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Friday Five: 5 Classic Children's Covers

We're handing over the reins of Friday Five again - this time to Joey HipFi, the hottest designer in two hemispheres. Mr. HiFi shot to the UK's attention with the British release of Zoo City (for which he won a well-deserved BSFA art award) and his glorious artwork for the Science Museum's 'Summer in Space'. But in his native South Africa, Joey has been quietly creating amazing work for years. His latest covers include a reissue of Moxyland, Mockingbird and the Knights of Breton Court omnibus.

We asked Joey Hi-Fi if he could share his five favourite children's covers with us, and he was happy to oblige... 

Only choosing five was a daunting task. I have a proclivity for the dark and macabre (even as a child), so my favourite children's book covers lean ominously in that direction. I tried to resist just choosing 5 books that would leave most children (and parents) sleeping with the light on.

I also tended to choose books where the cover is as equally well designed and illustrated as the content of the book.

In no particular order:

Bembos Zoo

Bembo's Zoo by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. I love this book. It's a well designed animal alphabet book with illustrations created from the letters in each animal's name (using Bembo, one of the most elegant of the classic typefaces). A great concept, It has a clever cover using typographic illustration.

Dillweed's Revenge by Florence Parry Heide (author) and Carson Ellis (illustrator). This cover (and book) is beautifully illustrated by Carson Ellis (who also creates album covers for The Decemberists).The cover is a stylish combination of illustration and typography with a delightfully dark tone.

Oyster Boy
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton. Not entirely a children's book (unless you want them sleeping with their lights one), but a book that is still on of my all-time favourites. I own a first edition that is nestled snuggly between Edward Gorey & Charles Adams on my book shelf. A simple cover (both in terms of typography and illustration) but a striking one. The black hard cover and old style finishing really set the tone for the dark humoured book within.

Mommy? by Maurice Sendak. No children's book list would be complete without Maurice Sendak.The obvious choice would obviously be Where the Wild Things Are, so I chose to highlight one of his other books. Mommy? is a six-page pop-up book that follows the adventures of a little boy searching for his mother in a castle full of monsters. Sendak's illustration and the intriguing book title really draw you in. It's a book I would have loved as a child.

Popville cover
Popville by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud: This is a book I only discovered recently. It's an absolutely ingenious pop-up book. I love the simple and colourful retro inspired design, clever typography and the slender format of the book. A delight inside and out.

You can see more of Joey Hi-Fi's work here and here and here. Or badger him on Twitter at @joeyhifi.

So, what are your favorite children's book covers?