Those of us who are avid readers well remember the first book we read that got us hooked on a particular genre. For me, that book was Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville, and then the second book, Song of the Wanderer, shortly thereafter (as in the next day). If you had asked me whether or not I like to read before those books, my answer would have been, “It’s okay but not my favorite thing to do.” After the Unicorn Chronicles though, it was a resounding, “I love reading! It’s the best thing in the world!” After that I kept looking for more books in the fantasy genre and fell more and more in love with them until I became the book-crazed woman I am today. Seriously. It’s 2:50 am and instead of sleeping, I had to stop myself from buying three (okay, five) books not ten minutes ago.
Song of the Wanderer book cover by Bruce Coville. Illustration by Rebecca Guay.
Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville. Cover Illustration by Rebecca Guay.
But to the point. One of the first things that caught my eye about the Unicorn Chronicles books was the cover art. Just look at them; they’re gorgeous! As a budding artist, I have to admit that the reason I even gave the books a chance was because of the covers. Even today, that’s always one of the main factors that pulls me in. Obviously, it’s not the only one now, but if I’m on the fence and it has a great cover, I’m snatching that baby up!
Now, imagine my dismay when I flipped to the copyright page and the cover illustrator wasn’t given credit. I couldn’t believe it! I hurriedly flipped the book over to see if it was anywhere on the back cover, and it wasn’t there either. Remember that this was the year 2001 and internet searching, while around, only got you so far. I couldn’t find the artist anywhere. As a last resort, I asked Bruce Coville himself. Don’t worry, I gave him the proper praise and accolades for his amazing books before I got down to the main purpose for contacting him. Unfortunately, and to my horror, he didn’t know either! And that’s where the search ended and the trail went cold. Until tonight.
I was perusing some books on goodreads and came across a series I once read by susan fletcher. I found myself thinking, “I don’t own those. I should own those. The covers are gorgeous! They remind me of the Unicorn Chronicles.” So I skipped on over to amazon to have a look at them. With Amazon’s handy ‘look inside’ feature, I was able to have a peek at the copyright page. I have to admit, my heart was pounding a little because I thought it was too much of a coincidence how alike these covers were and they just had to be done by the same artist. Alas, no credit was given in these ones either! As you can imagine, I was a little more than frustrated. Still, I clicked on the back cover page just in case… and there it was: Cover illustration by Rebecca Guay. And I stopped breathing for a little.
I did a bit of internet searching, which wasn’t all that easy I have to say given that I 99% knew it would be her. There was nothing on her site about it, which confused me greatly. I almost gave up tonight, but I just had to know. As search two commenced, my suspicions were correct; Rebecca Guay illustrated Bruce Coville’s Unicorn Chronicles books, proof here, and I can rest easy now. Except that I’m so irrationally excited about this I can’t sleep!
For the complete list of books that this amazing artist has illustrated, you can go here. I myself have read seven of them and they’re all fantastic. I highly recommend them to young teens. The books I have read include:
Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville
Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville
Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher
Flight of the Dragon Kyn by Susan Fletcher
The Wizard’s Apprentice by Jackie French Koller
A Wizard Named Nell by Jackie French Koller
The Wizard’s Scepter by Jackie French Koller
Of those, I only own three. I am now going to make it my plan to own as many of them as I can with Rebecca Guay’s original artwork. Most of the books have been reprinted now with new covers, but I will find those old ones if it kills me! If it’s one thing I’ve found, it’s that they don’t write books nowadays like they used to, and cover illustrations now stink just as bad. The old ways are always best.