Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Cover Evolution

I always hated the Dick and Jane books, in part because I was too advanced a reader by the time we got them in school, and in part because of their illustrations. It is particularly the memory of their covers that gives me a queasy feeling even today.

Like fiction prose, book illustration also follows changing fashion. These two pictures show covers of excellent middle-grade novels. They have the same publisher, but are from two different eras. The cover for Hiaasen's more recent Hoot is streamlined and neutral, yet intriguing. The older one, Snyder's Witches of Worm, has many problems: it's too busy, it misrepresents a serious psychological study of a girl as a mystery romp, and it gives away part of the ending (the girl and the boy aren't speaking for most of the story).

Of course, what a middle-grade novelist really wants is a movie still on the cover, since that means she's sold her story as a screenplay!

1 comment:

  1. I'm usually disappointed with book covers that illustrate a paticular scene in a book. There's always some flaw, or the way I invision the characters is different than the illustrators.