7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #476: Featuring Helen Oxenbury

h1 March 27th, 2016 by jules

“Jack, Zack, and Caspar, brave mariners three,
were building a galleon down by the sea.
Up rose the sides and the stern and the bow.
Zack, the ship’s bosun, worked hard on the prow.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Today, I’ve got some artwork from the great Helen Oxenbury. On shelves this month from Dial is Captain Jack and the Pirates, written by Peter Bently. The book was originally published last year in the UK and was evidently shortlisted for the Kate Greeenaway Medal.

The story is the rhyming adventure of three young boys, engaging in imaginative pirate play on the shore on a warm, sunny day. The boys’ imagination takes them far — rolling on the high seas, running from pirates and roaring hurricanes. They’re young, these adventure-seekers; one is even in a diaper and can usually be seen with his pacifier. Oxenbury’s watercolors are expressive and detailed; the color spreads are full-bleed, as if readers are right there with the boys on their undertaking, and occasionally we see pencil sketches, breaking up the action and giving readers a breath. As usual, Oxenbury puts the endpapers to use to help tell even more of the boys’ story, which all wraps up with the parents calling the boys to the table for sweets and ice cream. (Mmm.)

The Kirkus review calls the book “gently and agreeably thrilling.” Yes. That. Below is one more spread. Enjoy!


“‘Ahoy, men!’ cried Jack with a chortle of pleasure.
‘An enemy pirate ship, laden with treasure!’
‘Steer a course after them, good Bosun Zack!’
And Zack answered brightly, ‘Aye, aye, Captain Jack!'”

(Click to enlarge spread)


CAPTAIN JACK AND THE PIRATES. Text copyright © 2015 by Peter Bently. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Helen Oxenbury. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I’m going to keep it short this week, since you may be out hunting for Easter eggs and I’m busy averting the gaze of giant bunnies delivering candy. (I always thought that was the weirdest of all holiday traditions — giant, fuzzy bunnies hoppin’ into my home.)

I hope you all have a great Easter, however you celebrate it. And Happy Spring!

Do tell me, if you’re so inclined: What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #476: Featuring Helen Oxenbury”

  1. AAAh Helen Oxenbury- thank you Jules, what a great way to celebrate Easter Sunday! She is such a favorite – such a master of watercolor and delight.
    Seven quick kicks to make up for being away so much:
    1. Being here on a Sunday with a moment to respond
    2. Visiting small granddaughter on this spring weekend
    3. Ordering her an old copy of “The Easter Egg Artists” – so influential on my work and vividly remembering getting from the library each year
    4. Spring – hot already here in Southern California – but everything is startlingly green from more rain than in past years – and flowers – sweet peas everywhere!
    5.Egg trees – I’ve seen images of several exuberant and clever ones – eggs tied to branches seems to say spring
    6. Watching “Cinderella” with my daughter-in-law – and “Finding Neverland”
    7. Seven Imps of a Sunday morning!

  2. Happy Easter. Love this new book by Helen Oxenbury.
    Jules, those bunnies are a bit creepy.
    Katy, I love Finding Neverland.
    My kicks:
    1. Student poetry submissions to Young Poets Digest.
    2. Poetry Rocks performance.
    3. Sunrise yesterday morning.
    4. Makings for quiche.
    5. He made coffee cale.
    6. Books.
    7. One bloom on my Christmas cactus..anot Easter cactus?
    Have a great week.

  3. Good morning, Imps and pirates and readers and adventure-seekers! Hello, Helen!

    I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely spring weekend.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Information
    2) Focus
    3) Within
    4) Truth
    5) Discussion
    6) Connection
    7) Sure

  4. Hello, Kickers!

    Of the many (yes) impossible things which nevertheless exist in the universe, Helen Oxenbury must have a special place. It’s impossible to imagine, e.g., ever closing a book illustrated by her and feeling all out of sorts with rattled nerves.

    Good luck with that suspicious long-eared skulker outside the window, Jules. (Do you remember the rabbit in Matt Groening’s old ‘Life in Hell’ comic strip series?

