100 Scope Notes
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Covering the Newbery (#6): Smoky, the Cowhorse

After a holidays and ALA Midwinter induced hiatus, Covering the Newbery is back up and running. The basics? I’m redoing the cover of every Newbery Medal-winning book, beginning with The Story of Mankind and working up to today. Uh, this little project is going to take a while. My rules are these:

  1. The image I use must be Creative Commons-licensed for editing from the website Flickrcc.
  2. I use Picnik to put it all together.

Let’s see how things turn out today.

1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James

Original Cover:


Side by side:

Verdict: Well, black and white tends to be a tough sell, but I like the overall look. What say you?

Read Previous Covering the Newbery Posts:

1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman

1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger

1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes

1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon

(Source Image: Mare Portrait http://www.flickr.com/photos/bartvandamme/5176132526/)

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 think you have a new career path ahead! :) e

  2. I live in Texas, many of my students love horses, I can’t seem to keep horse books on the shelves, and stock show and rodeo days are on their way in Fort Worth. My students would be drawn immediately to this cover. This is a keeper!

  3. This looks awesome. I’m trying to read all the Newbery medalists, and I’m not so enthusiastic about picking up some of them. I would totally pick up a book with this cover, though!

  4. I like the horse figure, but I’m not crazy about the way the title is blended in because it loses a little legibility. Nice work, though!

  5. This is one where I believe I would keep the original cover, because the author was also the artist, and I’m really not seeing much difference between his cover and yours. Liking your other redesigns, though! I do think more appealing covers would lead to more kids picking up some of these titles.

  6. Don’t touch the original! James was an artist. Leave his designs alone.