Monday, April 23, 2012

A Happy Ending

Oh No! Time to Go! A Book of Goodbyes
Rebecca Doughty
(Schwartz and Wade/Random House, 2009)
“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” ~ Orson Welles

Dear Jacket Knack readers,

Deirdre, Patti and I have decided to suspend postings on Jacket Knack indefinitely. While our interest in children's book cover design hasn't diminished in the least, the time we have available to devote to this beloved blog has. You know how it is. Life and stuff.

On behalf of all of us, I extend a sincere thank you to all of our readers, subscribers, contributers and commenters. Your company made this a great trip!


"In the hope to meet
Shortly again, and make our absence sweet."
 ~Ben Jonson

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Faces of the Moon

“The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.”

- Frederic Lawrence Knowles

(Authors: Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay; Publisher: Barefoot Books, March 2003)

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

― Anton Chekhov

(Author: Eric Carle; Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers; August 1991)

“Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

(Author: Charles Mathes; Publisher: Illumination Arts Publishing Company; April 2003)

'“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
― Mark Twain

(Author: Devin Scilian; Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; August 2003)

“Cheap little rhymes
A cheap little tune
Are sometimes as dangerous
As a sliver of the moon.”

― Langston Hughes

(Author: Carl Sandberg; Publisher: Holiday House; September 2008)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Do You See What I See?

Ever look at a book cover and then after a second look get a whole new impression of the story? Those ah-ha moments are so satisfying. 
Pull out the binoculars and take a look, or two. 

 by Carley Moore
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012)

First impressions of the next one?
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012)
Did it flip from space travel to drug addiction as you read the whole title Beneath A Meth Moon

(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012)
The space image is hard to miss on the cover of Boy 21, and a closer look will reveal a few more vital story elements.  

 (Putnam Juvenile, 2012)
Did you see the dog? Of course you did, but doesn't the title add more interest?

(Ember, 2012)
The first two swans pop off the cover but the title helped me see the last one. 

How about you? Any double takes as you pass by the book shelves? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Face Off, Round Two: Bray v. Anderson

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to another round of Jacket Knack's Face Off. This month, we've pitted two well known, award winning authors with mixed portfolios against each other. Both Libbra Bray and M. T. Anderson write historical and contemporary fiction for young adults, and short stories too. And they've both won distinguished literary awards and honors for their works.

Let's inspect their YA covers (first edition, hardcover publication) and see what faces show up.

By Libba Bray:

Published December 9th 2003 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published August 23rd 2005 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published December 26th 2007 by Random House Children's Books

Published September 22nd 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published May 24th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Now Anderson's covers:

Published March 3rd 1997 by Candlewick

Published August 4th 1999 by Candlewick

Published September 23rd 2002 by Candlewick

Published September 12th 2006 by Candlewick Press

Published October 14th 2008 by Candlewick Press

Anderson's book covers feature more faces than Bray's do, though there are plenty of bodies found on Bray's covers. Interestingly, most of Anderson's covers are graphic or illustrated, while Bray's are more photographic. The subjects could have been modeled. (Even the cow looks real.) As with last month's face off, the female author's covers feature mostly female bodies.

Another comparison to make: the representation of history on the historical fiction jackets. Anderson's Octavian Nothing (volumes one and two) covers provide more clues as to the period through the clothes and articles like the mask that Octavian is wearing. Even the muted colors contribute to that feeling. The subjects of Bray's Gemma Doyle series are wearing old-fashioned clothes, but the level of brightness and clarity gives them a more modern feel, in my opinion. These aspects were most likely considered when the publishers were looking at the appeal to prospective readers, but that begs the question of why? Wouldn't young girls be interested in the same story if they saw more cloaks, more artifacts that represented the period of the story on the cover?

In general, Anderson's covers have a lot more details to catch a reader's eye. But, maybe the reasoning is simply related to the audience: girls are usually more avid readers, while boys tend to be more reluctant readers. Publishers don't have to work as hard to entice a girl to open a book. Could the answer be so simple?

