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 -->-->