Covers You Remember

Cindy: I’m still digesting carbs from all the cookies I’ve consumed in the past week, but I am also chewing on the Cover Story blog post over at Booklists’ Book Group Buzz blog. Neil Hollands asks us to think about book covers that trigger memories or are iconic. I left a comment there this morning about how any Nancy Drew or Little House cover will take me back to my long days of childhood reading. I remember the settings of my favorite reading places…on a blanket under a maple tree in our side yard was a favorite. But the post this morning sent me to a special book case to retrieve The Silver Nutmeg by Palmer Brown (Harper & Brothers 1956).

This was a book that I checked out of my elementary school library a thousand times….give or take. Just holding it is a treat, paging through to see the intricate tiny drawings…bliss. Anna Lavinia’s father thinks she needs to have a wider point of view, so to help her, he cuts a hole in the stone fence…she throws acorns in Dew Pond but is amazed when they are thrown back at her from the water. Toby is throwing them and he takes her to a new land…and her horizons are broadened.

Anyway. Seeing the cover of this book (and the charming illustrations inside by Palmer) takes me back to Eagle Lake Elementary School library and librarian Jean Ducey…where I got my first library job as a fourth grader. The images on my e-Reader screen will never be as memorable.  And some good news? While looking for information about this book, I stumbled across this “upcoming release” note…it looks like Random House is bringing this back in April 2012. Calloo,  callay! (And, apparently I missed the Oct. 2011 reissue of the prequel, Beyond the Pawpaw Trees. I’ve never read that!)

Lynn: Our family celebration just ended.  There were 12 of us here for 4 days ranging in age from 91 to 18 months and it was wonderful even if my grandsons and I were sharing pink eye.  Anyway Cindy’s question came as I was starting to restore order to a much-too-quiet house and I immediately thought of a very special book – or actually a SET of books.  (Cindy will tell you I can never stick to a number limit)  My grandfather purchased a set of books called My Book House edited by Olive Beaupre’ Miller for my father when he was born.  He gave them to me when I was old enough to treat them carefully.  There are six volumes and I adored them.  The set is a collection of classic fairy tales, legends, myths, poems and songs and I read them over and over again.  The set was published in 1920 so it was pretty fragile when I shared them with my sons and now, 91 years old and going strong, the books are loved also by my grandsons.  We are working our way together through the stories and sometimes while we sit together with the books, I get such a lump of emotion I can hardly read!  The pages are a little yellowed and have to be turned with care but the stories are still enchanting.  Just the sight of that green binding and gold lettering is enough to bring back a feeling of a hot summer day, the slightly scratchy fabric of my reading chair and the blissful certainty that I held magic in my hands.  Sigh!  It’s a treasure I’m hoping to hand on.

So…what cover art triggers a strong memory in you?



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Covers You Remember"

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  1.' nelly says:

    Hi, can i ask you something? I’m looking for children books with “scary” animal illustrations like Wolf (or fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance. Great blog, by the way!


  2.' Constance Vidor says:

    I almost fell off my chair when I saw the cover of The Silver Nutmeg! This is wonderful news that it is being re-issued. Palmer Brown has a tiny, exquisite body of work. His muses are E. B. White and Lewis Carroll. Something for Christmas is about a young mouse’s search for the perfect gift for his mother. Cheerful is about a country mouse’s sojourn in the city. Hickory, Brown’s last book, is about a mouse’s generous, poignant friendship with a grasshopper. Brown’s books show that whimsical, delicate works hold up the big themes of love, courage, and friendship as well as any muscle man.

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