” is a precise term, don’t you know?).

And those would be Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s Weeds Find a Way, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher, and Clotilde Perrin’s At the Same Moment Around the World.

Perrin’s beautiful cover is pictured here.

That column is here.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll try to have art from both.

Until Sunday …

(Wow, this post really emphasizes what a tall thing Perrin’s book is. As someone who cares very much about my site’s design, this is making me kind of twitchy, but I’m done talking. Use the remaining white space here to fill in your own thoughts. Carry on, then.)

Hats Off to Brimsby …

h1 Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Well, yesterday’s ALA Youth Media Awards announcements were exciting. Onwards and upwards to 2014, yes?

On Sunday (here) I posted about Patricia Hruby Powell’s Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle Books, January 2014), illustrated by Christian Robinson, which is a terrific book and one of the first this year that makes me want to cheer.

Another new 2014 picture book that really sends me is Andrew Prahin’s Brimsby’s Hats (Simon & Schuster, February 2014), which I recently reviewed for BookPage. I love this book more and more every time I read it, and that’s saying a lot, ’cause I immediately fell for it. It’s really wonderful in many different directions, but I’ll just send you to the BookPage review. (I’m even opening this post with the cover image, which I don’t normally do, because I love it so.)

And then, if you’re so inclined, you can come back here, because Andrew shares some early sketches and final art from the book here at 7-Imp today. See below. I thank him.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #366: Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 Sunday, January 26th, 2014

This past week, a review I wrote for the wonderful folks at BookPage was included in a round-up of theirs, which you can read here. My contribution was a review of Patricia Hruby Powell’s Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle Books, January 2014), illustrated by Christian Robinson. What an excellent book this is. So, you can read all about it here, and today Christian, whose artwork gives me hope for the future of illustration, visits to share early cover designs, storyboards, and photos of some of his original art from the book. I thank him for sharing.

(As a reminder, Christian visited 7-Imp in 2012, and it’s still one of my favorite interviews.)

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Kadir Nelson

h1 Friday, January 24th, 2014

“Oh, I see. When I am lost, I climb a little higher so I can see all around.
Keep walking, Baby Bear. You are closer than you think. And sing a song—
it will make you feel better.

Thank you, dear Ram.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I wrote a little something in honor of the upcoming ALA Youth Media Awards. That link is here.

* * *

Today at 7-Imp, I’ve got some spreads (sans text) from Kadir Nelson’s Baby Bear, which I wrote about last week.

Some of the colors in these spreads are a bit off, at least according to my computer, which bums me out. I wish I could ensure accurate color reproduction on everyone’s computers, but this is the best I can do.

Enjoy the art! Read the rest of this entry �

Keeping Promises with Nicola Davies

h1 Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

I meet a lot of kids in my work, kids who have had various kinds of bad starts in life, and I wanted a story that says that a bad start doesn’t mean a bad end, change is possible, and taking power in your hands to change the world is possible”

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I have a chat with British picture book author and zoologist Nicola Davies. I’ve enjoyed her books over the years, and her newest, The Promise, illustrated by Laura Carlin, will be out from Candlewick in early March. This one isn’t nonfiction; it’s actually an adaptation of a short story, and it’s Carlin’s debut picture book. There is more at this link.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Nicola Davies used by permission of Candlewick Press.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

h1 Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

“Then she slurped some congee from the plastic bowl. ‘Mmm … just right!’
Before she knew it, she had eaten it all up.”

Meet Goldy Luck. She’s the protagonist of Natasha Yim’s Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, illustrated by Grace Zong and released by Charlesbridge this month. This is a retelling of the classic tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” — with a Chinese twist.

Goldy’s having a tough time, even though she was born in the Year of the Golden Dragon, a lucky year. In fact, it feels like her luck is always running out. For one, her best friend has moved away (as you can see in the illustration to the right here), and in general Goldy feels as if she just keeps making a mess of things. When her mother sends her next door to the Chans to deliver a plate of turnip cakes to wish them a Happy New Year, things go downhill — and her Goldilocks-esque adventure begins. These are panda bears, her neighbors — and it just may turn out in the end that big-hearted Goldy makes a new friend.

