Where John Keats Meets Chris Raschka . . .

h1 April 25th, 2017    by jules

“For nothing would he do / But scribble poetry …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

It’s National Poetry Month, and I’m specifically marking it today—though I hope you celebrate it year-round by reading poetry no matter the month—with the beautiful A Song About Myself: A Poem by John Keats (Candlewick, March 2017). Keats evidently wrote this poem in a letter to his young sister, Fanny, while he was visiting Scotland, and now it’s in picture-book form, illustrated by the one, the only Chris Raschka. (Ezra Jack Keats also illustrated this back in ’65 as The Naughty Boy, published by Viking Press.)

“When John Keats was just twenty-two,” Raschka writes in the book’s closing Illustrator’s Note, “he decided to get out of London and go for a walk. … Arrived in the hills of Scotland, he wrote a letter to his sister. … And at the end of traveling twenty miles through the mountains he wrote …: ‘We have walked through a beautiful country to Kirkcudbright—at which place I will write you a song about myself.’ This is where his poem sits in the letter — a poem he did not think much of and which does not really have a title.” Raschka adds:

John Keats is remembered as one of the greatest romantic artists of all time …. He can also be remembered as a loving brother, who wanted to make his sister laugh with a funny little rhyme ….

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #531: Featuring Brian Floca

h1 April 23rd, 2017    by jules

“… Then an idea came to her. She found her nanny’s mop and
took the stringy part off the stick. She tied the stringy part to the crocodile’s head.
The yarn in the mop was the same shade of brown as Princess Cora’s hair.”

(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

Good morning, one and all. I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Laura Amy Schlitz’s Princess Cora and the Crocodile (Candlewick, March 2017), illustrated by Brian Floca. Such a good book, all 80 pages of it. If you want to read all about it, head here.

Today here at 7-Imp is a bit of art from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Maria Dek,
Matt Forsythe, Lois Long, and Marc Martin

h1 April 21st, 2017    by jules

— from John Cage’s Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes,
illustrated by Lois Long


— from Marc Martin’s A River
(Click to enlarge spread)


“The forest grew still. The only sound was the wind rustling the leaves ….”
— From Kirsten Hall’s
The Gold Leaf, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
(Click to enlarge spread — the text here varies slightly from the text in the final book)


“The forest is full of burrows, hollows, and nests. …”
— From Maria Dek’s
A Walk in the Forest
(Click to enlarge spread)


This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got Helen Oxenbury on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Maria Dek’s A Walk in the Forest (Princeton Architectural Press, April 2017); Marc Martin’s A River (Chronicle, March 2017); Kirsten Hall’s The Gold Leaf (Enchanted Lion), illustrated by Matthew Forsythe and arriving on shelves next month; and John Cage’s Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes (Princeton Architectural Press, April 2017), illustrated by Lois Long.

I’ve got art from each book today. Enjoy!

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The Power of the Green Pants

h1 April 20th, 2017    by jules

“‘Would you like to be in our wedding?’ Jo asked.
Absolutely,’ Jameson replied, staring deeply into Jo’s bright eyes.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Two of my favorite picture books thus far this year have the word “pants” in the title. “Pants” is, indeed, a fabulous word.

Today, as a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel, I have a bit of art from Green Pants (Candlewick, March 2017).

(More later on that other picture book …)

Until tomorrow …

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A Mighty, Mighty Peek at Picture-Book Process

h1 April 18th, 2017    by jules

One of my favorite things is when illustrator Tom Lichtenheld stops by 7-Imp to talk about the thought processes that go behind his work. (He’s done that at least once before.)

Today, he visits to talk about creating the artwork for Sherri Duskey Rinker’s Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, released earlier this year. This is the sequel to 2011’s Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (which has a great publication story). Bonafide bestsellers these books are. And this follow-up, which introduces some new characters, delivers the goods. Best of all in this new story, Skid Steer and Mighty Flatbed are explicitly she machines. Attagirls!

Let’s get right to it so that Tom can do his thing. I thank him for visiting.

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Remembering Patricia McKissack . . .

h1 April 17th, 2017    by jules


There have been several heartfelt tributes to author Patricia McKissack written in the past week or so, since her death on April 7. Tennessee’s own Chapter 16 pays tribute to her work at their site today, as she was born and raised here in middle Tennessee (and, as you will read, Nashville Public Library has some special art from one of her stories on its walls).

That is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #530: Featuring Sydney Smith

h1 April 16th, 2017    by jules

“We go so high I can see far out to sea.”

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Joanne Schwartz’s Town Is by the Sea (Groundwood, April 2017), illustrated by Sydney Smith. You can head here to read the review, but let me say one more time here at 7-Imp: This is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll see this year. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll ever see. (Those are some serious words, but I mean them.)

I’m following up here at 7-Imp today with some art from the book, and Sydney also sent what he calls some sketches and B-sides. I thank him for sharing.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jacques Goldstyn

h1 April 14th, 2017    by jules

“To tell you the truth, I have a feeling I’m not like other people. …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

This week at Kirkus, I’ve got the outdoors on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Jacques Goldstyn’s Bertolt, so I’m following up with some art from the book today.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Kenneth Kraegel

h1 April 13th, 2017    by jules

In nature, almost every surface is patterned or varied; tree bark, sand, grasses, even snow is made up of individual snowflakes, if you look closely. Human-made materials tend to be more uniform and monotone — plastic, drywall, paper. I think those natural surfaces that show more and more detail the closer you look are extraordinarily beautiful and, I suppose, that is what I am aiming for when I make a picture, a complexity that you don’t see at first glance.”

* * *

Today over Kirkus, I talk with author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel about his new picture book, Green Pants (Candlewick, March 2017).

That Q&A is here this morning.

I’ll have art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Kenneth Kraegel taken by Brooke Collier.

A Letter to My Teacher

h1 April 11th, 2017    by jules

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review of Deborah Hopkinson’s A Letter to My Teacher (Schwartz & Wade, April 2017), illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. That is here, and I’m following up today with a bit of art from the book.

Until Thursday …

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