Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Are Here

A little about perspective and composition on book covers. There's so much that can be done to draw attention to a book, as long as you're lucky enough to have the bookseller display it with the cover image visible. Just think about where the viewer stands in relation to the images on the covers of these kids' and young adult books.
Firehouse! by Mark Teague (Scholastic, 2010). How low can you go? Awesome.
The Barrel in the Basement by Barbara Brooks Wallace, illustrated by Sharon Wooding (BackinPrint edition, originally published by Atheneum in 1985). We the viewers are looking down from above, which accentuates their diminutive size.
Guardian of the Dead (the U.S. hardcover) by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 2010) We are practically lying on this creature's chest. Low and inside.
Ed Young's Moon Bear, written by Brenda Guiberson (Holt, 2010). It would be so easy for this bear to appear menacing, the way he looms over us. But he doesn't seem too scary. Right?
I think I've posted this before, but talk about a bird's eye perspective. Change-up by sportswriter John Feinstein (Yearling reprint edition, 2010).

Hey, back off. Three's a crowd. You can almost smell their Dentyne Ice. This is Return the Paradise by Simone Elkeles, coming out in September (Llewellyn Worldwide).
This is a close-up. Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin, illustrated by Zachary Pullen (Sleeping Bear Press, 2009)

From above and in tight. A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by awesome Kevin Hawkes. Coming out in September.
A long shot, taken from just below eye level. Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. A refreshing angle in a world of close-ups of body parts. Love the duck. Published by MTV (really?!) in 2009.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wool You Read to Me?

Feeding the Sheep, Leda Schubert
(FSG, 2010)
Sorry about the title for this post, but there's something about yarn and knitting that brings out the pun-ishment in people. This weekend, I spent way too much time attending a knitting convention when I should have been writing this post. Yet even among the worsteds and the arans offered by vendors, there were children's books. Books about sheep and wool and yarn and knitting.

Here's a sampling of just a few of the yarn-related picture book covers on the shelves:

Are you up for counting sheep?

How about cats?



Maybe a spider?

 And what exactly are these anyway? Rabbits? I think they're rabbits.

Later: Leda Schubert (author of Feeding the Sheep) adds: "For anyone interested in further adventures in wool and knitting, I'll be at the huge New York State Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY, the weekend of October 16. Should be phenomenal--I think it's the biggest in the country!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Glowing Things

How to Lure a Fantasy Reader into a Story:

Give them something glowing. An endowed object. A mystery… but not just a mystery, a supernatural mystery. Something intriguing. This week’s covers feature things that made me stop and say ooooooh!

This one was the first to catch my eye:

100 CUPBOARDS by N. D. Wilson (Random House, December 2007).

The lure of ‘the glow’ continued on the covers to the sequels in the series:

DANDELION FIRE (Random House,February 2009) and

THE CHESTNUT KING (Random House, January 2010).

More glowing things:

THE WIZARD HEIR by Cinda Williams Chima (Hyperion, April 2007),

THE DEMIGOD FILES by Rick Riordan (Hyperion, February 2009),

and, oooooh, check this out:

The new ARTEMIS FOWL e-book jacket (Disney Books, August 2009).

(Quite an improvement over the original cover, in my opinion. Anyone agree?)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Look! The Queen!

At a reader's suggestion, I've been on a mission searching diligently for the Queen. Or rather a cover with Queen Elizabeth II. Who knew it would be so difficult. She's all over Canadian money but apparently not all over Canadian book covers.

Hopes were high when I read the title Canada's Queen: Elizabeth II, edited by Patti Tasko (Wiley, 2007). They were soon dashed however, when I saw the cover:
Regal, but no picture of her majesty! So I broadened the search and had some fun.
Looney Bay All Stars: Final Face Off
by Heleine Becker, ill. Sampar
(Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2008)

It's not QE II but how can you resist a monarch in the hockey stands?

Another cover seemed appropriate after previous posts about body parts. The Queen's Feet, by Sarah Ellis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic (Red Deer Press, 2006). And these feet actually are an important part of the story.

I'll keep my eyes open but it seems that Elizabeth II hasn't been around long enough to show up in children's fiction, at least not here in Canada.

I'd love to hear from readers who have found and enjoyed covers that feature royalty of any kind. A royal quest of sorts. Here's a favourite with a not so typical princess to start it off:

by Robert Munsch, illus. by Michael Martchenko
(Annick Press, 1980)

Can't wait to hear from you kind lords and ladies in the kingdom of children's literature.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monsters, Floods, Mermaids, and a Great Dane

It is August and we musn't keep you from enjoying the final days of your lazy, hazy summer, must we? Must not we?

I offer up the following for your consideration: Three quite different covers with similar compositions. Well, kind of. Try squinting at them:

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks, YA (Harcourt, 2010, originally published in UK with a different cover)

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards, a YA historical novel in verse (Knopf, 2010)
Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales retold by Naomi Lewis, with cover art and introduction by Jan Pienkowski (Puffin, 1995, 2010)
Feel free to tell me I'm crazy, but these three strike me as having the same predominant line anchoring the composition. Call it a flourish, or maybe a wave or curl or swirl, it forces the eye up from the bottom and then from side to side. It evokes a sense of motion, watery motion, fluid motion, slipperiness even. Just right for sea monsters, mermaids and flood waters.

Love that mermaid--could look at that drawing all day--thanks, Mr. P.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, now. Before you slather on that sunscreen and step into those flip-flops and head for the beach or the mall or a business meeting or wherever people go in flip-flops these days, request that you have a look at these three URLicious links, okay?
 Enjoy the week!