Archive for May, 2016

Meeting Your Match

h1 Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Here’s a quick post to show off the artwork of Dutch illustrator Martijn van der Linden, who illustrated Maranke Rinck’s The Other Rabbit (Lemniscaat). I believe this book was released here in the States last Fall (and it may have even been released in the Netherlands the same year, though I’m not sure about that), and I’m just slow in getting to it. Better late than never.

I like this enchanting import. It opens with two spreads that show a memory game in process. You know, like this. One card has been overturned, and it shows Rabbit. “Rabbit,” the text says, “is looking for the other rabbit.” On the next memory-game spread, we see that, instead of another rabbit, there is (on another overturned card) an airplane. Rabbit hops in the plane (the spread featured above) to find the other rabbit.

Along the way, he meets a whole host of animals, including birds who join him in the air. But, all in the name of pairing off, the birds meet some other birds and head off in another direction. Rabbit is alone again. When he lands on an island, he meets a king, a chicken, and a group of various creatures on the island. Each one of them pairs off. When Rabbit meets a dragon and asks if she has the other rabbit, the dragon tells Rabbit that, without the rabbit, she’ll be all alone. However, with the help of a beetle, Rabbit outsmarts the dragon — in the friendliest possible way. And I won’t give away the very end. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #485: Featuring Alexis Deacon

h1 Sunday, May 29th, 2016

I’ve got some art today from author-illustrator Alexis Deacon’s first graphic novel, Geis: A Matter of Life & Death. (“Geis,” a Gaelic word for a taboo or curse, is pronounced gesh.) It will be on bookshelves in July from Nobrow Press. [Edited to Add, 5/30/16: Alexis has illustrated this graphic novel, though Geis is still the first he’s both written and illustrated.]

Let me back up a bit and say that I love to see Alexis’s work, and I was happy to see he’d done a graphic novel. (I just read this 2014 Guardian piece about him and very much enjoyed it, if anyone wants to learn a bit more about him.) This is what the publisher calls a supernatural historical fantasy and is the first in a trilogy. Readers are promised at the book’s close that “soon” we will be able to read Book Two, A Game Without Rules.

The book opens with the death of the great chief, Matarka. Her will declares that “there would be a contest. Fate would choose the one fit to take her place.” Calling upon the Gods, fifty souls are summoned at night — to the confusion of everyone. Thus begins the contest to see who will become the ruler of the island.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I
Did Last Week, Featuring Too Many Artists to List Here

h1 Friday, May 27th, 2016

Today at Kirkus, I’ve got something a bit different — a thank-you to teachers who read aloud in the classroom. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote a Fall Picture Book preview (that is here), so today I’ve got a bit of art from each book. Well, there’s one exception: I’m going to write more later about Vera B. Williams’s Home at Last (Greenwillow, September 2016), illustrated by Chris Raschka. But today I have art from:

And I’m opening the post with an image from Bob Shea’s The Happiest Book Ever! (Disney-Hyperion, October 2016). (There’s one more illustration and the book cover below.)


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My Q&A with Faith Ringgold

h1 Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I do love the creativity and energy of children. My foundation, the Anyone Can Fly Foundation, is devoted to teaching children about the African American artists that have been left out of the historical canon.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Faith Ringgold, pictured here. Tar Beach, her first picture book and a Caldecott Honor book, is 25 years old this year. At Kirkus, we talk about that and her new book, We Came to America.

That is here this morning.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Faith Ringgold taken by Grace Matthews and used by permission of Knopf.


A Child of Books

h1 Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Arriving on bookshelves in September (Candlewick) will be Oliver Jeffers’s and Sam Winston’s A Child of Books, and today I’ve got a little sneak peek. First, they have created one of those newfangled book trailer dealios (to be exact) for the book, which is above. (It’s always fun to hear that Belfast accent.) Also, I have a wee tiny Q&A with the two below, and best of all, I’ve got two spreads from the book.

