Shall I Not Lie In Publishing A Truth?

There’s been a post or two on this blog about artwork and continuity: how people like to collect only the Edward Gorey hardcovers, how Bart Goldman reintroduced Lewis Barnavelt in the 1990s for the new books in that series, and even how contemporary e-book editions all have a uniform look even if they all are something you wipe your hands on.

Joni Federico worked in the art department with Bantam Skylark publishers during the 1980s and remembers seeing more than a few memorable covers created for Choose Your Own Adventure and Encyclopedia Brown titles as well as books by Roald Dahl and – two of her favorites - David Budbill's Bones On Black Spruce Mountain and Snowshoe Trek to Otter River. She also has fond memories of the John Bellairs titles, augmented by the artwork by Edward Gorey.

Federico was laid off in 1990, about the time there was a lot of reorganizing in the industry – buying and selling and so on – and what she called "flipping birds" (possibly a veiled reference to skylarks, puffins, and penguins). Therefore her contribution to the Bellairs series never saw the light of day. She did keep a portfolio of her layouts which she rediscovered only recently, including a proposed cover for the Bantam-Skylark edition of The Secret of the Underground Room. The book would eventually see issue in paperback via the Puffin imprint, instead.

Thanks for sharing a most interesting find, Joni!

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