What do the following three covers have in common?

Bet you know this one. Ellen Raskin! (Who loved exclamation points!) The third one is her Newbery winner, The Westing Game, with her cover design; the second is Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery winner, A Wrinkle in Time, for which Raskin designed the original cover; the first is Virginia Woolf’s long essay, sadly not a Newbery winner (better luck next time, Virginia), A Room of One’s Own, which sports a nice Raskin cover in its Harbinger/Harcourt, Brace & World paperback edition (year unknown).

The jacket copy of Raskin’s The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues says that Raskin had a room of her own, an upstairs studio in a redbrick Greenwich Village house. Almost of her own, that is–she did have to share with “three cats and a ghost who didn’t pay rent.”

Raskin’s work calls to mind, in its frenetic pacing and satisfying conclusion-bringing, Diana Wynne Jones, despite the difference in genre (mystery, not fantasy). Andrew Harwell, associate editor at HarperCollins and faculty at the recent SCBWI-NM Handsprings conference, brought up Jones as a perfect example of set up and pay off in the plot arc. I think Raskin belongs in there, too, despite her unfortunately short working life. And who doesn’t dig that Woolf cover? I wouldn’t want to share a room with any of those people.

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