Posts Tagged With: book covers

Please Help Me Choose a Cover



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George thinks he’s on to something. I think so too–he managed, after due consideration, to choose the same cover his three-year-old picked. Unlike her dad, however, May did not voice any thoughtful insights before diving for the picture of her choice.

This has been a fascinating journey so far–and it’s just started. Here are a few more highlights from my Help-Me-Choose-a-Cover campaign:

The acting children’s librarian chose the one he’d be “most inclined” to pick off the shelf, and three out of four other staff followed his lead–without knowing what he’d chosen.

I was intrigued by the intensity of emotion shown by the arts centre folk as they admired their favorite–they all liked the same one, and it was different from that chosen by most of the library staff.

One of arts centre people cares for a young man who uses a wheelchair. This kind woman has agreed to read Marie before it’s published with an eye to possibly endorsing it. Not always pleased with the way people treat her client, she’s looking forward to a story about a person with a disability where the disability is accommodated for, but not the focus. The animals help Marie, she helps them, and it all works. (“Until one day . . . .”)

I have at least one more library and one more arts centre on my list–we’ll see if there’s any consistency in the results. If so, perhaps there’s a trend to some kind of literary vs. visual arts split in cover preferences.

Next week I’ll be asking the kindergarten to grade twos, as well as the staff, at the after school care where I have a story circle. (Of course I’ll ask the children one at a time without letting them know how their classmates voted.) I THINK I know which one most of the kids will pick!

Cover A shows Marie and all her forest friends around the old oak tree. I’d originally hoped they could be playing tag around the tree–a popular pastime in Marie’s world–but that would have made for a much-too-busy cover.

Cover B shows Marie on a rescue mission. The workers have expelled Mr. Bee from the hive and Marie finds him languishing in the tall grass, hiding from the militant mavens of honey production.

Cover C shows Marie and Mr. Bee enjoying a game devised by my enterprising illustrator. (Don’t you love the game board?)

Which is your favorite? Please let me know in the comments below. And–if you could ask the children in your life for their opinions as well–I’d appreciate it very much.

Stay tuned.



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On-Color Stories

My mother and I were very close when I was a child, but there was one thing that always baffled me.


Yellow was her favorite color. I puzzled over this mystery–why couldn’t she see that red was prettier?

Now, as an adult, I also prefer yellow, but I think we can learn something here about children’s book covers.

There was the award-winning book I took to the day care but did not read because the children didn’t choose it. Why? I think because the cover, although attractive to an adult, was a little on the dark side.

This cover has some dark blue, but I think its intensity, along with the judicious use of light and the mood the contrast evokes (not to mention the subject matter), are what put it at the top.

wolf's coming big

Then there was the book with the pretty pastel cover–it didn’t get chosen till I put it between two stories the children had already heard.

However, this one was picked the first time:

Best Sheepdog

On the basis of this and other storytimes, I conclude that color is highly significant,

Doctor Hippo

but that cute trumps color. Size matters, too–large books seem more attractive, and the artists may be able to get away with lighter colors.

This book, large in real life, was a popular choice.

Edge Forest

Coralie and I went back and forth about the color of Tina’s dress. I’m no longer into fire engine red and thought pink might be cliché, but I do like the pink/red family. We finally settled on this shade, with my granddaughter Tina choosing Katie Kat’s colors.

29 Tina Hugs KK 300 ppi

On the sage advice of a toddler, we went with purple for the dress under construction. Coralie came up with the gold for Tommy’s shirt.

My next book, Marie and Mr. Drone, stars a little girl who lives in a cabin in the woods and plays with her forest friends. The story takes place in the fall–the artist’s favorite season for obvious reasons. Coralie plans to create a couple of outfits for Marie, and my granddaughter Tina will choose the one she likes the best. Whatever she chooses, I’m sure Coralie will have colored it to complement fall’s beauty.

We trust it will also appeal to the eyes of a child.

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Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover? Seriously?

Let’s start with The Blizzard by Betty Ren Wright, a tale with a 4.1-star rating on Goodreads. Oh oh! The children at our local day care don’t consult Goodreads . . . and they didn’t choose The Blizzard until I placed it between two books we’d already read.

Why not? I think because the cover depicts people in a blizzard. There’s plenty of action here, but not much color. Once we got into the story (which I told rather than read as most of the children were a bit young for it), they were very interested in the pictures–so much so that I had to keep telling one little girl not to block the others’ view. Indeed, it’s a sweet tale about the best birthday party ever for a boy we thought wasn’t going to have a party at all.

The librarian had recommended Kitten’s Spring for the toddlers, but I rejected it because it had no lift-the-flap pictures and, to my mind, not much of a story. Tina retrieved it from my reject pile, drawn by the pretty yellow cover with a spotted kitten, ruby-throated hummingbird, monarch butterfly, ladybug, buttercups . . . Tina told me the children would find the book exciting. And she was right.

I read the pretty spring poem to the toddlers and they croaked with the frog, clucked with the hen, scratched with the little chick, and one little girl took up the challenge of trying to wink like the little calf.

Even Bad Dog, Marley! worked with the toddlers when I told the story rather than read it. It seems that a dog drinking from the toilet has universal appeal. A little girl joined me in growling “Bad dog, Marley!” until we got to the end where (spoiler coming!) Marley saved the baby and took his rightful place with the family.

I also recommend Hug by Jez Alborough for toddlers. In just three different words (“hug” is repeated 25 times), the children accompanied a little chimp in his quest to find love.

Back to my book cover (please see the July 5 post), what do you think of the red Coralie chose for Tina’s dress and the book title? My granddaughter Tina chose orange for Katie Kat.

Come to think of it, if you’re a little kid, how else are you going to judge a book but by its cover?

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