Tag Archives: maud and miska petersham

Beginning and Endpapers

Golden Book endpaper

When I was looking though my books from childhood, this image from the endpapers for The Golden Book of Children’s Literature, pulled me in again, just like it did when I was young. People who live to read (can you find them all?) is the world this book invites us into. And that got me thinking about the special place endpapers hold in books.

Endpapers are the opening and closing of a book. They can be as simple as a well-chosen tint of colored paper stock to set the mood, and palette of a story, or they can provide another surface for the illustrator to use in their storytelling. I like including illustrated endpapers in my books. In fact, when I was hoping to win my first picture book illustration contract, for BUZZ by Janet Wong, I included a description of the endpapers in my initial notes to the editor. She told me later that that helped convince her that I was the right artist for the job.

Some endpapers are purely decorative, yet still reflect the book’s theme, as in Maud and Miska Petersham‘s charming endpapers for The Poppy Seed Cakes, by Margery Clark.

The Poppy Seed Cakes-Petersham

And Eric Carle‘s endpapers for Bill Martin, Jr.’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (“I see a red bird looking at me.”)

Brown Bear-Carle

Others serve to book-end a story, as in this array of “photos” from Marla Frazee‘s A Couple of Boys Have The Best Week Ever.

Best Week Ever-Frazee

Best Week Ever-Frazee 2

I took this approach for my own Best Best Friends, which takes place during business hours at a preschool. The cubbies are full when everyone arrives,

BBFfirstendpaper

and empty (almost) after they leave.

BBFlastendpapers

Endpapers can also be a handy place to put interesting but extemporaneous information that could otherwise bog down the story, as in Virginia Lee Burton‘s Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel,

Mike Mulligan-Burton

plus extra funny stuff, like in Laurie Keller‘s The Scrambled States of America Talent Show.

Scrambled States Talent Show-Keller

Chris Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky instruct you on proper dining etiquette in their book, Table Manners, and use the endpapers to advertize the advantages of observance, before and after.

Table Manners-Raschka Radunsky 1

Table Manners-Raschka Radunsky 2

Some illustrators use the endpapers to extend the story to it’s fullest possible extent. In David Small‘s illustrations for Sarah Stewart‘s The Friend, they function as prelude, setting up the scene of the lonely little girl in the big house,

The Friend-Small

and as epilogue.

The Friend-Small 2

Keith Baker‘s endpapers for Hide and Snake begin and end the game where we have to find the snake hiding amidst the other patterns.

Hide & Snake-Baker 3

The colored bands continue to the title page,

Hide & Snake-Baker 1 copy

and carry through to the last page where we see that the turquoise line that reads as the ground throughout the book is actually toothpaste. Ha, fooled again!

Hide & Snake-Baker 3

And as if the rest of the book isn’t beautiful enough, Peter Sís‘s exquisite endpapers for The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin could function as separate, additional picture books in and of themselves. I mean really.

Tree of Life-Sis 1

Tree of Life-Sis 2

Unfortunately, endpapers are often left out of later editions of books if they go to paperback or board book formats. While these editions are more affordable than hard cover, it’s a shame that the endpapers are seen as expendable. It’s like getting a hamburger without the bun.

Nevertheless, when you set out to illustrate a picture book, keep the endpapers in mind as part of the whole package. Who knows, it might even get you a book contract some day.

Wandering Goats

Goat border from the Poppyseed Cakes, by Maud and Miska Petersham

Goat border from the Poppyseed Cakes, by Maud and Miska Petersham

Last weekend I went on a road trip with my husband. I thought we would see friends, birds and beautiful landscapes. We did, but we also saw goats.

The word for goat in Spanish is cabra, which may or may not be related to the word capricious.

Maurice Sendak: Zlateh the Goat

Maurice Sendak: Zlateh the Goat

We visited friends with goats, and were reminded of the origin of the word goatee.

Maud and Miska Petersham: Andrewshek and the White Goat

Maud and Miska Petersham: Andrewshek and the White Goat

We saw goats and kids playing in fields.

Arthur Rackham Goats

Arthur Rackham Goats

We came across this photo in a book at El Nido, a sweet hotel in Tieton, WA.

Goats climbing a tree in Morocco

Goats climbing a tree in Morocco

It was capricious the way that goats entered our trip and my mind.

De Tre Bukke Bruse, Norske Folkeeventyr 1840's

De Tre Bukke Bruse, Norske Folkeeventyr 1840’s

I like leaving town and leaving my routines. While I may be looking for something in particular I often find something completely different, such as an inspiring goat.

Nanny Goat by Yevgeny Rachov

Nanny Goat by Yevgeny Rachov

Here is a poem by Eve Merriam, lightly related to goats and wandering. I welcome your comments and rhymes about goats, goatees, meandering or caprice.

Catch a Little Rhyme

Once upon a time
I caught a little rhyme

I set it on the floor
but it ran right out the door

I chased it on my bicycle
but it melted to an icicle

I scooped it up in my hat
but it turned into a cat

I caught it by the tail
but it stretched into a whale

I followed it in a boat
but it changed into a goat

When I fed it tin and paper
it became a tall skyscraper

Then it grew into a kite
and flew far out of sight…

Arthur Rackham

……………………………………………………………………..

ADDENDUM (May 26):

Here are some late breaking goats:

Goat collage by Deborah Mersky

Goat collage by Deborah Mersky

Dancing Goat by James and Jonathan, 1956

Dancing Goat by James and Jonathan, 1956

Enjoy some Mama Lil’s peppers while watching this video of Bridget and Baylee eating lunch. They are the goats that inspired this post, owned by friends Kerry and David in eastern Washington.

 

Old friends

Each month our group meets and we bring along the books that we are working on. But we also bring many books inside of us – books we have read that have made an imprint.

Today I am going to post illustrations from books that I have loved throughout my life. Because there are so many to choose from I am going to start with Slavic and Russian illustrators. Every summer when I was a child we stayed in Churaevka, a village of Russian expatriots in Connecticut. Maybe that is why I am drawn to these artists.

This illustration is by the Czech artist Rudolf Mates and it comes from a book my mother had as a child called The Cock and the Hen.

Here are Andrewshek and Auntie Katushka from the Poppy Seed Cakes, illustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham.

As a teenager I was given a book illustrated by Ivan Bilibin. This is his: Ivan and the Firebird.

As an adult I discovered Tatyana Mavrina

and Yuri Vasnetsov.

Not every meal includes an incandescent squirrel or giant cockroaches, but these artists are always with me at the table.

– Julie Paschkis