The quaint cover of The Giving Tree, with its loosely sketched lines, speaks to the quiet power of the story. Regardless of what you think of the book’s mildly macabre message –- selflessness comes at a cost –- there’s no refuting that its packaging elegantly matches its themes.
Although there’s value in the mantra that we repeat to children about judging books by their covers, there’s also joy to be had when an illustration perfectly conveys the spirit of a story. This is the basis for Martin Salisbury's new collection, humbly titled 100 Great Children's Picturebooks. A designer, he's focused more on the look of the books than the tales they hold, and has selected those with drawings influenced by everything from Romanticism to Futurism.
Salisbury's selection includes works from around the world, the only criteria being that they were published within the last 100 years. The result is a blend of minimalist designs from Germany, Baroque-inspired frills from France, and soft pastels of Maurice Sendak. The cover of Praia-Mar, a 2011 book from Portugal, is adorned with bold shapes and angular, sunburnt bathers. The softer cover of Jour de neige stars a thoughtful rabbit gazing out a window at a snowy scene.
See these and more below, from Martin Salisbury's 100 Great Children's Picturebooks: