Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Covers I Heart

Favorites of 2011--Part Three--Carol's Picks

Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks
(FSG-BYR, 2011)

Four things that attract me to a book's cover:

1. Originality. How many photos of body parts will it take before the book-buying public and cover designers tire of it?

2. Kid Appeal. Sure, this is guesswork, but I try to choose covers that I think will draw the eyes of children and teens when they browse the shelves.

3. Graphic Appeal. Use of shape, form, negative space, etc. which create visually stimulating covers.

Wither (Book I of the Chemical
Garden Trilogy)
by Lauren DeStefano
(Simon and Schuster BYR, 2011)
4. Cuteness. Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for cute. Can't resist a mouse in a traveling suit. (See Richard Peck's latest, below.)

Love the way Wither's cover (above) incorporates both soft ruffles and clean, geometric lines.

Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck
Illus. Kelly Murphy
(Dial, 2011) 

Another clever cover from author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers incorporates both depth and whimsy.
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
(Philomel, 2011)

This one (below) is just as visually clean and delightful inside as it is on the cover:

Just a Second: a Different Way
to Look at Time
by Steve Jenkins
(Houghton-Mifflin, 2011)

Next year (next week), YOUR favorite covers of 2011! There's still time to tell us some of your faves in the comments below.

Wishing you happy reading in 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fantasy Favorites

As I perused the covers of many new releases for 2011, I started to make a list. When I reviewed my selections, I chastised myself for picking so many YA fantasy covers. Then, face-palm... hello. There's a reason I'm the "fantasy correspondent." So, never mind everything else. Here are my fantasy favorites for 2011.

I've been eyeing this one up for a while... wondering if I could work it into a post. The contrast between the translucent and solid body on this caught my attention, along with the shading of the sky and the water. Beautiful!

Published June 7th 2011 by HarperCollins

This one is simple yet eye catching. I love the way the light seems to shine through the egg.

Published April 26th 2011 by Balzer + Bray

I would love a dozen of these roses. (Could someone please let my husband know?) The bright colors on the deep black background draws me in.

Published March 8th 2011 by Simon Pulse

Published June 2nd 2011 by Orchard

No, not just because my favorite color is purple. On first glance, I thought this face was underwater. Then I focused on grass--or hair--or vines. I can't decide what is twisting its way across this cover, but I like the effect.

For some reason, I love eyes on book covers. Are we supposed to see one on this middle grade cover? The elements come together to give the impression of an eye...

Published June 21st 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

I've enjoyed this year in book covers, and I hope you, Dear Readers, have too. Wishing you all a very happy 2012!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rolling Out The Favorites of 2011

Can you believe we are nearing the end of 2011? Reflecting back on the year in book covers was fun but challenging to pick just a few favorites.

For "cute" my favorite is Little Owl's Night. How can any one resist those big eyes?

Published by Penguin Group USA, Inc.

I can't help but feel like I am floating up in the air whenever I see this cover. And the e.e. cummings style title is appealing too.

 Published by Wendy Lamb Books, 2011

The next two YA are favorites because they are not typical.  
Great kaleidoscope effect. 

Poppy 2011

Does this one remind anyone of a YA version of the Giving Tree?

 by Nely Cab, Published by Author House, 2011

My top pick for 2011? That's easy:

Jacket design by Christine Kettner; Sunset image copyright Corbis
Published by Sandpiper, 2011

Send in your favorites! Don't worry, you don't have to pick just one. We'll post them all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Best of 2011 ~~ Your Turn, Readers!

 As the year winds down, the three of us will be posting our favorite children's and young adult book covers published in 2011. Woo.

But we want to know yours. Double woo!

Your mission: Post the titles/authors/illustrators of your favorites of 2011 (how about the top five?) in the comments here and we'll compile them into a gorgeous, celebratory post in January. Can't wait to see what you've seen!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I'm Big! by Kate and Jim McMullan
(Balzer and Bray, 2010)
And how was your weekend? If you live in the U.S., it portly probably meant at least one great BIG meal, I bet. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to ponder the LARGE on our blob blog.

Kids love all things ENORMOUS, so naturally we're seeing lots of plus-size animals on picture book covers.

OK, so technically, Lane Smith's elephant is not a representation of an animal. It is a shrub, I know. But still.
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook, 2011)
Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems
by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Illus. Magan Halsey and Sean Addy
(Clarion, 2011)

Have you seen the little piggies?

Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak
(HarperCollins, 2011)

Oink by Arthur Geisert and
many other pig-themed books
(a personal favorite~C.B.)
(Walter Lorraine Books, 1991)

Hogwash! by Karma Wilson
Illus. by Jim McMullan (see also I'm Big! above)
(Little, Brown, 2011)

Mooove it or lose it.

Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig
Illus. Marc Brown
(Knopf, 2011)

By Fiona Ross
(Candlewick, 2011)
 Porcine pets:

Retold by Margaret Read MacDonald
Illus. Julie Paschkis
(August House, 2001)

by Frans Vischer
(Aladdin, 2011)

See also these photos of the inspiration for Fuddles!

