Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shelf Candy Saturday #154: Wise Child, by Monica Furlong

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, if available,
on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
simply go HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

Wise Child
Monica Furlong
Hardcover, 240 pages
Random House Books for Young Readers
February 24, 2004
Fantasy, Historical Fiction, 
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is such an absolutely perfect cover! It's bold, simple, and detailed, all at the same time. The larger shapes are offset by the details -- the beautifully done flowers held by the woman, the intricate ornamentation around the sleeves and neckline of the woman's cloak, the Celtic designs (I wonder if they're tiles) on the wall behind the woman and little girl, as well as the strange flowers with the long stalks, to the left and right of the composition. The bowl, with a pestle inside, is also very nicely detailed. The little girl is holding what seems to be a small clay or ceramic face in her hands. This, too, is very well done. 

The woman, whom I presume to be Juniper, one of the book's main characters, is staring out at the viewer with a very enigmatic look. It's also a defiant one. It's as if she's daring you to take the child away from her. This is further emphasized by the protective hand she lays on the little girl's left shoulder.

The little girl, too, has an enigmatic look on her face, but she's staring at something -- or someone -- off to her left.

The warm earth tones of the composition are also perfect, since Juniper is a sorceress. She's obviously very knowledgeable about herbs.

The whole composition, as well as how Juniper is staring at the viewer, also remind me of Byzantine art. People depicted in Byzantine icons and mosaics stare out at the viewer in much the same way.Also, their clothes are richly ornamented, and the compositions are bold and simplified. The people depicted are also rendered in a stylized manner, instead of realistically. I love this style because of all these characteristics!

Mosaic from the church of Hagios Demetrios
late 7th or early 8th century

I also love that font!  And its color complements those earth tones. The same font is used for the author's name, but the artist compressed it in the title.

I didn't need to check the Amazon reader to find out who the brilliant creators of this beautiful cover were: Leo and Diane Dillon, two of my favorite cover artists! Their covers are always beautiful! They also reflect several influences, especially the Byzantine one, although they have their own inimitable style.


Online Links

What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Please leave a comment 
and let me know!


  1. This is another great cover Maria.

    When I originally saw it I knew it reminded me of something. As you point out it is Byzantine art.

    I do not know nearly as much as I want to about this style. I know that I like it a lot. I think that one thing that draws me to it is the combination of Western and Eastern influences.

    I really like the flowers. I think that they may be a form of thistle.

  2. Hey, Brian!

    I LOVE Byzantine art!! I didn't always, though; I had to develop a taste for it. But now it's one of my favorites!!

    It's great that you, too, see the Byzantine influence in this cover. Indeed, it seems that the Dillons loved this art style, as well. Maybe they liked it for the same reasons you do -- its combination of Western and Eastern influences. I had never put it into words, but this is really the main reason I like it, too. I also like this style because it's not completely realistic, nor completely abstract.

    You might be right about the flowers. I would have to research that.

    You might remember from one of my previous SCS posts that I quoted some biographical information about the Dillons from an online article. Leo Dillon passed away in 2012, at the age of 79. Such a sad loss, especially for the art world....

    Thanks so much for your great comment!! : )


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