Fuse #8 (AKA Elizabeth Bird), who blogs for SLJ (AKA School Library Journal) is the Queen Bee of kidlit bloggers, posting news and views on children’s books from the heart of New York City on a daily -- usually twice daily -- basis. I, on the other hand, work out of the midwest and am lucky to eke out two blogs a week. Nevertheless, for a long time I aspired to become the King Bee of kidlit bloggers. Then I remembered that there aren’t any King Bees in the hive. In fact, the male bees are called drones. What a letdown! Still, I remain competitive and try to keep up the best I can. I discovered sometime back that Fuse #8’s first blog of the day always goes online at 2:00 AM, so many nights I delay turning off my computer until that time. I sit there, drumming my fingers on my desk and looking at the clock:
Finally it’s 2:00 AM, and I click on the SLJ site for a dose of children’s book fact and opinion. This morning’s informative blog contained a discussion of endpapers, and Fuse #8 concluded with, “Think we can convince Peter from Collecting Children's Books to post some of his own collection's beauties?”
Of course you can.
In fact, instead of sleeping in till 7:30 AM...or 7:45 AM or oh-my-gosh-I’m-gonna-be-late-for-work AM, this morning I found myself jumping out of bed at 6:15 AM , standing on my tiptoes in my pajamas, pulling down books from my tallest shelves in order to find some endpapers worth posting.
I'm not usually up that early (in fact, I’m NEVER up that early), but I am ALWAYS up for a challenge.
So here are a few endpapers from past Newbery Honor Books that I wanted to share. You can click on the images to get a larger, more detailed view.
First up is Warwick Goble’s endpaper illustration from TOD OF THE FENS by Elinor Whitney, published by Macmillan in 1928. I like the border design especially:
Erick Berry, who won a Newbery Honor herself for WINGED GIRL OF KNOSSOS, did these endpapers for THE APPRENTICE OF FLORENCE by Anne D. Kyle, published by Houghton in 1933. Amazing detail! I almost want to hunt for Waldo in this intricate illustration:
Anne Parrish created both the text and illustrations for FLOATING ISLAND (Harper, 1930) and both text and illustrations appear on these endpapers, so big I had to scan them separately and put them side-by-side here:
I particularly like the facial expressions and stances of the characters in this endpaper illustration created by future Newbery winner Marguerite De Angeli for MEGGY MACINTOSH by Elizabeth Janet Gray, which was published by Doubleday in 1930:
Dorothy Bailey Morse contributed this frontier landscape endpaper illustration to TREE OF FREEDOM by Rebecca Caudill (Viking, 1949):
And Kate Seredy (another future Newbery winner herself) provided this atmospheric illustration to the endpapers of WINTERBOUND by Margery Biano, published by Viking in 1936:
You’ll notice that all of the above endpapers were produced over fifty years ago.
Here’s another Newbery Honor from my collection, circa 1998. It’s Richard Peck’s LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, but the actual title doesn’t really matter. Nearly EVERY Newbery Honor of the past few decades looks just like it:
These kind of bland, interchangable and, well, dronelike endpapers make me long for the “good old days” when opening the front cover of a children’s book and seeing beautifully-illustrated endpapers made an everyday experience extraordinary.