7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #469: Featuring Chloe Bonfield

h1 February 7th, 2016    by jules

“Jack reached a hill and climbed to the top. No perfect trees were there.
He climbed down the other side. Nothing.
The perfect tree was really very hard to find.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Chloe Bonfield’s The Perfect Tree (Running Press, January 2016). This is the debut book for Bonfield, who lives in London. I’m following up that review today with two spreads from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Charlotte Voake
(And a Bit from David McPhail)

h1 February 5th, 2016    by jules

— From Beatrix Potter &
the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig
(Click to enlarge)


— From Say It!

Today at Kirkus, I look at some reissues that make me happy. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about, in part, Deborah Hopkinson’s newest picture book, Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig (Schwartz & Wade, February 2016), illustrated by Charlotte Voake. I’ve got art from that today.

And, because I love Voake’s illustrations so much, I’ve also got art here today from Say It!, which was reissued last September (Candlewick) with illustrations from Voake. The book was originally published in 1980 and was illustrated by James Stevenson. This reissue is oh-so beautiful.

AND … one more! Since we’re on the topic of Beatrix Potter, I’ve got a spread below from David McPhail’s Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box, which was released last October (Henry Holt).


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My Chat with Rachel Isadora

h1 February 4th, 2016    by jules

I love telling stories, and I would say that writing and illustrating for children is not really different from writing or illustrating for adults. The plots might be more complicated, but the messages and connections with the reader are the same. That is why children and adults share joy when experiencing a book together.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Rachel Isadora, quoted here, about her new book — and about her career of making picture books for children, which began in the ’70s.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

Two Things Before Breakfast

h1 February 2nd, 2016    by jules

I’m gonna resort to my favorite, the rock-and-roll hands:

I’m Chicago-bound on Friday to talk about blogging at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books at National Louis University. Since 7-Imp is 10 years old this year, I could talk all day but instead have one hour to fill. If you’re in Chicago and signed up for this, come say hi. Here’s the info.


Here At Kirkus, I’m looking at The Stories in Between and “informational literacy and historical thinking.” (If you read it, you’ll see this is take-two on the column that was up for just a little while on Friday.)


I’ll be back later this week. Happy reading!

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #468: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Will Quinn

h1 January 31st, 2016    by jules


I got a postcard in the mail this week with the image above on it. It was a happy surprise and a note from a RISD graduate, named Will Quinn, who told me he reads and enjoys my blog. I was taken with the image and then visited his website to see more of his artwork.

I’m pleased that today he’s visiting 7-Imp to talk about his work and share even more art. It’s not the first Sunday of the month, when I tend to feature student or brand-new illustrators, but since I’ll be out of town next weekend at the beginning of February, I’m switching things up and posting that this week. (I will be posting next Sunday, though, for the record. Would I ever leave my kickers down? Nope.)

I see good things, and even more potential, in his illustrations. And I wasn’t at all surprised to read about his influences and the artists who inspire him.

Let’s get right to it. I thank him for visiting.

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What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, Featuring
Emily Arnold McCully, Charlotte Pardi,
Christian Robinson, and Charles Santoso

h1 January 29th, 2016    by jules

(Click to enlarge)

I’m following up today with some illustrations from the picture books I wrote about (here) at Kirkus last week. They include:

Pictured above is an image from Christian Robinson.

Enjoy the art. …

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Setting Sail with Steve Light

h1 January 26th, 2016    by jules

If I think of children’s book illustrators working today and style—that is, their manner of expression as determined by their use of line, color, shape, texture, etc.—I think author-illustrator Steve Light has one of the most distinctive styles, a you-can-spot-it-from-outer-space kind of style. In particular, his line is terrifically distinctive, and he’s visited 7-Imp several times to share his pen-and-ink sketches and artwork — and to show off those lines at my request.

Steve’s latest book is called Swap! (Candlewick), and it will be released in early February. It’s good stuff, and if you don’t believe me, trust me when I say it’s already garnered some starred professional reviews. It’s a sweet, but never saccharine, story of friendship. A young boy (the jacket flap refers to the child as “he,” though one of my daughters thought it was a girl, and I like this about that character), with a peg for a leg, sets out to cheer up a friend, a sea captain whose ship is falling apart. Through a series of barters, starting with the trade of a button for a teacup, the child helps fix up the ship for his friend. And it’s through these barters that the adventures occur and readers meet a cast of wonderful sea-side characters — from tattooed burly men drinking tea; to a get-it-done female blacksmith, forging anchors; and just about everything else in between. Read the rest of this entry »

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #467: Featuring Raúl Colón

h1 January 24th, 2016    by jules

“Sometimes in class I’d gaze at a large map that hung on the wall. …
What would it be like to look out at nothing but dark blue as far as the eye could see?”

(Click to see full spread and read text in its entirety)

Good morning, all. I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Robert Burleigh’s Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, January 2016), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

I’m following up with some art from it today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring R. Gregory Christie

h1 January 22nd, 2016    by jules

“Week in, week out, from sun to sun,
always more chores to be done.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Over at Kirkus today, I take a look at some new 2016 picture books addressing death and loss.

That is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee Books, January 2016), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. I’m following up today with some spreads from the book. Be sure to click on the column from last week to see a fourth spread there at that post.

Until Sunday …

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Shaking Up Storytimes . . .

h1 January 21st, 2016    by jules

We create art and share art, because it helps us express visions of ourselves, our values, our history, or hopes. I resist any notion that this communication must be a one-way street, given from adults on high to children below; as children encounter picture books and their stories and art, I want to empower them to critically engage with the ideas, ideologies, and representations that text and art communicate and to delight in how sharing books and talking about them can foster their own thinking and creativity.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Megan Down Lambert, pictured here, about her new book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge, 2015). If you love picture books, you will be interested in this.

That link is here today.

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Photo of Megan used by her permission and taken by Sean P. Lambert St. Marie.