I just stumbled across this book due out in June, Nurk by Ursula Vernon (Harcourt). There is something about the cover drawing that I find incredibly appealing… Anthropomorphic animals don’t always get me. But this little crew does.
I did some looking around and couldn’t find much – the author is also the illustrator. I assume it will be an illustrated book – but not a picture book. The target age is 8-12.
You can see more of Vernon’s artwork here and here (I love this fish). Great stuff! And see what appears to be the beginnings of her Nurk idea in this drawing dated 2002.
Nurk: Nurk, a sort-of brave shrew, packs up a few pairs of clean socks and sails off on an accidental adventure, guided by wisdom found in the journal of his famously brave and fierce grandmother, Lady Surka the warrior shrew.
UPDATE (8/12/08): Here’s an interesting note on book covers. I don’t usually read this kind of book (animal fantasy), but I was so charmed by the cover, that I read this one. I was equally charmed by the story and the writing style, and happened to be on the Quicklists Committee (Association for Library Service to Children – ALSC). We were working on a list for Oprah’s new Kids Reading List, recommending new books in several age categories. I contributed this title, and VOILA! this book is now recommended on the Oprah site. Just goes to show you how a book cover is the first step in capturing readers.