Archive for November, 2019


h1 Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

Ever enter a bad mood and then sweep up others into it? I know I do. The protagonist of Louise Greig’s Sweep (Simon & Schuster, September 2019), a British import illustrated by Júlia Sardà, also does this. And his bad mood makes for a good story.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #665: Featuring Ashley Bryan

h1 Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Today I’ve got some spreads from one of my very favorite 2019 books — Ashley Bryan’s Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, October 2019). This is a 112-page picture book memoir that chronicles the award-winning author-illustrator’s (often harrowing) experiences in the segregated army of World War II (he was drafted in 1943 while an art student at Cooper Union) and, essentially, how his love of art got him through. This is the first time Bryan writes publicly of his war experiences and shares them with the wider world.

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The Acrobat Family

h1 Thursday, November 21st, 2019

I want to take a break from your more traditional picture books and spotlight a 3D book today — and a French import. The Acrobat Family (Little Gestalten, November 2019) — a book shaped a lot like a circus tent, when opened — is from French pop-up artists Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud. (Boisrobert works in watercolors, and Rigaud works as a graphic designer. Both graduated from the School of Decorativ Arts in Strasbourg.)

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the circus!” the book opens. Stage curtains, drawn to each side of this spread, reveal the book’s title and opening text. Peering out from the curtains are the members of the Acrobat Family. Turn the page for the first act, featuring Miss Prune. (She is pictured above. As you can see, she is a badass and has “biceps shaped like moons.”) Read the rest of this entry �

Elisha Cooper’s River

h1 Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

(Click to enlarge cover)


I had the opportunity to write about Elisha Cooper’s River over at the Horn Book today (at the Calling Caldecott blog). As I note over there, I find something new to love every time I read the book. Here is what I wrote, if you’re so inclined to read it.

(And here is where Elisha visited 7-Imp in early October to talk about the book’s cover.)

Until tomorrow . . .

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #664: Featuring Lynne Rae Perkins

h1 Sunday, November 17th, 2019

“‘I feel so foolish,’ she said. ‘I jumped to conclusions.'”
(Click to enlarge spread and read text in its entirety)

I reviewed the newest picture book, Wintercake (Greenwillow, October 2019), from author-illustrator (and Newbery Medalist) Lynne Rae Perkins for the Horn Book. If you’d like to read about the book, they included bits of that review in this round-up. (Scroll down to the bottom of that post.) And today here at 7-Imp I’ve a few illustrations from the book.

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Kate Milner’s It’s a No-Money Day

h1 Friday, November 15th, 2019

7-Imp is, for all intents and purposes, an art blog. I pretty much don’t write a post in which I don’t feature sketches and/or art from a picture book creator. But today is an exception. Today, though I don’t have spreads from the book to show you, I want to at least draw attention to a new picture book, out in the UK — Kate Milner’s It’s a No-Money Day. I’ve no idea if there are plans to publish this book here in the States. (I ordered my copy online, and it made its way across the ocean.)

I’ve a particular interest in books that depict children living in (or near) poverty, as this book does. American picture books, on the whole, tend to be represent very suburban, middle-class lives. I do hope this story — about a mother and daughter with empty cupboards, who head to a foodbank for some groceries — makes its way to American shelves. As the Children’s Defense Fund states: Read the rest of this entry �

Sydney Smith’s Small in the City

h1 Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Early sketch

Author-illustrator Sydney Smith visits 7-Imp today to share some sketches (lots) from Small in the City (Neal Porter/Holiday House, September 2019). I reviewed this one for the Horn Book, and you can read a portion of that review online here. [Edited to add in December: The full review is posted here.] I love this book, but don’t just take my word for it. It has already won a 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award, and Sydney also won a Governor’s General Literary Award in Canada.

I’ve also got some final spreads below. I thank Sydney for sharing so many beautiful sketches and such. Let’s get to it. …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #663: Featuring Angel Chang

h1 Sunday, November 10th, 2019

(Click to enlarge spread)

Dave Eggers’s Most of the Better Natural Things in the World (Chronicle, November 2019), illustrated by Angel Chang, follows a white tiger. She carries a chair on her back, lugging it across the globe and across various landscapes — a gorge, a valley, a lagoon, an alpine lake, a chaparral, a tundra, and much more. Each spread contains the name of each geographic settting. She stops to sit and take in a breathtaking vista (pictured below) that appears in a dramatic double gatefold spread. The book closes with a four-page glossary that gives more information on each landscape.

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The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books, Featuring A Million Dots

h1 Friday, November 8th, 2019

Did you see the announcement a week ago today of the 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books? I always look forward to this list. The 2019 books — as chosen by judges Bruce Handy, Jessica Cline, and Jillian Tamaki — are here.

Today, I’m featuring some spreads from one of those books — Sven Völker’s A Million Dots (Cicada, September 2019). The book opens with the one tree you see above, and by the time you are done reading it, you have counted to a million (over a million, actually). And that is because with each page turn, you are doubling the number you see. So, you go from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to …. You get the idea. All the way up to 1,048,576, which appears in a dramatic gatefold spread. All of this is laid out in Völker’s uncluttered and pleasing graphic style. Yes, a million dots are involved. “[H]ow quickly two (trees) begets 256 (freckles),” writes one of the NYT judges.

Take a look for yourself …. Read the rest of this entry �

Brendan Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still

h1 Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

The Horn Book has posted my review of Brendan Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still (Chronicle, August 2019). That is here, if you’re so inclined to read it.

And today here at 7-Imp are some spreads from the book.


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