Many elements of Chinese culture are woven into the story, and the author closes with a note about the Chinese New Year and its rituals. Zong’s acrylic illustrations are bright and warm.

Here are some of them. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #366: Featuring Tomie dePaola

h1 Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Good morning, all. Here are some illustrations I intended to post last Friday, but I didn’t quite get them in time. These are from Lin Oliver’s Little Poems for Tiny Ears,
illustrated by Tomie dePaola (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 2014), which I wrote about at Kirkus last week. This is such a superb collection of poems for very young children, and dePaola’s art is so inviting. As I said, I wrote about it here, so you can read a bit more about it at that link, if you’re so inclined.

I’m happy to have some of the poems and art to share today.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Kyrsten Brooker and Melissa Sweet

h1 Friday, January 17th, 2014

From Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems,
selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

(Candlewick, March 2014)


Good morning.

Today over at Kirkus, I wrote about Kadir Nelson’s newest book, Baby Bear.

I COMPLEEEEETELY FORGOT that I’d recently read a wonderful Q&A over there about this book — Jennifer M. Brown chatting with Kadir, that is. Repeat after me: Welcome to the Department of Redundancy Department.

But at least Kirkus was nice about it and posted my column anyway.

So, what I suggest is that you read Jennifer’s Q&A. If you want to read my thoughts on the book, knock yourself out. Next week, I’ll follow-up with some art from Kadir.

* * *

Last week (here), I talked about new some new poetry picture book titles, and today I have some art from them. I didn’t manage to secure spreads in time from Lin Oliver’s wonderful Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (which is a really superb book). But if I get them later, I’ll amend this post.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Let’s Look at Some Art from Bryan Collier, Shall We?

h1 Thursday, January 16th, 2014

“And my papa, he tells me, ‘I love you.’
We share a game…KNOCK KNOCK.”

(Click to enlarge)

In the category of I Wrote About This Book at Kirkus Last Week But It Won’t Be the Same If I Don’t Also Share Some Spreads from the Book, I give you today some of Bryan Collier’s illustrations from Daniel Beaty’s KNOCK KNOCK: My Dad’s Dream for Me (Little, Brown, December 2013).

And that is all for now. (And P.S. I love the spread above so, so much.)

Enjoy the art. Read the rest of this entry �

I’ll Go with the Domestic Cat Myself …

h1 Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Chris Raschka: “I like the snail. You may find her (or him) a little ugly — too squishy. But all her life she works at her craft, adding to it day by day until, when she dies,
she leaves us something of great beauty.”

(Click to enlarge)

There’s a new “Eric Carle and Friends” book on shelves, and it’s called What’s Your Favorite Animal? (Henry Holt, January 2014). “Eric Carle and Friends” means that all the royalties from this book will go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (also known in Jules’ world as My Dream Job).

This book is simply fun—Eric Carle asked thirteen illustrators to weigh in on their favorite animal with an illustration and some thoughts—and it’d be a wonderful writing prompt in an elementary classroom or library. No overriding narrative here — merely spread after spread of entertaining illustrations and thoughts on favorite animals from the likes of Erin Stead, Lane Smith, Mo Willems, Nick Bruel, Carle himself, and more. My favorite spread, which is from Chris Raschka, is pictured above.

And I’ve got several more below. I’m working hard on my own writing deadline this month, but I had to take a break to share some of these — especially while we picture book enthusiasts (I speak here for myself and my Imp readers) wait on the Caldecott announcement (coming on January 27!) and while we wait on other 2014 picture book titles to start pouring in.

Enjoy the art. Oh, and there’s more about the book here at the Carle site. Read the rest of this entry �