The Obligatory Rant on Covers-These-Days

When I’m stressed out, I make lists of all the books I want to read. When I’m really stressed out, I buy them–all of them. But then I have massive piles of unread books lying around everywhere, which stresses me out, so I go back to Point A. Rinse, repeat. (Didn’t Einstein have a comment about that?)

I’ve finally discovered a way out of this dilemma. A loophole, as it were. Or rather, a wormhole, since we’re on the topic of Einstein–a shortcut through space-time, from point A (stressed) to point B (unstressed) without detouring through that endless cycle that widens the distance endlessly between them.

And that solution is: Only buy books I’ve already read!

So I’ve started collecting all my childhood favorites. The toughest part about this goal is that, in the years since I’ve last read most of these books, they’ve been reissued in ugly paperbacks, with covers that look like they’re trying to be too cool for school (and let’s face it, kids, school’s the coolest thing there is, so just calm down).

Check out the progression of the Alice books, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor–a series I followed faithfully from elementary school all the way through college:

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1991 cover–Blanche Sims! LOVE.
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like, omg! i look like i’m 9 but i’m in 7th grade!
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oh the drama. puh-lease.

My most recent stress-induced acquisition is the four-book Monster of the Month Club series, by Dian Curtis Regan. Breezing past some truly unfortunate cover art (thanks, Scholastic)…

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oh geez

…I discovered ex-library editions of all four books in the series with the beautiful original cover and interior illustrations by Laura Cornell:

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and Melissa Sweet:

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I received all four books in one box, emptied them onto the couch, and emerged several hours later, gorged, cross-eyed, and perfectly content.

My point is (and I know this is highly unoriginal/much blogged about and makes me sound horribly old-fashioned, but there’s no time to turn into a grumpy old lady like the present!) whatever happened to covers for kids’ books that look like they’re meant for kids? Apparently someone even thinks that if we make classics look like Twilight, kids will be more likely to read them:

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“The Love That Started It All!”

I was going to post some more examples, but then I found these wonderful collages by YA lit blogger Jillian Audrey instead, which demonstrate that modern YA covers must fall into one of nine different categories of Ugh (in my old-fashioned opinion, anyway).

I’ll stick to my out-of-print ex-library editions, thanks. See you when I resurface from the next shipment.

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4 thoughts on “The Obligatory Rant on Covers-These-Days

  1. Ahhhh, I love the Monster of the Month Club books! I read them in college (don’t judge) and thought they were hilarious! I’ve always wanted to read the Alice books but can NEVER find the first book at the library, and I don’t want to start in the middle of the series. Someday, though.

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