Today we host the cover reveal for a brand new anthology! The Cabinet of Curiosities is a website that is run by middle grade authors Claire Legrand, Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, and Emma Trevayne. Each week one of these authors posts a dark MG short story on the site, and each month has its own theme. (The theme this month, as you may have guessed, is Halloween.) We are delighted to announce that The Cabinet of Curiosities is soon to be a published anthology with stories collected from the website, and we lucky Smugglers get to host the cover reveal!
Without further ado, we turn it over to the authors – er, curators, that is!
A Word from the Curators:
Dearest readers and other curious souls,
We, the Curators of the Cabinet of Curiosities, are pleased to share with you something especially exhilarating today—the cover of our anthology of dark short stories for middle grade readers, The Cabinet of Curiosities: 40 Tales Brief & Sinister—which will release May 27, 2014 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.
It is a bit unnerving, to realize that such a reputable company will be publishing our many travels and travails for all to see. But we are nevertheless thrilled to share this collection with you—40 tales brief and sinister indeed, complete with illustrations and bonus content. Bonus content! Isn’t that fun to say?
We hope that you love the cover as much as we do, and that you keep our book in mind for those in your life who may enjoy the occasional dark and strange story—or for yourself, if you are such a reader.
Now, we share this gorgeous cover with you, and we bid you farewell until the next time we meet.
THE SMUGGLERIFIC COVER:
And now, for some thoughts on the cover from editor Virginia Duncan, and the Curators themselves!
Virginia Duncan, editor: Alexander Jansson is a freelance artist living and working in Gothenburg, Sweden. Everyone at Greenwillow Books loved his portfolio—and happily the Curators did too! He was the perfect artist to create this stunning jacket for us and he’s currently working on black-and-white interior illustrations for the book. They are creepy, filled with mystery, and great. Just wait until you see them!
Stefan Bachmann, Curator: Ok, this cover may be my favorite cover of any book with my name on it ever. I’m kind of in awe Alexander Jansson and his ethereal yet super creepy style. What I love most about the cover is the contrast between the blue sky and the red balloon, and not to get all deep, but I think it encapsulates the stories really well. Katherine, Claire, Emma and I all have super different voices, and different stories, and a lot of them start out quite pleasant indeed (the blue sky) and then things get cray (the red balloon and the floating house exploding with monsters). So anyway, I love this, I’m a giant fan of the artist and my fellow curators, and I could not be more excited for people to read it.
Katherine Catmull, Curator: That bird on the upper left, coming out of the little house—what makes it so unnerving to me? And then the bird-shadow that sort of echoes it, emerging from the tree above? I think I need to write a story about those birds. Also, the umbrella has teeth. ENOUGH SAID. I love this cover to tiny, frightening bits. What a gorgeous object to hold in your hands—your trembling hands—this book will be.
Claire Legrand, Curator: I love absolutely everything about this cover—the toothy umbrella, the yellow-eyed creatures peering out of the attic window, the many-tentacled drawers. But I think my favorite bit might be the ghostly, yellow-eyed creature poking out just above the white branch. What is that thing? I don’t know, and I love it so. I also love that this cover looks deceptively cheery at first glance, and then you take a closer look and find all manner of disturbing things peering out at you. That dichotomy is a perfect fit for us, because we Curators are all lovely people (I may be a bit biased there), but our brains and what comes out of them are more often than not on the disturbing side of lovely. I’m so thrilled about this cover and this project, and so proud of my fellow Curators. Many thanks to Virginia, Alexander, and the Greenwillow team for making our book so, so very pretty pretty.
Emma Trevayne, Curator: This cover…did Greenwillow get us the right artist for this or what? A huge thank you to our editor Virginia and to Alexander Jansson for such an utterly beautiful cover. I love the moodiness, the spookiness, and how the objects emerging from our bizarre cabinet call up so many of the stories within. And the lettering! I’m thrilled with how amazing the whole thing looks.
Meet the Curators
STEFAN BACHMANN: Tinker of Shadows and Tailor of Lies, with a fascination for eighth notes, old trees and their inhabitants, and pictures that move. Don’t give him anything to hold because his fingers are stained with ink. At least, it looks like ink . . .)
Stefan was born in Colorado and stayed there for about five minutes until his parents decided they would rather live in Switzerland. They moved into a hundred-year-old house outside of Zurich and he’s been there ever since. He is a student of classical music at the Zurich Conservatory and the winner of a bevy of prizes few people have ever heard of. His debut, gothic-steampunk-faery-fantasy The Peculiar, was published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins in Fall 2012 and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice as well as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012, with rights selling in seven languages.
KATHERINE CATMULL: Cataloger and Philosopher of Scientific Marvels with a particular focus on Jars of Moonlight, Frozen Flowers, Broken Fish Fins, Shiny Things Found On Pavements, and Bringing Cookies to Meetings.
Katherine looks friendly but she isn’t really very. She can usually be found lurking at home with her feral cat and her husband, who has disturbing eyebrows. Her novel Summer and Bird (Dutton Children’s/Penguin) is about two sisters who try to find their vanished parents and find quite a lot of awful and exciting things instead, from an evil queen to a snake as long as the world is wide. Chapter 6 begins “The Puppeteer was full of dead birds,” if that gives you any idea. Her next book is due out in winter 2015, and I’m sure it will be just as creepy. Katherine is also an actor (and you know what they’re like) and does voiceover work for games like DC Universe Online (where she is the voice of Oracle, as well as a ravenous female zombie, a most unpleasant Atlantean, and others) and Wizard 101 (where she is Myrella Windspar, your faithful real estate salescat).
Claire is cheerful when you first meet her and increasingly disturbing the better acquainted with her you become. This might be why she feels so at home sorting through ancient tomes written with wicked intent and charred fingernails of great potential. But never fear: She will happily sit in the sunshine and discuss unicorns with you while sipping hot chocolate, her absolute favorite beverage. Her first novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, a NYPL Best Book of 2012, is about a girl who must face off with a sadistic orphanage director to save her slovenly yet charming best friend. Her second novel, The Year of Shadows, is about ghosts — good ones and bad ones — and a haunted symphony hall, and twelve-year-old Olivia, who would be right at home at the Cabinet, for she enjoys sketching pictures of the strange and dreadful. Curator Legrand’s third novel, Winterspell, is for young adult readers, and contains lots of violent swordplay and kissing, the latter of which, as we all know, leads to cooties.
Emma is often mistaken for a unicorn because of her hair, which makes her slightly nervous around Curator Legrand at Cabinet meetings. Her dog is convinced butterflies are really fairies in disguise. (And if you saw the size of his jaws, you wouldn’t argue with him either.) She is that very special type of person who reads dictionaries for fun, hovering with held breath over words such as fiendish, lucifugous, and malevolence. Over a meal entirely made up of cakes and chocolate, she will tell you strange and terrible things about violent houseplants. Her first novel, Coda, is for teenagers and is about music that makes you feel very odd indeed, but she has also written a middle grade steampunk fairytale, in which she did unforgivable things to famous landmarks and laughed the whole time. Clearly, whichever age group she writes for, the normal rules of science and nature (and perhaps, politeness and decency) are there to be broken.
Courtesy of the authors, we have signed copies of each of the curators’ books plus a $50 Indiebound gift card up for grabs! To enter, please use the form below. Good luck!