Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tapjacketing #4 - Soup, Soup and More Soup

We have entered what I call the Sharing Days - Thanksgiving to New Year's Day - when we reflect on Big Issues like Gratitude, Generosity, and Self-Improvement (via Resolutions.)  Conversely, we have entered the trivial Let's-Be-Thrifty-With-Leftovers Days - sandwiches made of bits and pieces and this and that, sides of the last sweet pickles in the jar, soup which (here in my house, anyway) has been dubbed "Everything-And-The-Kitchen-Sink Soup." The photo below sums it up, though I don't see any random green beans or black beans (yes, black beans....) or spuds or rice or cilantro or chile verde or squash or cabbage or corn or melting parmesan.

Of course, in children's literature, it's called "Everything-And-The-Stone Soup:

So in the complicated spirit of generosity, thrift and good kids' books, I offer up this short list of bits and pieces - let's call it "Link Soup" today ( I promise, no turkey....)  Thanks to Carol Brendler, my co-blogger extraordinaire, for the heads-up on some of these.

Click on the word "Link" to be transported:

1. Link:  via Melissa Walker, some thoughts from  Cynthia Leitich Smith about the cover designs for her new book, ETERNAL. Readers are asked to say which cover they prefer (the U.S. cover is more subtle, the Australian/U.K. cover has a reclining male figure, shirtless but w/wing.) My vote goes to the U.S. cover - more intriguing and mysterious.

2.  Link: At School Library Journal, Diantha McBride writes an open letter to publishers about what she thinks librarians need to see more of, and some of her advice has to do with re-thinking jacket design. "I'd suggest that you recruit some real live fourth graders to review your mock-up covers before you make any final art decisions," says McBride. (Let me sit in on that session, please!) She also wishes that publishers would put the number on books in a series, based on reading order. Right now, for example, the Redwall books have nothing on the covers to indicate the order in which the books should be read. She cites an interesting web page where people can go to get lists of series books, in reading order.

3. Link:  If you feel like you can survive long exposure to kids' book covers from the 70's and 80's, check out Beth's blog, JUDGING THE BOOKS, which is self-described as "A time-traveling library of Young Adult books from the 70's and 80's with extremely lame cover illustrations." Amazing. Though I promised "No turkey" today, this one is filled with turkeys.

4. Link:  100 Scope Notes has a long, thorough and wonderful interview with Chad Beckerman, the art director and cover designer at Abrams Books, complete with honest opinions about recent covers he thinks are great, and insights into influences upon his own design aesthetic. 100 Scope notes is fast becoming one of my favorite sites.

5. Link: If you're interested in more about Chad Beckerman, he has his own blog, MISHAPS AND ADVENTURES, which is "Dedicated the Process and Exploration of Children's and Young Adult Book Design."

6. Link: Amazon is asking customers to vote for the Best Covers of the Year (you need an Amazon account to login and vote)  and they offer up six choices in the Children's Book category. Their choices are odd (what, no Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney? That's impossible. ) but it's kind of fun to vote. And if you click on the book covers you can find out the names of the jacket designers.

7. Link and Link  Parts 1 and 2 of an interview with Chris Papasadero of FWIS DESIGN, who is offering up 30 Covers in 30 Days for the NaNoWriMo project (National Novel Writing Month -  ending today -  congratulations to all of you who are insane enough to try to write a novel in one month.)  I can only find one page that links to 14 of the covers (Chris designed each cover based on the author's own synopsis of the story) but I think it's being updated as the covers are produced.....

8. Link:  The New York Times has a slide show about Tomi Ungerer's work as an illustrator and graphic artist. Maurice Sendak said,  “No one, I dare say, no one was as original. Tomi influenced everybody.” Phaidon has recently begun re-publishing Ungerer's wonderful books, most of which have long been out of print. 





  1. Thank you--I love seeing alternate covers for a story.

  2. yes-yes, you are quite right, i judge books by their covers... how else would i know what to read? :))

    i hope to see some inspiration around here on your blog for the sake of my work...
    hmmmm... i like it a lot...