Book Life: Happy World Book Day! But today, judge a book by its cover…

Happy World Book Day!


At work today I asked around and found out what everybody at the agency loved to read as a child. It’s curious- sometimes the choices named were works published a hundred years before the reader was born and some where a product of the same era as their readership. It seems that was the case with me: when the question of a favourite childhood book was turned back on me, I had no hesitation at all about my own answer…

I’m still waiting for that Hogwarts letter, after all…


For my post on World Book Day I have chosen to celebrate not just a book, but a cover worthy of being judged by: namely the art of Cliff Wright, who created the cover for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


With quick sketches and watercolours Wright captured the spirit of the book which I loved the read most, and I am so very, very grateful!

From Wright’s website  I have included a letter from Emma Matthewson, Rowling’s editor, (letter pictured below) who asked that the dog he had previously drawn be shaggy, scary, menacing. From this Wright created the very image of a Grim. When shown a reference to a classic depiction of the mythic creature, Wright created a Hippogriph that was all his own, and which in turn came to belong to all who read the book it was painted on.


While Wright also illustrated the cover for the Chamber of Secrets, it is Azkaban that stays in my mind.

Danger, colour, magic… with closed eyes I couldn’t tell you know where my imagination begins and where Wright’s illustration leaves off. There is fear and adventure, determination, myth and rebellion in this beautiful painting.

Because as the adage goes, it is wrong to judge any book by its cover, and there is no doubt in my mind that Rowling’s masterpiece series (and particularly this, her third book) would still be the most wonderful leap into imagination and storytelling if it had a nothing but a blank cover made of bin-liner wrapped around it.


Sometimes the synergy lent to writing by the perfect illustration takes it even higher and this is what happened here.

All images used are from Cliff Wright’s Website and belong to him (the red panda down there just wandered onto the picture)

Please apparate over there and have a look, it’s definitely worth your while.

hp rp

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