100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Unfortunate Covers (#19)

I’m not usually this blunt, but the latest addition to the Unfortunate Cover pasture of misfortune is long overdue. The book may be a Newbery winner, but this cover is not holding up its end of the bargain:

Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger

When the most exciting thing you can put on a cover is a dude lecturing a bunch of kids, there’s a problem. This has to be some sort of a world’s first – the cover actually shows the sort of reception it gets:

Check out previous Unfortunate Covers:

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18.

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. “This has to be some sort of a world’s first – the cover actually shows the sort of reception it gets.”

    Or maybe the artist’s personal feelings, knowing they’d been assigned a lame cover.

  2. Looks more like “Stories of Boredom and Apathy.”

  3. The lecturing dude looks like the Cretinous Cool Guy in an 80s teen flick.

    (Now that I think about it, he looks like one specific Cretinous Cool Guy: Billy Zabka of the Karate Kid and Just One of the Guys.)

  4. Oh my, that is bad.

  5. As a children’s book illustrator – this is painfull to see. “Let’s go sit in the dirt with white shorts on in full sunlight and listen to this California dude. Even in the art there’s shade. Reminds me of a San Juan plaza tour. But as an illustrator I see the hand of an editor or art director too. “Let’s have 1 hispanic, I black and two white kids. Make one a girl.” What, the asian kid didn’t make the cut? Ugh.The first book cover I illustrated ended up being a buddy pose. The AD and I had exciting sketches showing the action and tension of the story. The editor dug her heels in and wanted a buddy pose. ZZZZZ It’s not always the artists fault.