The book is a celebration of reading and words and story and has been described as a “prose poem.” It features a sort of orphan, a young girl who is “a child of books” and whose home is a “world of stories.” She invites a young boy to join her on a journey in her imagination, one buoyed by a love of narrative. The art is playful, incorporating the text of iconic children’s stories (apparently, forty of them), and even, at one point, lullabies. There’s a lot for observant readers to pore over in this book. As you can see here, typographic artist Sam Winston was the perfect collaborator for this one. (“A continuing theme is his exploration of the hidden narratives found in canonical bodies of text.”) Here is a 2014 interview with Sam at typorn, and I’ve featured Jeffers’s work several times here at 7-Imp, but here’s my 2010 breakfast interview with him.

They talk a bit below about their collaboration on this project.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #484: Featuring Tarō Gomi

h1 Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

“Is someone standing looking over the ocean … just like I am doing now?”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Tarō Gomi’s Over the Ocean, originally published in 1979. If you’d like to read about the book, I send you there. And if you want to see some art from it, I’ve got that here at 7-Imp today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sergio Ruzzier

h1 Friday, May 20th, 2016

(Click each to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I have a Fall 2016 Picture Book Preview. That is here.

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Pictured above is my favorite spread from Sergio Ruzzier’s newest picture book, This Is Not a Picture Book! (Chronicle, May 2016). I wrote about it here at Kirkus last week, and I’m following up today with the Director’s Cut version of the book. That is, Sergio shares some early sketches, as well as early cover images. You’ll see the book was initially named A Book With No Pictures. Sound familiar? When a certain book by B.J. Novak was released in 2014, Sergio had some title-changing to do. “It took me and Chronicle months to decide what to do,” Sergio says, “and more months to find a new title. I’m very happy with the final choice, which is, I think, better than the original.”

I thank Sergio for sharing. I love to see these early images and the book’s evolution. And there’s a bit of final art below, too.


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A Peek into Denise Fleming’s Studio

h1 Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Pictured here is a gelatin print from author-illustrator Denise Fleming. She’s experimenting, while working on some new books. Since she chatted with me last week at Kirkus (here) about her latest picture book, Maggie and Michael Get Dressed (Henry Holt, April 2016), I wanted to follow up today here at 7-Imp with some images and art. She shares quite a bit of process art below, which is fascinating to see — and will have to do, since I can’t just pop over to her house and watch her do her thing.

I thank her for sharing.


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Harold’s Hungry Eyes

h1 Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

I always like to see the work of Kevin Waldron. His newest picture book, Harold’s Hungry Eyes (Phaidon Press, May 2016) is funny stuff. It’s the tale of a hungry dog, living in the city, who is “insatiably hungry. All of the time.” The only thing he likes about as much as he loves food is his comfortable chair, but one day, he discovers a garbage truck in the process of ditching his favorite place to sleep. After he heads outside to chase the truck, he becomes lost. And then his stomach rumbles: “Harold hadn’t had his breakfast!” His new goal, other than finding his way home, is to find food. And he sees food in nearly every nook and cranny of the city, his mind’s eye filled with veggies where a park is, pretzels where bicycle tires normally go, wafer cookies as steps, ice cream cones where stoplights would be, and much more.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #483:
Featuring Jeffery Boston Weatherford

h1 Sunday, May 15th, 2016

” … Of more than 400,000 pilots trained / by the CPTP, only 2,000 are black; / less than half of a percent. / Yet 2,000 dreams of flight / are finally off the ground.”

Today I’ve got a bit of art from Carole Boston Weatherford’s newest book, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford and released by Atheneum this month. This is a series of poems, aimed at middle-school readers, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

The poems are powerful, Weatherford bringing to life with vivid language the voices of these aviators, the first African-American military pilots of the war. She writes in a second-person voice—“You see the posters: Uncle Sam Wants You. / If only that meant in the cockpit.”—which brings the reader into the poems with an immediacy. It’s a very effective technique, as it gives space for the reader to imagine him or herself in the events Weatherford’s precise poetry conjures. The poems cover a wide range of tones, as Weatherford notes the pilots’ struggles, as well as their accomplishments. “[Weatherford’s] skill with language,” notes the Kirkus review, “provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men.” The review closes: It’s a “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.”

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