Dogs Don’t Brush Their Teeth!: The Cover

Our original title and cover for the book suggested that this was an instructional book for dogs to learn proper canine behavior.  We decided that a Basset Hound would give the best “professorial” look.

Diane made the color version from various dog shots, a human body, and digital art.  We agonized over every shadow and tried multiple type designs before settling on this.Our editor felt that this art was too sophisticated for very young children.  It also reminded him of another of his authors—William Wegman!  He suggested we make it “younger” and change the title to “Dogs Do…Dogs Don’t!”
For cover #2 Shelley photographed an Australian Shepherd puppy. Click on the video to see her at work.
We wanted the dog blowing a bubble, so Shelley used her friend Hope as a model.
Then Diane redesigned the cover (#2).
We thought #2 was cute.  The marketing people at Scholastic thought it was TOO cute.  They thought it looked like a book about puppies and would be misleading.  So Shelley photographed an older dog for cover #3.
After thinking about it, the marketing people said the title sounded like a nonfiction book about dogs, which would be misleading in the catalog. They wanted a new title and a new cover design.  Their favorite interior picture was the dog with the braces—they suggested we try that for cover #4.
We thought #4 was the final cover and title.  But then some people felt that braces would not be recognizable to very young children.  So we compromised with what FINALLY became the final cover.
It wasn’t easy drawing the toothpaste and bubbles into the art at the last minute.  Diane used a mirror to see what it should look like.Needless to say, we finally created a cover that Scholastic (and the marketing dept.) was happy with.

While we still have a special fondness for the original cover, we have to agree that the final version appeals to all ages and puts a smile on everyone’s face!