Sunday, March 25, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 245: Silver Phoenix, by Cindy Pon

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

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

Here's my choice for this week!

Silver Phoenix
(Kingdom of Xia (Phoenix), Book 1)
Cindy Pon
Hardcover, 352  pages
Greenwillow Books, First Edition
April 28, 2009
Diverse Reads, Fantasy, Romance,
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This STUNNING cover immediately captured my attention while I was doing a Google search for this week's (although it's really NEXT week's now) "Shelf Candy Saturday" post. Of course, now I want to read this book! And that's what gorgeous, eye-catching book covers are supposed to do -- make a potential buyer/reader want to get lost in the book's story. Without a visually powerful cover, there's not much chance of that ever happening. Of course, there ARE readers who will pick up a book regardless of the cover. But I'm not one of them. A book cover has to appeal to me on an aesthetic level before I will open it to investigate the book's contents. In fact, I've been known to buy a MORE expensive edition of a book I've heard about (this usually happens with classics), simply because it has a beautiful cover, while a cheaper edition does not. Lol.

This cover is AWESOME in SO many ways! First off, there's that kimono, which is such a GORGEOUS shade of pink! I don't like soft pastel pink, but this shade is HOT pink, which I do very much like! And the kimono fills up most of the cover, too, with those shining satin folds that catch the light so well, highlighting the power of the girl's stance, as well as the beauty of the aquamarine pendant on a delicate chain around her neck. 

It's those folds, and the way the light flows over them, as well as over the entire kimono, that have me SO fascinated. I've always loved artists' renderings of drapery in Old Master paintings, and it sure looks like this cover artist was inspired by such paintings. I am especially reminded of one of the masterpieces of Hans Holbein the Younger. (See the photo below.) 

Portrait of Sir Thomas More
Hans Holbein the Younger
Oil and tempera on oak panel
Frick Collection, New York City

The model used for this cover is a beautiful young girl, whose determined -- even angry -- expression, shows her to be a strong personality. So there's this contrast between the kimono and its wearer.  She could very well be an expert practitioner of martial arts. And the flowing sleeves of that kimono remind me of some type of wings, too. Also, there's a very mystical feeling to this image. Her figure fades into mist in the lower background. I can't WAIT to make this book part of my collection!

Speaking of the background, I also LOVE that lovely blue shade at the top of the cover! And, when I looked more closely at it, in the Amazon preview, I discovered a Chinese dragon in the top left-hand cover, right over the young girl's right hand! This gives the cover a very magical touch!

The title is also very striking, and complements the cover image perfectly. The font used is a classic one, but it's made very interesting by the illusion of flurries of snow superimposed on the letters. This is a clear reference to the snowy mountains in the background, which are barely seen, but are still quite evident.

Last but not least, I like that the young woman's braid leads the eye from her face and shoulders to the title. VERY effective, indeed!!

The person responsible for all of this cover awesomeness is Paul Zakris, who is the Art Director at HarperCollins and Greenwillow Books. (The latter is an imprint of HarperCollins.) Zakris has a Bachelor's Degree in Design and Visual Communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He's been the Art Director at Greenwillow for about 16 years, and has been designing covers for children's books for nearly 30 years. I sure want to see more of his covers!

Online Links

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


  1. What a fascinating comparison! Yes, I do see your point about the folds of fabric. I don’t care who says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover, we do! It’s what makes you pick it up. It’s why there are so many adult editions of children’s books(some adults are embarrassed to be seen with something that’s known as a children’s book)which cost more. It’s probably the reason for the “prom dress” heroines on the covers of YA girls’ fiction, even when the girl never wears any such thing in the novel. And I found that kids at my library started reading Rosemary Sutcliff and C.S Lewis novels when the covers were updated. We all love to own something beautiful, don’t we?

    1. Hi, Sue!

      Thanks so much for the compliment!! :) :)

      I do think that this cover artist was inspired by the Old Masters, and it seems evident that Holbein the Younger was certainly one of them.

      The old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" sure doesn't stop us bookworms from doing just that! Yes, we all (or at least, most of us) love something beautiful!

      Unfortunately, not every book with a beautiful cover lives up to that cover.....but I still think it's VERY important to have such covers on books!

      And it's WONDERFUL that a beautiful cover can actually get a child or teen interested in a book they wouldn't have picked up otherwise!

      Thanks for the great comment!! <3 :)

  2. This is a striking cover. I love your comparison between it and the folds in The Kimono and the drapery in the work of the Old Masters. Posting the portrait of Sir Thomas More really illustrates that.

    I love the use of colors in this cover. The pink goes so well with the blue sky. The green pendent is small but works In perfect contrast to everything else.

    Have a great Sunday Maria!

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Indeed it is!! It was LOVE at first sight, when I first came across it! Lol.

      Thanks for the compliment on the comparison between the this cover and the drapery in the work of the Old Masters. There is definitely a distinct correlation, and i find it especially evident in this masterpiece by Hans Holbein the Younger. (He happens to be one of my favorite Old Masters, too.)

      The pink and the blue really do go very well together! And the green pendant stands out because of the light surrounding it. As you have stated, it's "in perfect contrast to everything else".

      I had a great Sunday, Brian! Hope you did as well, and that your week is going very well!! Thanks for another interesting comment!! <3 :)

  3. What a pretty cover. I can see why the Cindy Pon book caught your attention. I'm getting so psyched for our buddy read. Are you on Facebook messenger? Just wondering the easiest way to "chat" about it:)

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Yes, isn't it? I don't like pink, but this shade is just LOVELY!! Hot pink is definitely preferable to pastel pink, IMHO. I'm glad you love this cover, too!! <3 <3

      Oh, yes, I'm psyched up, as well!! I'm going to leave you a comment on regarding how we can "chat" about this book, on your blog. Be there soon!!

      Thanks so much for commenting!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE BOYS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. this is definitely the absolute best cover feature I have seen! :) You describe this covers so beautifully and passionately! :)

    1. Hi, Daniela!

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You're so VERY sweet!! <3 <3 <3

      I studied art in college, so yes, I'm VERY passionate about beautiful book covers!!

      Thanks again for the lovely comment!! HUGS!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    2. How cool. I didn't know you studied art. AWESOME!

  5. I left a comment on your other post :) hugs!

    1. Hi, again!

      I've just replied to it!! :) :)

      That comment is, hands down, the LOVELIEST, SWEETEST comment I have EVER received!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! HUGS!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  6. It's a beautiful cover and I really enjoyed reading your description of it. As a history student, I'm very familiar with the Holbein portrait - and the comparison is a very interesting one:). Great post!


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