A Salute to the Reprints: Here’s to Getting A Second Chance in 2018
Last week Publishers Weekly produced the article Forever Young: Backlist Backbones 2018. In the piece, the magazine highlighted a sampling of some books getting cover redesigns, new printings, and other forms of reprinted attention this year. I too have been watching the reprints of older titles with a steady eye. And while I like a lot of the books in the PW piece, there are so many others worth noting! Here’s my own list (with no repeats of the PW article) of other backlist titles getting a new lease on life:
The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola
My sister, if you’ve ever listened to our podcast, has a fear of clowns in picture books. She manages to find one in every book I give her, weirdly enough. I am therefore tempted to bring her this book next. Far more of a religious parable than anything to do with red noses and creepy oversized shoes, I remember the sweetness of this book from when I was a child. For me, it always struck me as a kind of Little Drummer Boy with juggling, if that makes any sense.
I Wish I Was Sick Too by Franz Brandenberg, ill. Aliki
We are overdue for an Aliki Renaissance. According to Wikipedia she is alive and well (albeit 88) in Wildwood Crest, NJ. I could just get lost in all those books of her that I’ve loved over the years. Somehow I’d missed this one, though, so hat tip to The New York Review for finding and republishing it. A good way of showing that the grass is always greener on the sicker side of the fence.
See and Say by Antonio Frasconi
I am really enjoying this new trend of reprinting old Frasconi books. And in four languages?! If the typography and design doesn’t get you, the quatro-lingual elements should.
Our Solar System by Arthur John L’Hommedieu
I don’t know how useful this book will be to you librarians out there since it really does open up. But with updated info on things like, say, Pluto, this book feels three-dimensional.
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Not to worry. It has never been out-of-print that I can see. No, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the book (feeling old yet?).
Strega Nona’s Magic Ring by Tomie dePaola
As I may have mentioned, I sort of have a thing for Big Anthony. It’s a problem I acknowledge and I’m working on. Still, I just love this book to pieces since it gives me the thing I want the most out of any Strega Nona story: More Big Anthony. Awesome.
Thirteen by Remy Charlip & Jerry Joyner
While I am a loyal storytime teller of Fortunately (also by Mr. Charlip) I’d never really encountered Thirteen before. Read it yourself and you’ll understand why Charlip has been such an influence over Brian Selznick over the years. This book is just crazy cool. You can follow multiple storylines, changes, permutations, etc. in each of the different images. Turn the page and everything shifts . . . just a little. A book worth poring over.
This Bridge Will Not Be Gray by Dave Eggers, ill. Tucker Nichols
Chronicle’s no fool. I don’t know how they wrested the copyright for this book from McSweeneys but wrest they did. Now it has a happy home in the Chronicle universe alongside Her Right Foot like two peas in a pod. In that recent interview I did with Eggers he suggested that there will sort of be a third nonfiction picture book coming out about citizenship.
What To Do With a Box by Jane Yolen, ill. Chris Sheban
And speaking of innovative, this title found a clever method of highlighting its boxy elements. A great little story with remarkable packaging.
Who’s Hiding? by Satoru Onishi
From Kane/Miller Press to Gecko, this book is finally back! you have to spot the differences in this book, and you might think that would be an easy task. Turns out, Onishi is good at this. Deserves multiple reads.
Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet, ill. Mathieu Sapin
So some parts of this book were originally published years ago. I need to check this again one of those titles. The stories appear to be the same, but I wonder if some changes were made in the meantime. The tapeworm incident, for example, isn’t quite as gross as I remembered it.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, ill. Júlia Sardà
Just in time for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s star turn in the upcoming new Mary Poppins movie we have a lovely gift-edition of the original tale.
The Middle Passage by Tom Feelings
Actually, they’re marketing this as YA, which is probably right. We always kept a copy in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street in NYC, but the content is certainly mature. Very happy to see this back in print again.
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Not sure why you’d obscure the fact that the titular hero of this book series is a flame throwing skeleton but to each their own.
Anything you’re excited about seeing again that I’ve missed?
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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