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Covering the Newbery (#63): Dear Mr. Henshaw

Sure it’s easy to crack wise with The Story of Mankind and it’s ages-old cover. Just giving any sort of modern spin would be an improvement. Now we’re getting into books that ain’t so ancient. Today, for example, is the beloved Dear Mr. Henshaw, complete with iconic Paul O. Zelinsky cover. It is with books like this that I think my mission to redo the cover of every Newbery winner is a fools game. For that reason, I had to go in a completely different direction this time out. I’ll go ahead and ask for forgiveness now.

1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Original Cover:

My Redo:

Side by Side:

Click here for the Covering the Newbery gallery.

Up next week: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

(Source image “Untitled” http://flic.kr/p/bnbgc7)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I LOVE it! This might be my favorite one yet.

  2. Meredith says:

    My first thought is that Leigh (not a girl) looks kind of like a girl. But it’s just because his hair is so lustrous.

  3. For some reason, it feels like a photo takes away from the work on this one. I could see the cover maybe being from the author’s perspective – either a reversal of the words through the letter in reverse…or even over-the-shoulder with the opening line most visible.

    There’s no reason I can place, but I always thought this was an iconic sort of cover. It was also a more mature sort of story; compared with other Cleary books, which I also loved.