I ran across both of these new books online today and the contrast was outstanding enough to make me stop and think. Simplicity vs. intense busy-ness. Which works better?
Admittedly, my bias is the old cliche “less is more.” Sharon M. Draper‘s book, Out of My Mind (Atheneum 2010) is a peaceful blue with a nice complementary orange for a focus point. The simple image says a lot, though. Fish out of water… breaking free of things that bind you, etc. It usually irritates me when the author’s name is bigger than the title – but it works here. Draper’s name is subtle enough as not to distract. The white title attracts the eye if only because it’s white against so much blue. I like how “a novel” delineates the goldfish’s path out of the bowl. The bubbles add visual interest.
A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard (Holiday House April 2010, Allen & Unwin 2009) – I don’t know why the Yiddish exclamation “OY VEY!” comes to mind – but OMG! Too much, too much, too much. And if that’s not enough, the strange font, outlined in white and squeezed into the layout, further complicates a cover that is already way too busy with text and mixed images. Maybe all this mishmash will draw kids? It’s only the plot summary here that might pull me in.
Out of My Mind: Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. Ages 10+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Reading Group Guide.
Small Free Kiss in the Dark: Skip, an eleven-year-old runaway, becomes friends with Billy, a homeless man, and together they flee a war-torn Australian city with six-year-old Max and camp out at a seaside amusement park, where they are joined by Tia, a fifteen-year-old ballerina, and her baby. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Teacher’s Guide. See the Australian cover.