7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #401: Featuring Richard Byrne

h1 October 12th, 2014 by jules

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Today’s post will be brief, because it’s the weekend of the Southern Festival of Books here in middle Tennessee. My co-author was in town from New York City to present with me about our book (which was yesterday and went well). But it’s been an unusually busy work week, and this weekend itself is hoppin’. I’m, quite simply, worn out, so I’m going to tell you briefly about this entertaining book by Richard Byrne. And then I’m going to relax with a cup of hot cocoa.

Know your picture book terminology? Know what a gutter is? The gutter is the place between two pages where the binding meets. Awards committees (think: Caldecott) care an awful lot about gutters and whether or not an illustrator can effectively work around them. You don’t want, for instance, to let the gutter swallow an illustration whole.

Well, cue Byrne’s book. This UK illustrator’s newest picture book, This Book Just Ate My Dog! (Henry Holt, September 2014), embraces the gutter, to put it mildly. In this story, a young girl named Bella takes her dog for a walk “across the page,” only to discover that he is suddenly gone. He’s walked straight into the gutter, you see; the dog’s leash just disappears into the center of the book, leaving Bella with a look of shock on her face. When Bella sees her friend Ben, she declares, “THIS BOOK JUST ATE MY DOG!” When Ben investigates … you guessed it: He disappears into the gutter too. So do the fire truck, police car, and more: “Things were getting ridiculous,” Byrne writes.

My, what a vicious book!

So, our protagonist turns to readers to ask for help. She herself has disappeared after all. She tosses out a note, asking the reader to kindly turn the book and shake it.

If you’ve read Wild Things, by chance, you know that there’s a section about picture books in which the protagonists get eaten. Well, now we have a new one to add to the list, and in this case, it’s the very book itself causing all kinds of mischief. Chomp, chomp.

Here’s a bit more art. Big fun, this book …

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THIS BOOK JUST ATE MY DOG! Copyright © 2014 by Richard Byrne. Spreads used by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt, New York.

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Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a 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. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks one to seven are this weekend’s festival. Betsy and I presented about Wild Things yesterday, as I said, which went very well. It was good to see Betsy here in Nashville, and my family and I saw some great authors and illustrators speak. The highlight was probably hearing John Rocco read Blackout and Blizzard to us all.

Tomorrow we head back for the likes of Jacqueline Woodson, Deborah Wiles, and Lev Grossman.

Best thing about Nashville in the Fall!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #401: Featuring Richard Byrne”

  1. Good morning Jules and everyone else too!
    Of course the title of this book got my attention first but when I read it, there is so much more to like about it. It was a fun book to review.
    I would have loved to have heard your presentation. I will definitely have to put the Southern Festival of Books on my list for next year. I do love heading down to Tennessee in the fall. I have attended several of the National Storytelling Festivals.

    My kicks:
    1. The wonderful, witty and beautiful picture books for 2014 just keep coming.
    2. A flock of robins in my yard yesterday (I thought they all had headed South earlier)
    3. The startling shades of blue on Lake Michigan on clear days
    4. Fall colors
    5. First frost of the year this morning, heavy enough to look like snow
    6. Mums and pumpkins
    7. Early morning walk with Xena

    Have a fantastic week everyone.

  2. I want this book NOW! Perfect for the conversation I have been having with third grade about how books are made.
    Jules, I agree with Margie, I would have loved to hear your presentation. John Rocco was at our spring conference. And to hear Woodson and Wiles today? Lucky you!
    Margie, I am waiting for our first frost. Give Xena a pet for me.
    My Kicks:
    1. Reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.
    We’re discussing it tonight and I have been binge reading it to finish.
    2. Poetry entries for the CYBILS.
    3. The inservice speaker on poverty: Dr.Donna Beegle http://www.combarriers.com/speakers
    4. My writing critique meeting last Monday.
    5. Curry and ginger squash soup.
    6. Time with my librarian peeps at Friday’s in-service.
    7. Committee meeting regarding the teacher librarians job role with technology. Feeling valued.
    Have a great week.

  3. What a fun book!

    Jules – yay you! Glad the presentation went well! Have fun with the rest of it!

    Margie – mums and pumpkins and walks with Xena sounds like a lovely week.

    Jone – how is The Boys in the Boat? I’ve been thinking of adding that to my TBR pile. Curry and ginger squash soup – yum!

    My kicks this week:
    1) A last minute invite to go sailing Sunday afternoon -it was perfect weather, and a beautiful day.
    2) A Timbers game with a friend- perfect fall night for soccer. And they won!
    3) Reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
    4) Party with a live band last night – super fun.
    5) Binge watching Sex and the City & baking cookies.
    6) Making a care package for a college student.
    7) Going to the Blazers game tonight.
    7.5) Enjoying time with Daisy. We’re meeting potential adopters day – fingers crossed for her!

    Have a great week everyone!

  4. Good morning, Imps!
    Don’t let your books eat your dogs.
    Don’t let your dogs eat your books.

    Hi Richard!

    Jules: So glad you ladies have the opportunity. Cocoa is so good.

    Margie: Hurrah for fall. Hello to Xena and the robins.

    Jone: Enjoy the poems and the people.

    Rachel: Good luck with the adopters!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Readers
    2) Coral
    3) Combining
    4) Refining
    5) Potential
    6) Auditions
    7) Reminders

  5. Rachel, Boys in the Boat is great! Here’s the link for the soup: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/healthy-soup-recipes/healthy-curry-ginger-butternut-squash-soup-recipe

  6. Back first thing in the morning, promise! Today got away from me … soooo fast.

  7. LW – Coral sounds like an interesting kick. Good luck on the auditions!

    Jone – thanks so much for the recipe link – curry butternut squash soup sounded divine already, but any recipe that calls for sririacha – I’m in! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. I’m BACK.

    Margie: I LOVE that storytelling festival in East TN, though I haven’t been in yeeeears. First frost already? Are you ready for winter?

    Jone, I have thought that, if I were still a school librarian, this book would be perfect for that parts-of-the-book discussion — just like The Stinky Cheese Man is so great for the same conversation. … Feeling valued as a school librarian is always good, so congrats on your last kick.

    Rachel: Good luck with the adoption. … I got Shakey Graves’ new CD and have been listening all week. Do you have it?

    Little Willow: Coral, the color?

  9. Oh, the cuteness of that book!
    My kicks:
    1. Sunshine on the leaves
    2. A homemade biscuit at lunch
    3. Making puppets with the Girl Scouts
    4. Pilates class
    5. Treehouse
    6. Smiles
    7. Hugs

  10. Hi, Susan! Kick #1 might be my favorite, though homemade biscuits ARE pretty amazing. Have a good week.

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