    Kicks here:

    1. 100% gray and rainy weekend. Yay for naps, reading, and catching up on DVRed stuff.
    2. Anticipation of The Missus’s planned chicken-parm Extravaganza for Two tonight.
    3. Nice meeting at work; tenor and outcome actually left me excited and eager to get back to my desk to work on what the meeting involved.
    4. Continued deeeeep poking and prodding of the WIP continuing to yield results.
    5. The Pooch’s getting past a bout of, um, digestive distress. (Aside: it wouldn’t have featured in a Helen Oxenbury book.)
    6. Excited for the next phase of The Stepdaughter’s life.
    7. Neal Stephenson’s ‘Anathem’ is one of the most challenging books I’ve read in years and years — with rewards in rough proportion to its, er, challengingness. (It’s also 1,100 pages long, which makes my crossing the 50% threshold this week a kick in its own right.)

    Have a great week, all!

  5. Happy Easter & Happy Spring!

    Beautiful spreads this morning, and what a fun adventure for that crew – this is going on my list of gifts to get young friends.

    Jules – watch out for those giant bunnies, and if you’re hunting easter eggs, hope you find the ones with chocolate!

    Katy – have fun with your granddaughter! I love Finding Neverland too.

    Jone – Mmmm coffee cake.

    LW – love your kicks, but 2, 4, 6 & 7 are my favorites.

    JES – Glad the Pooch is feeling better! Your anticipated chicken parm sounds fabulous, & halfway though 1,000+ pages is impressive!

    My quick kicks this week:
    1) Reading “Furiously Happy,” by Jenny Lawson and laughing out loud in parts.
    2) Picking up coffee for me & treats for a group before a meeting at a small coffee shop I’d never been to before. Baristas & customers were all friendly & were interested in my work rule of always bringing treats to team meetings. (Because it makes people smile & that makes people more receptive & willing to collaborate.)
    3) Finally saw Spotlight. Such a good movie.
    4) Finally saw Trainwreck & was pleasantly surprised – it was better than I thought it would be.
    5) The Americans has started up again!
    6) Two small rose bushes now in planters in my yard – excited for them to grow & flower.
    7) Beverly Cleary is turning 100!!! Here in Portland OPB is throwing her a party: http://www.wweek.com/2016/03/21/youre-invited-to-the-beverly-cleary-birthday-bash/
    7.5) Silly Daisy. Yesterday she got a bath & smells so good (she hates baths), & today she tolerated me dressing her like a flower for Easter photos. Such a good dog.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  6. I loved Finding Neverland too. It’s fun to read other’s kicks. Here are mine in no particular order.
    1. Hosting the neighborhood egg hunt and feeling lucky to have such great neighbors.
    2. Enjoying Easter. I used to hate it and think it was creepy, but now that I am completely agnostic I finally like it–particularly the egg salad sandwiches to come.
    3. Scalloped potatoes.
    4. Unique New York city
    5. I too am enjoying The Americans
    6. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
    7. My delightful 4th grader who is old enough to help hide eggs for the younger neighbors but young enough to be completely excited by her (agnostic) Easter basket

  7. Katy, I like the notion of “startlingly green.” Lovely. I’m not sure what the Easter Egg Artists is but will look it up!

    Jone, what a poetry-filled week. Woo hoo!

    Little Willow: “Sure” is a very good kind of kick.

    John, oh my gosh, yes. I used to read those comics in high school. The one you linked to reminds me that my oldest might really get a kick out of them. … My husband is a Stephenson fan. … I like your first kick, because I like grey, good-reading days. … I like that 3rd kick, and the parenthetical comment in the 5th made me laugh. … Hope you enjoyed that meal!

    Rachel: Sweet Daisy! Also, I wish I worked with you on teams! Also, BEVERLY CLEARY. Woot! Woot! That party looks fun, and look at that photo of her! (And kitty!) So many “!”s in my comment.

    Cindy: I’m so glad the trip was fun. I still want you to adopt me (maybe as your sister?) …

    Have a great week, all!

  8. What a good idea. I will gladly adopt you as my sister. My “real” sister used to live in Nashville and while it is nice to have her closer now. I miss having a sister in Nashville. Plus there are so many other good reasons to adopt you. Consider it done!!

  9. Yay! And no paperwork required.

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