It is said that you can’t always tell a book by its cover but I think you can tell a lot about a book by its Endpapers.
Endpapers are the first peek a reader gets when opening a book. These two pages at the front and back are an opportunity for the illustrator to creatively give a hint of what is to come and, in the case of endpaper maps, a hint of where the book will take us. I know that my fascination with maps began with one very special book given to me as a child –
The World of Pooh
by A. A. Milne “with decorations and new illustrations” by E. H. Shepard published by E.P. Dutton & Co.
This 1957 edition contains Winnie-The-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. I read and re-read this book and then read it to my children. The map of the “100 Aker Woods drawn by Me and Mr Shepard Helpd” brings us into Pooh’s world as soon as the book is opened. It continues to be the favorite book map of our family of map enthusiasts.
Here are some more wonderful endpaper maps I’ve found:
Nursery Friends from France
by Olive Beaupre Miller (editor), Maud Petersham and Miska Petersham (illustrators) The Book House for Children: 1927
I grew up with my mother’s childhood copy. Unfortunately, it has gone missing.
Maud Hart Lovelace (author) and Lois Lenski (illustrator) Thomas Y. Crowell Company: 1940
I loved the Betsy-Tacy books which I checked out often from our local library. The series follows Betsy, Tacy, and then includes Tib who lived in Deep Valley. The town was based on Maud Hart Lovelace’s childhood hometown of Manko so Lois Lenski visited and drew this map based on the actual setting.
The Blue Cat of Castletown
by Catherine Cate Coblentz )author) and Janice Holland (illustrator) A Newbery Honor Book David McKay Publishing; 1949
Alice In Wonderland
written by Lewis Carroll illustrated by Janice Holland; Rand McNally, 1951
Come Over to My House (An I Can Read By Myself Book)
by Theo LeSlieg (Dr. Seuss) author and Richard Erdoes (illustrator) Random House 1967
written and illustrated by Jack Kent Random House:1970
Barbara Cooney (author and illustrator) Viking: 1988
by Karen Hesse (author) Robert Andrew Parker (illustrator) Endpaper map originally published by Thomas & Andrews, Boston: 1800 Scholastic 2000
Adventures of the Treasure Fleet – China Discovers the World
by Ann Martin Bowler (author) and L.K. Tay-Audouard Tuttle Publishing:2006
I am always on the lookout for endpaper maps in books. If you know of any I’ve missed, please pass along the titles.
Read more about the design history of endpapers in this article posted by Atlas Obscura.