Adam Gidwitz & Dan Santat Reveal New Covers for the GRIMM Trilogy
I have always been blessed with extraordinary cover art. As most of you publishing-savvy folks out there know, an author has little control over what is put on his or her cover. A debut author—as I was back in 2010 when A Tale Dark and Grimm was first published—has just about zero control. So when the artist Hugh D’Andrade delivered his beautiful and creepy silhouettes for the jacket, I was over-the-moon happy. D’Andrade continued with his (now-often-imitated) style for In a Glass Grimmly and The Grimm Conclusion, and each was just as punchy and attractive as the first.
So when my editor at Penguin approached me with the idea of refreshing the covers to coincide with the publication of my new book (Yes! I have a brand new book, more on that in a moment), I thought she was crazy.
I said, “You’re not changing my covers.”
“Under no circumstances?” my editor asked.
“None,” I said.
“What if I could get Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat?”
I said, “Shut up.”
She said, “Maybe I could.”
I said, “No, you couldn’t.”
She said, “Let me ask him.” Then, a little while later, she said: “Dan says yes.”
And I said… Nothing. Because I was dumbstruck.
Now, with delight and enthusiasm beyond the power of my clumsy fingers to describe, I present to you the new covers of A Tale Dark and Grimm, In a Glass Grimmly, and The Grimm Conclusion, illustrated by the one, the only, Mr. Dan Santat.
I am lucky enough to have known Dan for a few years, and after he illustrated the covers, I emailed him a few questions. Here they are, with his responses:
Given that A Tale Dark and Grimm is, in addition to being about fairy tales, primarily about the difficult relationship of a father and his children, will you ever let your boys read it?
Is it wrong of me to admit that we all read the books together when I was reading the books for research? Well, to be honest, I don’t care. If reading these books with my kids is wrong, then I don’t ever want to be right. They are ten and seven and they loved these books (which they were already familiar with because they are popular at school). They were thrilled when I told them I was redesigning the covers.
I was insanely tickled to see the toes of the three dead men hanging down from the top of the back cover of The Grimm Conclusion. Was there anything in any of these books that made you think, “Huh, that would be fun to draw, but I might get in serious trouble”? Or are you as brave and consequence-unheeding as those dead men’s toes might suggest? What’s the nastiest thing you’ve ever drawn for a book? (No fair saying “your face, Adam,” which does in fact appear on the back of The Grimm Conclusion.)
I’m a pretty uncensored kind of guy. I’m the guy who works in picture books who always resents publishers for demanding that we make everyone on the covers “smile and not look too scared.” We in the business always say we shouldn’t talk down to kids and art notes like that always sound so contradictory to that idea. What I really wanted to draw was Joringel with his decapitated head reattached to his body with the scarf sitting on the chair after he was decapitated by his father in-law using the trunk door. I remember reading that part and thinking:
- “I think this is the most gruesome thing I have ever read in a children’s book, but if there was ever a chance to draw something like this and get away with it, it would be now.”
- “In the sequence of all the events that happen leading up to the third book, I realize I’m now rather used to reading passages like this.”
- “Why am I so comfortable with this? Is something wrong with me?”
- “If that’s wrong then I don’t ever want to be right.”
Prior to that I think the most gruesome thing I ever drew was a caveman jamming a pencil into the head of another caveman for a picture book I did called, Oh no! Not Again!
What can I do to repay you for these incredible, beautiful covers?
In the spirit of your books you must guess my middle name in three days or else I get to keep your first child.
Oh wait, I already have two of my own and don’t want any more.
Hopefully, you and I can do something else together in the future.
Yes, Dan. Yes we can. I take that as a binding, contractual statement, witnessed by the millions of readers of The Nerdy Book Club.
These covers will hit the shelves in September, just in time for the release of my BRAND NEW BOOK. You read that right—I’m coming back at ya, with something strange and epic and pretty new for me. It’s a medieval adventure story with roots in the folklore of the Middle Ages, and it’s called The Inquisitor’s Tale, or the Three Magical Children and their Holy Dog. The reveal for that cover will come soon.
And let us praise Dan Santat, who has given us this, our daily awesomeness.
Adam Gidwitz is the author of the critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Grimm trilogy. His debut novel, A Tale Dark & Grimm was an E. B. White Read Aloud Finalist and a selection on the Today Show’s Al’s Book Club for Kids. His books have been on countless state award and “Best of” lists. A former teacher at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, Adam, who now writes full time, spent a year in France researching An Inquisitor’s Tale. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more atwww.adamgidwitz.com, on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter: @AdamGidwitz
Dan Santat is the 2015 Caldecott Medal recipient for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. He is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Are We There Yet?, and has illustrated many other acclaimed books for children. Dan lives in Southern California with his family.