Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 155: Middle Grade (Part 50)

Today’s post is sponsored by Candlewick and The Rat Queen!

Title The Rat Queen
Author Pete Hautman
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date October 11th 2022 by Candlewick
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBound

From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman comes a mysterious modern-day fairy tale about developing a moral compass — and the slippery nature of conscience.

For Annie’s tenth birthday, her papa gives her a pad of paper, some colored pencils, and the Klimas family secret. It’s called the nuodeema burna, or eater of sins. Every time Annie misbehaves, she has to write down her transgression and stick the paper into a hidey-hole in the floor of their house. But Annie’s inheritance has a dark side: with each paper fed to the burna, she feels less guilty about the mean things she says and does. As a plague of rats threatens her small suburban town and the mystery of her birthright grows, Annie — caught in a cycle of purging her misdeeds — begins to stop growing. It is only when she travels to her family’s home country of Litvania to learn more about the burna that Annie uncovers the magnitude of the truth.

Gripping and emotionally complex, Pete Hautman’s inventive yarn for middle-grade readers draws on magical realism to explore coming of age and the path to moral responsibility.

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design.


Please Note: As always, I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the stunning covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer and/or artist responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.


01. Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel
Cover art by Robert Frank Hunter


02. You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro
Cover design by Jessie Gang, Cover art by Helder Oliveira


03. Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango
Cover design by Katrina Damkoehler, Cover art by Abigail L. Dela Cruz


04. Front Country by Sara St. Antoine


05. Miracle Season by Beth Hautala
Cover art by Alexandra Bye


06. Into The Glades by Laura Sebastian
Cover art by Vivienne To


07. Where The Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Cover design by Sarah Kaufman, Cover art by Feifei Ruan, Art Direction by Aurora Parlegreco


08. Secrets of Stone and Sea by Allison K. Hymas
Cover art by Jo Rioux


09. Wolfish by Christiane M. Andrews
Cover design by Jenny Kimura, Cover art by Yuta Onoda


10. Consider The Octopus by Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner
Cover design by Mallory Grigg, Cover art by Maike Plenzke


11. Turn The Tide by Elaine Dimopoulos
Cover art by Dana SanMar, Art direction by Whitney Leader-Picone


12. The Real Deal by Lindsey Stoddard
Cover design by Catherine Lee, Cover art by Maike Plenzke, Art direction by Alison Donalty


13. The Hike To Home by Jess Rinker
Cover art by Ricardo Bessa, Art direction by Trisha Previte


14. Second Sleep by Diane Stanley


15. Learning To Fall by Sally Engelfried
Cover art by Chris Danger


16. Haven Jacobs Saves The Planet by Barbara Dee
Cover art by Erika Pajarillo


17. Nowhere Better Than Here by Sarah Guillory
Cover art by Alisha Monnin, Art direction by Trisha Previte


18. Girl Giant and The Jade War by Van Hoang
Cover design by Aurora Parlagreco, Cover art by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien


19. Key Player by Kelly Yang
Cover art by Maike Plenzke


20. This Appearing House by Ally Malinenko
Cover design by David DeWitt, Cover art by Maike Plenzke

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!

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