OPINION

At the Library with Nancy Middaugh

Hamburg Reporter

Book jackets entice readers

The dust jackets on hardcover books are the publisher’s first attempt to catch a potential reader’s attention. Whether the designer uses bright colors, interesting drawings, variations in font style and size, or photographs, the magnetism of the cover has an individual picking the book up.

Dust jackets designs may be by the author or illustrator or come from the skills of specialized studios.

Normally the title is on the front cover and the spine, but a children’s book the Hamburg Public Library recently acquired only has the drawing of a simple home. The title “A House,” the author’s name Kevin Henkes, and a puppy dog are on the back! The simple story answers the question—what makes a house a home?

Illustrated by author Tomie dePaola, the jacket of “Christina’s Carol” features the title in red foil, angels and a woman with a pen studying a nativity scene. The cover makes one think Christmas. DePaola died in 2020, and in this his last picture book, the author features poet Christina Rossetti and the classic Christmas carol she wrote, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

A sail boat decked out with Christmas lights sits under a sky bright with fireworks on the cover of the latest Nicholas Sparks’ novel. The title “The Wish” is added with blue brush strokes. The legacy of first love and the decisions that haunt us forever are brought to life as readers meet Maggie Daws, a renowned travel photographer.

No doubt about the season featured in Fern Michaels new book “Santa Cruise.” On the cover, snowflakes, Christmas ornaments, and a snow globe holding a cruise ship plus the title in shiny red foil promise joy and fun. Four friends embark on a holiday singles cruise in the author’s latest release.

The cover of a Stuart Woods novel always features his name and lets the reader immediately know the book is a part of his Stone Barrington series. In the case of “Foul Play,” the bright lights of New York City give hint to the site of Stone’s latest cat and mouse game.

The photographs on another acquisition will make your mouth water and entice you to bake--one can almost smell the freshly sliced bread. “Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Baking Cookbook” features cookies, bars, cakes, pies and pastries, in addition to muffins and bread.

From the drawing of the wide-eyed trio on the cover of “How to Train Your Dad,” junior readers can tell Gary Paulsen has created another humor-filled adventure. In this case, Carl wants to transform his free-thinking father and uses a puppy-training pamphlet to guide him.

Next time you’re in the library, notice how your attraction to a certain book is often the result of the creativity of the individuals responsible for the dust jackets.

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