Front endpaper - watercolour, charcoal, ink
Back endpaper - watercolour, ink
Recently, I have been preoccupied with endpapers. Endpapers are the double-sized sheets that are folded and pasted against the front and back of the inside cover, and attached at the base of the first and last pages of a book. Above are the front and back endpapers for my dummy in progress.
More than just decorative pages, endpapers can complete the experience of the story. These are usually worked out through some combination of decision-making during book design involving the art director and editor, and sometimes the illustrator. The best picture books always treat each part of the book with care, from design of cover, selection of typeface, placement of credits, and yes, what goes onto the endpapers.
Some picture book makers use the back endpaper as a fancy way to announce, "The End."
Pourquoi les hirondelles ne font pas le printemps?
Michaël Escoffier, Kris Di Giacomo
The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt, Tony DiTerlizzi
Some picture book makers turn it into a game for their fan readers, like Mo Willems', who hides his bus-coveting pigeon in the endpapers of his Elephant and Piggie books.
There is a Bird on Your Head
Some picture book makers use the space for instruction, like how to build and fly paper airplanes.
The Great Paper Caper
Some picture book makers reinforce their story through the endpapers. The Wave is about a girl being given a gift from the ocean. The endpapers summarize this nicely.
The endpapers for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole may not seem that remarkable at first glance - a simple colour change. However, once you get the story... whoa! So good. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen
My favourite are endpapers that become part of the story or add a new story. These ones leave you wondering. And that is a good thing. In The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water, the front endpaper shows the obvious mix-up that we get once we read the story. Then, if you turn to the back endpaper, there is another mix-up. Cue potential sequel (spoiler alert), The Dragon Who Didn't Like Flying.
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water
In I Want My Hat Back, we see the hat-less bear in the front endpaper. At the end of the story, he finds his hat, as shown in the back endpaper. But wait a minute... the rabbit is there too! Hmm.
I Want My Hat Back
There are probably many other great examples of picture book endpapers. These were just the ones handy on my book shelf. If you have one, please share in the comments.