Cover Collection 9: Wicked Nix, by Lena Coakley
Welcome to Cover Collection, my (mostly) weekly blog series in which I talk in ALL CAPS about book covers that I think deserve some ALL CAPS attention! Today I'm talking about the cover of Lena Coakley's middle grade fairy story,Wicked Nix, with art by Jaime Zollars. The brilliant minds behind this jacket design are Alyssa Nassner and Hana Anouk Nakamura, and when I say brilliant, I mean BRILLIANT, because Look. At. THIS:
I simply cannot with this cover.
Look at that. It's practically glowing! How does Jamie Zollars perform this magic? I have no idea, but I love it.
What strikes me most about this cover is the way Jamie uses light and shadow to give the whole cover a mysterious feeling of being soaked in magic. When I look at this cover, I feel like I'm about to enter an enchanted forest. See the way the sky behind the house is glowing just above the ground? And the way the ground seems to glow in places? And the way the trees seem to emit their own light? And the way way the light seems to filter UP through the leaves of the trees, instead of down? All of these things lend the scene the feeling that the source of the light, and therefore the source of the enchantment, is in the forest itself. Or maybe -- maaaaybe -- it IS the forest itself. We have to read the book to find out.
I love the smoke, too: the way it rises from the chimney and curls up and around the creature perched in the tree above the house, who is obviously (because of the way the text is placed and the way the creature is placed, right at that top-two-thirds line, where the important stuff almost always goes in an image) the titular character, Nix. Come to think of it, everything about this cover highlights Nix: the smoke leads to him and cradles him, drawing the eye to him. The lightest part of the cover is a point where the title is lit so strongly so as to be almost white, and that spot is on Nix's name and is also directly above Nix's head. And additionally, while the majority of the image is spotted and freckled and near-pointillist in nature, Nix is cradled a space that is almost empty: his own little oasis of pale green, where nothing exists except for him. Which is both visually useful, AND also a super super cool piece of visual storytelling that alludes to the isolation that Nix feels at the beginning of the story. (And the way the smoke cradles Nix is also part of that same visual storytelling, but you have to read the book to find out what I mean by that.)
And we have to talk about the title font, which is just perfection. I love the way the letters curl in a way that's reminiscent of elves' shoes. And the burnished look that the letters have evokes stories of leprechauns and Old-World legends and ancient stories. Everything about it says "Fairy Story" to me.
As always, I love, love, LOVE this cover. But I haven't touched on every element of it, and I'm sure you've noticed things, too. So tell me: what do YOU like about this cover? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let's continue the conversation!