Monday, July 26, 2010

What Has 24 Legs . . . and Is Crawling Down Your Screen?

Gentle Readers:
Please, I beg of you, do NOT miss this post about book covers on the "ShelfTalker" blog. Elizabeth has compiled massive groups of book covers by trend. Snipped from the comments:
". . . this much similarity has two effects: 1) on the plus side, they do target their intended readers pretty directly, if unoriginally, and so are good for impulse buys; 2) on the negative side, how can teens tell if they’ve already read that book if it looks exactly like another?"
Good stuff, no? And now, we present today's post about . . . LEGS. Lotsa legs. Twenty-four, in fact, not counting the pug.

leg n. 
a. A limb or an appendage of an animal, used for locomotion or support.
b. One of the lower or hind limbs in humans and primates.
The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Dial, 2010
c. The part of the limb between the knee and foot in vertebrates.
d. The back part of the hindquarter of a meat animal.
The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad (Penguin Paperback, 2007)
 All of these are girls' legs. Has anyone seen any boy leg covers? Do note the brown skin (however scant) on the model for this next one:
Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez (Little, Brown, 2009)
Lynn Visible, Julia DeVillers (Dutton, 2010)
Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking in a recent issue from Puffin (2005)
Step aside, Pippi. You've got competition. What hath thou wrought? Wacky socks=good middle grade book cover?

Here's one of the leg shots in Melissa J. Morgan's Camp Confidential series from Penguin:

Topsy Turvy (#24)
(Cute slippers.) Still all girls. Wonder if hairy legs don't sell books. Dunno. There seems to be no end of girl legs, though. How about this one:
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff (BX/HarperCollins, 2009)
 And this set of legs sprouting from a balloon bouquet:

11 Birthdays, Wendy Maas. (Scholastic, 2009)
Wait! Can it be? I found BOY LEGS!!:
Best (Boy)friend Forever, #9
Oh, thank you Camp Confidential #9.

I don't wish to say a lot about these covers, except maybe that they work better for me than a photo of a face would, since these could be almost any kids' legs. Their faces are left to our imagination. (Still requesting more brown skin, though.)

Any more leg covers out there, readers? How about comments about the effectiveness of lower limb imagery?
A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Linda Urban (Harcourt, 2007) Thanks, David!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Unexpected Ordinary

Bodies, body parts, and dragons--the usual subjects of fantasy book covers. It's hard to find a fantasy book that doesn't feature a face, a person, or an illustration of the title. But, in my recent browsing through the fantasy section, a few covers caught my eye. Their jackets featured common items that I didn't necessarily expect to show up on fantasy book jackets:

A pin—so simple, yet representative of a whole fantasy world.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2008)

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple’s Pay The Piper (Starscape, 2006)

is more musical than the average fairy tale book cover.

This is probably the only hammer that I came across in my fantasy-book browsing.

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, 2009)

Half fantasy or half reality?

Fade by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2010)

And this one made me want to read it simply to figure out what the heck that object is:

Love the colors and the intricate design, but what is it? An apple? A heart? A globe?

The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint (Firebird, 2002)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Canadian Variety

As promised, I've gathered a sample of Canadian covers that have successfully avoided hockey & canoe stereotypes. Two old favorites include Red Is Best by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis (Annick Press, 1988),

and the Mole Sisters series by Roslyn Schwartz (Annick Press). Her books offer sweet covers that are little works of art.
But not all great Canadian book covers come from decades past. Here are some from not so long ago that highlight the variety of styles you can find in Canadian children's books.
Dragonfly Kites
by Tomson Highway and illustrated by Brian Deines (2002).

In middle grade reading, Ange Zhang uses computer graphic design techniques to create an animation style cover for his novel Red Land Yellow River (Groundwood 2004).

A simple yet thought provoking cover appears on Sarah N. Harvey's YA novel Plastic (Orca Book Publishers, 2010).

I'll continue to share interesting covers from Canadian authors, although I'm having a tough time finding a good Canadian book cover featuring the Queen. I did find one to meet the request for a British Columbian style salmon run. It's by well respected Canadian scientist David Suzuki and talented author Sarah Ellis, with beautiful illustrations by Sheena Lott (Greystone Books, 2003).

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Clowder of Cats

Like a graceful vase, a cat, even when motionless, seems to flow. - George F. Will

When it comes to picture books, look no further than your very own backyard and the popular, ever-appealing image of the feline.

First we have the Zoom books by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by Eric Beddows (Groundwood/Akadine Press):


Pounce de Leon, also by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrator, Alfredo Tapia (Red Deer Press, 2008)

The Cat at Night by Dahlov Ipcar (Doubleday, 1969) See more of his stunning artwork.

Ursula LeGuin's Cat Dreams, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Scholastic, 2009)

Mimi's Dada Cat-ifesto by Shelley Jackson (Clarion, 2010)

Cat's Night Out by Caroline Stutson, illustrated by J. Klassen (Simon and Schuster, 2010)

Magic Night by Australian author, Isobelle Carmody, illustrated by Declan Lee (Random House, 2007)

Cats and night seem to go together. Curious, yes? No, not really.

Now I suppose I shall have to put together a post of a kennel of dogs.