Monday, March 26, 2012

They're Entitled

Life: An Exploded Diagram
by Mal Peet
(UK Edition, Walker, 2011)
 When the title is the cover . . . for the most part . . .
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett,
illus. by Jon Klassen
(HarperCollins, March 2012)
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
(Little, Brown, 2011)

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins
(Houghton Mifflin, 2011)

My Name Is Mina by David Almond
(Delacorte, 2011)

The New Kid by Mavis Jukes
(Knopf, 2011)

Lost in the Toy Museum by David Lucas
(Walker, 2011)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Touch Of Irish

To get us in the mood for Saturday's focus on Irish culture, here are a few covers from the Emerald Isle.

 Sally Go Round the Stars
by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy, with Claire Ranson (O'Brien Press, 2011)

There's a variety of interesting covers to be found at the publishers Little Island. Here's a sample:

 (Little Island, 2012)

(Little Island, 2011) 

by Elizabeth O'Hara
(Little Island, 2011)

by Mark O'Sullivan
(Little Island, 2010)

Let St. Patrick's Day be an excuse to have a look at some more Irish books. I'm sure you'll like what you see. Slainte!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Attitude and Elastic

The Mighty Miss Malone
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Wendy Lamb Books, 2012
The girl on this cover spends no time feeling sorry for herself. She is not to be trifled with. This girl isn't afraid to break the rules, if it means doing the right thing. She talks back to adults and knows more about life than most girls her age. She is eternally optimistic, strong and resilient. Can't you tell?

I wrote that having not yet read this novel, and with only a scant idea of the book's premise. I wrote it before reading this lukewarm-at-best review by Betsy Bird at the Fuse #8 Production blog. Apparently, Deza isn't quite as take-charge as the cover image suggests.

But I still love this cover. The muted blue-green background and the luminosity of Deza's skin jump out at you from across the bookstore. The way she is turning back to give you that Look--irresistible. Maybe she's about to tell you something. Maybe she doesn't have to tell you; maybe you just know from her expression.

Even if this model does have elastic in her sleeves, which, according to Betsy's source, would be unlikely during the Depression, I still love this cover. (Why not? Elastic has been used in garment construction since the 1820s. Was it scarce? Too expensive?)

I'll even go so far as to say that I'm not sure there's elastic in there, anyway--the sleeve could be gathered with a tied cord which isn't very visible under the author's name. No? Look at the photo on the Audiobook download edition, where the sleeve hem is more visible. I can't tell for sure.

Enough about elastic.

Except, did you know that Samuel Clemens invented and patented an elastic bra strap?

OK, no more elastic. Instead, this question for you, readers:

  • Have you read The Mighty Miss Malone yet? What's your take on Deza? Does the cover do her justice?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Face Off!

I stopped at a Barnes & Noble recently, and as always, ended up perusing the YA section. Here's what I found:

I wonder if you notice what I noticed. Check out that bottom row (if you can see it in my lousy picture): all books by male authors. See any faces? Me neither.

Not all books written by women have faces or body parts on their covers. But far fewer books by men feature faces or body parts on the front. Why? Wouldn't a pretty face sell a book written by a man as well as an obscure graphic?

Take a look at the first hardcover publication covers of John Green's books:

One in five has a face on it. An interesting note: The Paper Towns paperback edition swapped the girl's face for a pushpin and a map, while the Abundance of Katherines featured the top half of a girl's face instead of the row of colorful silhouettes.

Now let's look at a similar author, Maureen Johnson. Both of these authors' stories feature quirky characters, mysteries riddled with riddles, and even a road trip or two. Here are Johnson's recent covers (again, the first hardcover publications):

One in five does not have a face (or at least part of a face). Bodies and more bodies. Maureen's newest (below) at least has a man in addition to the woman.

Is there some scientific evidence that faces on covers sell more books? If that's so, wouldn't half a face on a cover sell half as many books? Maybe I suffer from a touch of coprophobia--an irrational fear of faces--and that's why I notice this so much. It's possible.

What do these covers say about authors and genders? If I had picked two different authors, would we see the same trends? One way to find out: stay tuned for another Face Off! next month, right here at JacketKnack.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hearts On Our (Jacket) Sleeves

Hearts are decorating store windows and classroom walls. Quite a few have been popping up on book covers too. 

Some are sugary sweet:

Published by Egmontusa, 2011

Published by HarperCollins, 2010                        Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

And some hearts send messages: 

 by Arliama Tibensky
(Simon Pulse, 2011)

Published by Speak, 2004

Published by Walker & Company, 2011

Which cover do you *heart* ?
Let us know, we love your comments.