7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #659:
Featuring A Big Bed for Little Snow

h1 October 13th, 2019    by jules

The Horn Book has posted my review of A Big Bed for Little Snow (Little, Brown, October 2019), Grace Lin’s follow-up to last year’s A Big Mooncake for Little Star, which won a Caldecott Honor. That review is here, if you’d like to read more about the book.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Case for River

h1 October 10th, 2019    by jules

(Click to enlarge)


Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper visits 7-Imp today to talk about the making of the case for his newest picture book, River (Orchard, October 2019). The final case is pictured above. I love love love what he shares below and particularly like that he focuses (very specifically) on the thought and care that goes into the making of a picture book cover.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pokko and the Drum

h1 October 8th, 2019    by jules

Author-illustrator Matt Forsythe visits today to share some early images from his newest picture book, Pokko and the Drum (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, October 2019) — his first book as both author and illustrator. (AND with a fabulous opening line: “The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum.”) I’ve also got some final spreads to share from this droll and beautiful book, one that I love so much and one that looks a lot like … well, like Arnold Lobel meets the Over the Garden Wall universe in a bar and buys it a drink.

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #658: Featuring Come Next Season, Home in the Woods, and A Year with Mama Earth

h1 October 6th, 2019    by jules

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a round-up of three beautiful new picture books that take readers through all four seasons. The covers are pictured above, and the feature is here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Layla’s Happiness

h1 October 3rd, 2019    by jules

Here’s a post to showcase some spreads from Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s Layla’s Happiness, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin and coming to shelves (Enchanted Lion) later this month. It’s the story of a girl named Layla — and in telling readers about her joys, she prompts them to think about how they define happiness in their own lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Visit with Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

h1 September 30th, 2019    by jules


Early next year, Denene Millner’s imprint at Simon & Schuster will publish Alice Faye Duncan’s Just Like a Mama, a picture book about a young girl (Carol Olivia Clementine) whose caretaker (Mama Rose) is someone, as the book description notes, whose blood is not her blood — but who loves the girl as fiercely and lovingly as a biological mother.

The book’s illustrator is Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, a debut artist. If her middle name sounds a wee bit familiar, well … she explains that below. Charnelle visits 7-Imp today to share some of her vivid artwork and to talk a bit about her work. I thank her for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #657:
Featuring a Reminder to Picture Book Fans …

h1 September 29th, 2019    by jules

I had different plans for today, dear Imps, but some unexpected events in my Saturday ate up my day — and kept me from formatting the post I wanted to format. I’ll have that later this week at 7-Imp, but what I do have for you today is a reminder that over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott, we are taking deep dives into some of the most outstanding picture books of the year — including, thus far, the ones pictured above. So, if you love picture books, you can head over there to see some of what our talented guest posters have had to say this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing with Our Eyes Closed

h1 September 27th, 2019    by jules

I’ve some spreads today from Mac Barnett’s Just Because (Candlewick, September 2019), illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Isabelle also shares some early sketches from this book, describing what she shares here today as a “bit of a melting pot” and adding that she tried many different approaches before starting the final illustrations for the book.

I love that the phrase that is the title of this book never actually appears in the book. Any child anywhere that communicates their curiosity about the world in the form of “why?” queries (“but why?” is the repeated refrain of any three- or four-year-old) has likely heard “just because” muttered by an adult. In this book, a young girl, tucked into bed at night, has a series of “why?” questions for her father. I don’t know that she’s even necessarily delaying bedtime; she just has a lot of questions swirling around in her brain. (I mean, check out that face above. The gears are turning.) Read the rest of this entry »

Mordicai Gerstein: A Tribute

h1 September 26th, 2019    by jules


Over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott today, we pay tribute to author-illustrator Mordicai Gerstein, whose death we learned about this week.

That is here.

I think I’ll find my copy of Applesauce Season — my favorite book for autumn, which he illustrated for Eden Ross Lipson — and spend some time with it. Not to mention the exquisite The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Gerstein’s legacy is a very tall stack of lovingly crafted picture books.

My condolences to Gerstein’s family.

“You know that book about a family who
eats breakfast in the shower and the mom
wears a dress that’s made out of live chickens?”

h1 September 24th, 2019    by jules

As I’ve made clear before here at 7-Imp, I’m a fan of Abby Hanlon’s Dory Fantasmagory books. I think Abby taps into something real (and often quite poignant) with these books; in the hands of a lesser author, Dory’s antics would be altogether cloying. But Abby seems to know how to write about childhood in a way I think is authentic. She depicts children as they are — in all their glorious weirdness, that is — and not in ways that an adult thinks they should be. (We see a lot of the latter in children’s books.) It’s hard to get books for this age right, and I think Abby gets it just right.

Read the rest of this entry »