I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The designers at Penguin are evil geniuses. They’ve hit on a sure-fire way to seduce several generations of adult readers weaned on Pat the Bunny with consistently irresistible covers. We may not get actual fur, or Daddy’s Scratchy Face, anytime soon, but the distillation of design and texture appeals to all the brain’s visual-tactile triggers, and I can’t be the only one whose fingers itch to touch them even though I know they’re essentially two-dimensional. They just look like they feel good. And the Penguin folks are obviously wise to this, since they’ve gone to the trouble of providing nubby cloth bindings, embossing, spot varnishing, and the like.
Their newest line is Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics: reissues of such beloveds as The Secret Garden, Emma, and Black Beauty, with the cover images done in embroidery. And not your grandma’s fussy cross-stitching, either. Penguin contracted cartoonist, illustrator and needle maven Jillian Tamaki to do them and they’re just lovely—lush and whimsical and offbeat. The artwork wraps around the whole book, including the fabulous French flaps. Talk about tactile! Short of being able to rub my hands over the originals, which I’m sure neither Jillian or Penguin would appreciate, I’m looking forward to being able to fondle the books when they come out this fall.