100 Scope Notes
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Gallery: These Picture Books Have Secrets

2013 was a stellar year for book cases – the paper or cloth that covers the actual boards of a hardcover book. There were all manner of creative illustrations and debossing going on. Before I clear out my 2013 shelves, I thought we could take a look at the books that have secrets under their dust jackets. Click the images to enlarge.

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. Erin Broderick says:

    Wow! Lots of gems. The Watermelon Seed has a surprise too, especially when you turn to the endpapers!

    • Travis Jonker says:

      Thanks Erin – that reminded me that I had another stash of books in the house. I just added Watermelon Seed and Jacob’s Eye Patch.

  2. Laurie Keller says:

    WOW, what a great post, Travis! Loved seeing these!

  3. Just HA to the Mr. Wuffles one!

  4. Travis, Thank you for compiling such a great list. I am so happy that someone noticed. As you can see we love to change up the case cover from the jacket here at ABRAMS. I really do feel like it adds to the overall package of a book and makes it more compelling for a reader to know that every piece of the book has been carefully thought about .

    • Travis Jonker says:

      Thanks for all the care you take, Chad – it’s such fun to tell kids “and one more thing” after the read aloud and show the case cover.

      • These kind of details show an enormous amount of respect to kids. Chad and all the folks at Abrams do an amazing job and are a joy to work with. The process of doing a PB with them is always filled with great surprises at each step as they find ways to add to the story through design, typography and details like these jackets or the use of spot varnishes or interesting end papers.

  5. What a compilation, Travis! So great to see everything in one place. This was definitely the year of case cover surprises.Tiger Goes Wild incorporates texture, which certainly is cool. For librarians, the case covers get covered by the dust jacket, encased in mylar covers, so the kids don’t really get to appreciate what’s under there unless they peek. Also notable this year were all the incredible, unexpected, or beautifully designed and thought-out endpapers (my favorite being the ones from Tiger in My Soup). If you showcase some of these, we won’t object . . .

  6. Thank you! I will have to do a better job of peeking behind the jackets to find these cool secrets!

  7. A question for Travis–
    Can you let us know how you reproduced these? They have attractive wood backgrounds. Did you use a camera? An iPhone? If so, do you use some kind of stand? Scan them? I’m assuming you saved them as jpegs–what resolution do you use? Whatever you did, they look great–very symmetrical and clear. Thanks for doing this!

    • Travis Jonker says:

      Hi Judy! I used my iPhone 5S camera (which has a “square” setting). I also turned on the “chrome” filter. I used the wood floor in my kitchen as the backdrop. After taking the photos, I used Preview on my computer to reduce them to 550×550 px. Then I uploaded them into the blog post. I’m glad they turned out clear!

  8. It always makes me a little sad when we have to cover those surprises up during library processing.

  9. I love these! I can’t believe I never thought to look at Odd Duck with the jacket off.

    You wouldn’t by any chance be interested in doing a best-of-the-year in endpapers too?

  10. These are delightful. I particularly liked the Bluebird surprise. Thank you!

  11. That was a lot of work to put this post together for us. But so fun to see – thanks!!!! :) e

  12. Travis,
    Thanks so much for this terrific post! It was great to see the wonderful covers without dust jackets. I often notice these with books that I own. As a result I love to use my own books when reading aloud to my students for this very reason. It is a bit sad that one can’t do this with library books. Most of my students only have experience with library books and are often so surprised and delighted when I remove the dust jacket to show them the cover.
    Can’t wait to see your endpapers post:)

  13. Really neat. I’m always telling my toddler to leave the book jackets alone, but maybe I’ll have to let him explore now!

  14. Paul Zelinsky says:

    Terrific display of over and undergarments! Some of these books I own but haven’t ever peeked into. Many of the case images are very clever and wonderful, but I think Locomotive’s is uniquely moving.

  15. Dang those librarians for taping up the goods!

  16. I love this! At midwinter a really wonderful editor in the Disney-Hyperion booth gave me a tour of some of their best cases when I expressed my appreciation for them. Such wonderful surprises-thanks for bringing them together for us to enjoy.

    • Hi Amanda–so glad you enjoyed the tour! We have fun with the illustrator (and sometimes author, too) coming up with ideas and images to extend the book-as-object. Thanks, Travis, for this great post!

  17. Wonderful. Thank you.

  18. Jacqueline says:

    I’ve been waiting for this year’s post! I love the surprises under the covers. My favorite this year was The Adventures of Beekle- I almost couldn’t bring myself to cover it up, and read/showed it to all 24 of my classes first. Thanks for doing this roundup!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Oops, just realized this was last year’s bunch! Well, can’t wait to see this year’s!