Student Snippets


Outsides and Insides

Because of the snow, I had a hard time getting to the library these past couple weeks. Which is only unfortunate because I'm taking a picture book class which meets once a month, and in which we need to read 120 picture books. I was planning to check out about 10 a week, but when I missed a couple weeks, I ended up checking out about 30 picture books yesterday. I was mildly embarrassed simply because I don't have any children, and, to a certain extent, I felt like I was taking away books from possible child readers.

But then I reminded myself that the bookshelves were still full even after my two bags of books were removed. In really trying to give myself over to picture books, I noticed a few things about my preferences.

I know my last post was also about picture books, but this is slightly more applicable to all books.

I've said before that I'm terrible and I totally judge books by their covers. Well, in looking at picture books, I noticed that I also judge books by their spines. It makes sense right? When books are shelved at a library, and usually even at a bookstore, the spines are what we can see. The spines have to be attractive enough, in some way, to make me grab the book off the shelf. Now because I was looking for certain illustrators, I had gone online and chosen two books per illustrator and written down their call numbers. Because it's difficult to find books by illustrator (books are shelved by authors, you know), I decided to just take whatever book I'd written down regardless of how the physical copy made me feel.

This provided some mixed results. A couple books which I thought sounded good, I did not like the illustrations of (Jethro Hyde, Fairy Child by Bob Graham, for example). A couple books which I thought sounded fine, the spines and covers were completely uninspiring, but the interior illustrations were lovely (Hercules by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon, for example). And then there were a couple books which hit all high notes for each category: spine, cover, and interior were all brilliant (Check out This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers).

Anyway, this led me to thinking about e-books, and how with e-books it all comes down to the cover. There are no spines, and often, you can't look at much of the interior. We're always told not to judge a book by its cover, but I think e-books make that adage outdated. Maybe judging a book by its cover is more expected with picture books? What do you think? Have you encountered any picture books where the outside was less than thrilling but the inside was great? Let me know!

All the Best