Do you judge a book by its cover?

Maurizio There’s no doubt an attractive cover grabs our attention but how do you choose a book? Is it the cover illustration or a curious title? Do you read the blurb to see what it’s about or read the first page to see if it suits your reading ability? Do you search out a favourite author or go on the recommendation of a friend?

Below is my Top 5 Favourite Picture Books by International Authors. The covers are all attention grabbing but what was it about each that appealed to me?

The cover of The Tunnel by UK author illustrator Anthony Browne intrigued me. What could be on the other side? Does it lead to a magical place? Does it scream out DANGER to you? It did for me.


Bouncy, bright, rollicking rhyme. That what you can expect from New Zealand author illustrator Lynley Dodd’s stories. I could have selected any of her Hairy Maclary stories but being a cat lover I was attracted to the roughest, the toughest, the boldest, the bravest, the mighty, magnificent, Scarface Claw. Lots of fun!

scarface claw

David Weisner, a US author illustrator posed a real dilemma. Which one to choose? I read Tuesday way back in 1991 when it was first published and have eagerly sought out all his books since. I’m passing over Flotsam; June29, 1999; and Hurricane for… (drum roll please!)… Sector 7. Prepare to be swept away on a cloud of adventure with this one.

sector 7

My last two favourites are recent finds. They were both published in 2014 and I read them for the first time in the same week. They both touched me deeply.

One Red Shoe by German author and illustrator, Karin Gruss and Tobias Krejtschi is a book for older readers. It’s the story of a photojournalist working in the Gaza Strip who is summoned to report on the bombing of a school bus. The title and cover illustration with its powerful symbolism of the single red shoe left stranded on the barbed wire hooked me immediately. After reading the blurb on the back cover, I knew this was a book I had to read. I wasn’t disappointed!

one red shoe

The last of my top 5 is titled My Father the Great Pirate, written by Italian author David Cali and illustrated by Maurizio Quarello. It’s a touching story of the relationship between a boy and his father and how a dramatic incident caused the nature of that relationship to change. I’m not giving too much away because I want you to read it yourself. It wasn’t until I reached the end of this story that I discovered that the book was inspired by the real stories of Italians who left Italy seeking a better life after World War 2, and by one of history’s great mining disasters, at Marcinelle in Belgium in 1956.

my father the great pirate

I hope you take some time to read some of my favourites. They are on display in our makeshift library along with my Australian Top 5.

How do you choose which book to read? I’d be interested to find out.