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Covering the Newbery (#7): Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon

My mission is this – give each and every Newbery Medal-winning book a new cover, beginning way back in the golden days of 1922 and working my way up to today. I have a ways to go, so enough with the chatter – let’s take a look at the latest cover redo.

1928: Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji, illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff

Original Cover:

My Redo:

Side by side:

Verdict: Simplified, but maybe too YA-ish. What do you say?

Read Previous Covering the Newbery Posts:

1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James

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: “See, told ya, he’s late again!” http://www.flickr.com/photos/linhngan/3953821298/)

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 that you’re doing this series. I like the GAY NECK design, but it feels more like a poster than a dust jacket (I think it’s all that white at the bottom). For my money, your VOYAGES OF DR. DOLITTLE design is the one to beat!

    • A poster – yes I can see that, Jonathan! I think you hit the nail on the head. Funny how tricky it is to get to something that looks like an actual book cover. You’d think you could put a title on there and it would be clear, but that certain “cover-ness” can be elusive. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I love the new cover! I like the image, where one pigeon (Gay-Neck, presumably) is in flight. I wasn’t thinking it was too YAish until you pointed it out. To somebody completely unfamiliar with the book, they might think it was about a gay teen and not about a pigeon at all?

  3. I like the image, but it won’t help the book’s popularity (nothing but a title change could do that). I don’t like the scribbley font for the title, though – it makes me think of little pigeon feet and pigeon poop.

    I love this feature, and there’s a few unfortunate Newbery covers that I can’t wait to see you take on!

  4. I really like this cover too, but it definitely does have a YA look to it. It looks all modern and urban and somewhat dark. I agree with Madigan, it looks like it could possibly be about a gay teen. But this cover is much more pick-up-able than the original!

  5. I say it’s too Hitchcock!


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