Endpapers on Parade


Alison Morris - November 25, 2008

I’m a big fan of unusual endpapers. I love opening to a book to be surprised by some unexpected piece of artwork or intricate pattern. A year ago, Drawn posted a link to a fantastic online collection, to which you’re encouraged to upload others and add them to the mix. What follows are some of endpapers I’ve admired in recent years.

Note: A few of these endpapers are ones I scanned months ago, before I’d learned how to resize a photo in the blog tool and link it to a larger version, so you’ll have to settle for seeing those in their small sizes here. The scans that have a blue line around them, though, are ones you can click on and view larger. (Ah, technology…) In many cases the books were larger than even Gareth’s big scanner, so what you see is what I could fit on the scanner bed!

First: a few examples of books that have the same clever endpapers in both the front and the back. One of these is Squirrelly Gray by James Kochalka (Random House, August 2007). You’re seeing one half (i.e. one sheet) of the front end papers here. I wish Random House or James Kochalka would license this pattern to a giftwrap company as I would LOVE to wrap these bushy-tailed, buck-toothed beauties around people’s birthday presents!

I like these colored pencil sketches on lined paper from The Sounds Around Town by Maria Carluccio (Barefoot Books, February 2008).

I love the floaty feeling generated by the endpapers for I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry (Dial, May 2007).

And now, a selection of endpapers that are NOT the same in the book’s front and back. Here, for example, are the endpapers to The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Meilo So (Knopf, March 2006). I don’t know whose idea it was to show these patterns and textures up close (which is not in keeping with the interior artwork, where no images have this level of "zoom"), but I LOVE IT.

Next up, the endpapers from When I Grow Up by Sandy Turner (HarperCollins, April 2003) which is now out of print in the U.S., sadly. (Interesting sidenote: until I was adding links to this post I didn’t know that Sandy Turner was a pen name for artist/illustrator David Hughes.)

Here are the front endpapers of Velma Gratch & the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes (Random House/Schwartz & Wade, October 2007).

And here are the back endpapers of the same book, showing a fitting progression from the front.

I love, love, love Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum (also published by Schwartz & Wade, January 2008) by the remarkable Robert Andrew Parker, who just turned 80 this year. Note that the endpapers at the front of the book give you the perspective of a concert hall crowd, whereas those at the back give you the perspective of a musician at a dance hall. 

And here’s a clever way to print the endpapers in your next F&G, as HarperCollins did for the F&G of Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss. Can’t read what the fly is saying below? It’s "I can’t wait for you to see my really fun endpapers!"

Have you seen any great endpapers in the recent or more distant past? If so, tell us what books we should open to find them.

12 thoughts on “Endpapers on Parade

  1. TK

    It’s not a children’s book, but the endpapers for MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM… by Karen Robert are pretty funny. Alison, let me know if you’d like me to send you a copy!

    Reply
  2. Wordgardener

    What about Mo Willems? His Elephant and Piggy books feature not only elephant (Gerald) and Piggy (Piggy) but also The Pigeon, and Knuffle Bunny in his Pigeon books! I adjective Mo Willems!!!

    Reply
  3. Kendra Marcus

    Great collection you’ve gathered. Also take a look at the endpapers of Jane Wattenberg’s HENNY PENNY published by Scholastic in 2000. They ‘frame’ the book in a wonderfully original way!

    Reply
  4. Andrew Porter

    Gave you ever seen the endpapers on the early editions of the Winston YA science fiction books? Wonderful montages by Alex Schomburg showing giant robots, undersea scenes, alien tentacled creatures… Great stuff in the 1950s.

    Reply

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