Any bookworm will admit it: you can
judge a book by its cover. Especially a children's book cover, which is usually created by the story illustrator and therefore gives a big taste of what's to come. In this glorious compendium of children's book covers from 1860 to 1960, readers get a veritable feast for their eyes. Beautifully arranged reproductions of the covers are captioned with brief explications of the historical and technological context of the artwork and interesting tidbits of information. Did you know that 25 years before Pat the Bunny
was published, the cover of a book called The Children's Companion
included a dog with a furry cloth body?
Painstakingly organized by decade, with additional chapters on series books, multiple covers for the same theme, shaped books, back covers, and more, the book surveys the broad spectrum of picture book cover concepts and techniques over the years. From anonymous artists to well-known illustrators such as Kate Greenaway and Dr. Seuss, and from plain, functional wrapping to elaborately embellished Victorian borders and lettering, these covers capture the history of children's literature almost as well as the text within. In addition to carefully tracing the evolution of this unique art form, From Mother Goose to Dr. Seuss will make an exquisite addition to the collection of any artist, parent, art historian, graphic designer, collector, or avid reader. --Emilie Coulter
Children's book covers from 1880 to 1960 are collected by Harold Darling in From Mother Goose to Dr. Seuss. -- Vanity Fair
Darling, who has collected children's books for more than 30 years, draws from his own holdings to survey the art of cover illustration. The text is organized chronologically with chapters for each decade from the 1850's through the 1950s. A brief introduction to each chapter discusses trends in book and cover design evident in the selections that follow. The focus here is on the art itself: the more than 200 jackets displayed include work by such celebrated children's illustrators as Edward Ardizzone, Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Maurice Sendak. In addition to the chronological survey, Darling includes some fascinating thematic chapters, such as one comparing multiple covers of the same story (Hansel and Gretel, for example). This visually stunning survey will be a browsing delight for anyone with an interest in children's-book illustration. -- Booklist