7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #475: Featuring Cécile Gambini

h1 March 20th, 2016 by jules

“Don’t I look like a living painting? …”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


Next month will see the U.S. publication of a book called Strange Trees: And the Stories Behind Them, written by Bernadette Pourquié and illustrated by Cécile Gambini (Princeton Architectural Press). It was a book first published in France, evidently the winner of the Prix Versailles Lire Au Jardin. The Kirkus review calls it a “charmingly illustrated but odd French import.”

The book features sixteen real but unusual trees, who speak directly to the reader in a first-person voice. There’s the cocoa tree, which Pourquié calls the “Chocolate Tree” and gives you cocoa paste; the Davidia or “Ghost Tree” (with its white leaves that “look like lightweight white sheets floating on the breeze”), pictured below; the multicolored Mindanao Gum Tree or “Rainbow Tree,” pictured above; and more. Each tree “speaks” in a chatty, accessible voice and is accompanied on the right side of each page by a full-page illustration. (I’ve got some of them featured below, but please do click on each one to see the text, as well as the ornate borders of each spread.)

The book lacks sources or any sort of backmatter — and, if you’re interested to read it, the full Kirkus review is here. (It’s the only professional review I could find and, I think, captures the book well.) I wanted to share a bit of art from the book today; they are vividly illustrated paintings, some with a magical quality all their own.



“Anyone who tries to take shelter under me is going to get soaked! …”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“You get up from bed, convinced that specters only come out at night. …”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“You’re trapped! You already put your fingers on my page! …”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“Hey! Watch where you put your feet.
Do not crush me when we meet! …”

(Click to enlarge and read text)


STRANGE TREES: AND THE STORIES BEHIND THEM. Text by Bernadette Pourquié. Illustrations by Cécile Gambini. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Yesterday, I had a nice, long visit with a dear friend.

2) I am not at South by Southwest (which I’ve always wanted to do). But my favorite music podcast has been covering it like the pros they are, and I’ve been listening all week.

3) When my 12-year-old hums songs when she thinks no one is listening.

4) The Beatles Pandora station.

5) My girls and I are reading a stack of particularly good children’s novels right now.

6) I enjoyed the #WhyISign meme on social media this past week.

7) At story time at Parnassus Books yesterday, I said, “I’m going to read one more book,” and a preschooler declared out of the blue, “IT’S CALLED THE MONKEYS ON THE TRUCK!”

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #475: Featuring Cécile Gambini”

  1. The Mindanao gum tree! I’m from Mindanao!


    1. Lots of quality time (a lot more than usual) with my youngest brother. I’ve been helping him with his master’s thesis on how neighborhood structures affect child development. We take lots of fun breaks!

    2. There’s a new children’s store in town and they have a well curated collection of books. And lots of toy bunnies!

    3. Time with my closest friends.

    4. Korean food.

    5. A more relaxed work schedule. Weekends, holidays, and all other breaks from work. Hahaha!

    6. Help. Working with a team. Being able to rely on other people.

    7. Art, art, art!

  2. What a fun book. I love the art.
    Jules, the Beatles station on Pandora is great. Glad you got to have time with a friend.
    Tarie, so good to see you here.enjoy the art.
    My kicks:
    1. Feeling better. I had a bug last weekend that laid me low.
    2. Meeting with other librarians.
    3. Finished Delicious by Rachel Reichl.
    4. Poetry Rocks rehearsal.
    5. Sunshine.
    6. A re-tweet from a total stranger of a post about kids choosing their own reading material.
    7. Writing.
    Have a great week.

  3. Good morning, Imps! Happy Spring!

    Trees are fantastic. I have never been in a treehouse. Thank you Cécile Gambini for sharing your art.

    Jules: Yay for good books, good visits, good music, and good intentions.

    Tarie: Hi you! Good luck to your brother on his thesis.

    Jone: Glad that you are feeling better.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Here
    2) There
    3) Everywhere
    4) Sights
    5) Sounds
    6) Opportunities
    7) Yes

  4. Love the color palettes in these illustrations, and especially loved the Strangler Fig Tree, Ghost Tree, and Dwarf Willow.

    Jules – love that exuberant preschooler! Sounds like story time with you is a blast. I loved the #whyIsign memes you shared – the little kid ones were so awesome. Hooray for long visits with good friends.

    Tarie – Hi!!! Your youngest brother is lucky to have your help. Yay for teamwork and a more relaxed work schedule.

    Jone – so glad you are feeling better! The sunshine this week was so nice. Yay for the re-tweet!

    LW – Yes is a great kick. For some reason it is super surprising you have never been in a treehouse! Which sent me on an interwebs search for treehouses you can stay in….

    My kicks this week:
    1) Waking up to find I was tied for 3rd in March Madness bracket. Now tied for 2nd place, but doubt it will last.
    2) Timbers game last night. Very exciting 2nd half that resulted in a 2-2 draw.
    3) Sunshine & amazing weather this week.
    4) A trip to Portland Nursery & finding the exact roses I have been searching for to plant in large containers in the yard. (Lady of Shalott – I love the colors.)
    5) Spending time in the yard with Daisy. Rare sunshine was so great.
    6) Having HH catch-up with a friend at a great neighborhood bar. Had never been there and now its a favorite.
    7) Spring cleaning and making plans. Anticipation is such a great feeling.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  5. TARIE!! So good to hear from you. Congrats to your brother AND best of luck to him. More relaxed schedules: Hear! Hear!

    Jone: It wasn’t just a dear friend; it was a dear friend who’s been sick, so I’m glad to have seen her. It’d been too long. … I love your sixth kick. What is Poetry Rocks? … Glad you’re feeling better.

    Little Willow: Are you timid about treehouses or you just happened to have not been in one? My friend has a three-story treehouse with a sink and kitchen and everything. It’s AMAZING. …. Your kicks put a Beatles song in my head.

    Rachel: “Spending time in the yard with Daisy” makes it sound like Daisy is feeling good, which is great news. Happy Spring!

  6. I love the concept of this book and the art looks wonderful. Happy Spring, indeed!

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