For the first Cover Controversy of 2010, we’ve got a pair of titles that match up more than most. It’s almost… controversial. Let’s have a gander at the first cover:

Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature by Leonard S. Marcus.

What’s that, you say? Not a children’s book? Oh, come on, this one counts. Now the twin:

The Runaway Dragon by Kate Coombs.

Side by side:

A curious assortment of similarities here. Both have the paper-bag brown background, the red dragon (facing the same way), and an arched title type. They also both employ what appears to be a block printing technique that gives off a pleasingly imperfect vibe.

The Minders of Make Believe illustration is indeed a classic, created in 1899 and originally appearing in L. Frank Baum’s Father Goose, His Book (view the original here). Could the Runaway Dragon artwork be an homage of sorts? Or is it just a coincidence?