Storytime’s Secret Cover

Storytime Magazine

Storytime Issue 43 recently launched, bringing home the fact that we’re over three years and an astounding 300 stories and poems into this adventure. It made us feel reflective and we couldn’t resist looking back at our previous magazine covers.

Storytime magazine

Never before seen: the Storytime cover that never was. Note that the title font changed too.

We couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but Issue 1 will always have a special place in our hearts – even though it was the most agonised-over cover we’ve worked on. (Launch issue… the pressure!) Anyway, there’s a story behind that cover, plus a secret we’ve never told anyone…

The Hare and the Tortoise was never meant to be our Issue 1 cover

For months and right up until the last moment, Goldilocks and the Three Bears was our cover. We’d commissioned the cover art from the briilliant Brooke Boynton Hughes and it was adorable – just what we’d hoped for. However, Storytime magazine was about to go on sale in newsagents nationwide, sitting alongside the plastic cover-mount brigade, and we just had a nagging feeling that our bears would get eaten alive. Our cover felt too sweet to compete.

Launching by a hare’s whisker

At the same time, artwork had come in for The Hare and the Tortoise by Corey R Tabor (see above) and we all loved it. It was characterful, bright, colourful, full of wit – just what we hoped Storytime magazine would be. With very little time left before going to print, we decided to take a gamble on a lesser-known story and commission Corey to illustrate our first cover. We loved the result and made our deadline by a hare’s whisker.

Our final cover for Storytime Magazine Issue 1

Slow and steady wins the race

We’ll never know whether a Goldilocks cover would have sold better, but in hindsight, we’re all sure that The Hare and the Tortoise was the right choice. Not just for design reasons, but because the image and story sum up so much who we are. We might not have the manpower, budget or speed-to-market of bigger publishers – we might well be the tortoise to their hare – but we have an army of loyal subscribers who are reading for pleasure, so here’s hoping that slow and steady really does win the race. 43 issues in, we’re still not out of the running!


To date, The Hare and the Tortoise has been the only fable to make a Storytime magazine cover and Issue 1 was the only cover story we’ve ever changed (thankfully).

So what do you think? Did we make the right choice? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. Incidentally, you can still get hold of Issue 1 and other Storytime issues in our Back Issue Shop.

Talking fairy tales next time, so hopefully see you soon!