Now howsabout a pot-bellied pug:

by Jennifer Sattler
(Bloomsbury, 2010)

And two pudgy buddies:

by Peter McCarty
another personal fave~C.B.
(Henry Holt, 2002)
 Feeling guilty now? Perhaps a few sit-ups . . . ?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winding Down

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

The year winds down... and so do these covers. Before we pause to reflect on the year, let us pause and reflect on time, as seen in (and on) book covers.

(HarperTeen: First Edition hardcover edition, March 2004)

Look closely...
(CreateSpace: August 2010)

(St. Martin's Griffin: First Edition hardcover edition, May 2010)

(Ronsdale Press: First edition, September 1999)

(MacmillanTorkids, November 1997)

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 1st edition, March 2006)

"Time ripens the substance of a life as the seasons mellow and perfect its fruits. The best apples fall latest and keep longest."


Monday, November 14, 2011

Dark Days

November is a dark month, especially since daylight savings time made dusk arrive before dinner time. Thus the inspiration for this post. These covers stand out without the use of colour. Not an easy feat.

The first three centre around the theme of photography and use the black and white contrasts effectively.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children uses vintage photographs throughout to capture the imagination. 
by Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books, 2011)

Click is one of my favorites. A strong black frame draws us into the lenses. 

Ten Authors contributed to this novel. 
designed by Phil Falco
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007)

by Kimberly Marcus 
(Random House for Young Readers, 2011)

by Sheila Kelly Welch (Namelos, 2011)

And a touch of colour in the last cover. What does it suggest to you? Is there hope that the dark days will soon be over?

Have you been drawn to any other book covers that don't rely on colour to attract? Let us know and we'll post some more.

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who commented on Patti's giveaway post, "Clever Covers." We randomly drew the winner from the comments, and that winner is --


Bigfoot's copy of My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson will go in the mail, forthwith. Congratulations, Mr. Foot!

More giveaways are in the works. Stay tuned, Knackers.

Scratchboards and Woodcuts: The Work of Illustrator Beth Krommes

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
by Joyce Sidman,
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
(Houghton Mifflin, 2011)
If an illustrator would cut wood . . 
It's been a while since we've featured a single illustrator's work on Jacket Knack, and it's time we did. High time. I've chosen the work of Beth Krommes, winner of the 2009 Caldecott Award for the House in the Night (far below). More recently, she has illustrated a book of poetry for children, Swirl by Swirl, by well known poet Joyce Sidman. I have a fondness for books with small, slimy critters on their covers so this one drew my eye right away. But there's more, such a tidy composition of swirls going on here--it's alive with motion.
Ms. Krommes works in different media depending, I suppose, on the desired effect. The woodcuts and casein paintings on her website are a delight for the eyes--and I have to say, her woodcut illustrations are better at modeling--creating the full, rounded shapes that give a subject three-dimensional form--than many other artists' woodcuts. Here's just one example of her skill. (This and other prints are available for sale on her site--just saying.):

"Baby in a Car Seat"
A woodcut by Beth Krommes
see her websitefor more information 

Pattern and form. She's a good woodcutter. Most of Krommes' children's books, however, are illustrated in a slightly different technique called scratchboard. More about scratchboard here. Here's one example. Again, pattern and form, pattern and form and a nice tight composition:

Grandmother Winter by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
(Houghton Mifflin, 1999)
Does it remind you at all of The Little House? It does me.

Below, her cover for the 2009 Caldecott winner! It's easy to see why the scratchboard technique was used for this cover artwork:

The House in the Night
by Susan Marie Swanson,
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
(Houghton Mifflin, 2009)

And there you have it. Well, some of it. There's a lot more to feast on at the artist's website.
Question for you, ladies and gentlemen: Were you already familiar with the work of Beth Krommes? Please take a sec to let us know, using the poll featured in up the right-hand column -->-->

Monday, October 31, 2011


Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
by Adam Rex
(Harcourt, 2006)
Greetings, eye candy lovers! We have chosen the obvious for today's post: All Hallow's Eve covers. These are all Halloween books in verse (or of verse), yet they differ vastly from one another in style and subject matter. No copycats here--that's as plain as the wart on a witch's nose.

This witch apparently does not know that black robes are expected, and that they are also slimming:

By the Light of the Halloween Moon
by Caroline Stutso
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
(reprinted by Marshall Cavendish, 2009)

Halloween Night positively glows:

Halloween Night
by Marjorie Dennis Murray
Illus. Brandon Dorman
(Greenwillow, 2010)

More clever covers--monsters, ghosts and witches!

There Was an Old Monster
by the Emberleys
(Orchard, 2009)

Three Little Ghosties
by Pippa Goodhart
Illus. by Annalaura Cantone
(Bloomsbury, 2007)

Which Way to Witch School?
by Scott Santoro
(Harper, 2010)
May your Halloween be full of the stuff nightmares are made of.