Art Interlude: Unfortunate Cover Art III

And I’m back!  And, oddly enough they seemed to have changed to font of my blog, though I do not know quite why.   For a quick post back while I furiously type some new posts, here’s round three of Unfortunate Cover Art.  For those who missed my earlier posts you can find them at Unfortunate Cover Art/ Good Story   and  Unfortunate Cover Art Part II.

 The books below possess covers that aren’t so much terrible artwork as they are misrepresentations of the actual story.  And while you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, a good cover is always helpful in capturing new readers and providing a first impression.  Here are a few of my latest finds . . .


How To Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks (HMH Books, Expected Publication September 2013)

Okay, I admit I’m being a little less than fair with this one–this cover was for the ARC and has already been replaced with something much more appropriate.  But I couldn’t resist including it!

What you expect :  A lighthearted romp with a boy and girl  who apparently happen on a sinister shadow when they open the door.  The cartoonish characters make this feel very young and unsophisticated . . . perhaps even silly.

What you get: A lively Victorian fantasy about a spirited young apprentice Bogler who is the bait that draws out the bogles so her master can destroy them.  Full of action, danger and suspense.


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Ballantine, 1989)

What you expect: An overweight man in ill-fitting  Renaissance garb casts a “come hither” look at the freaky golem behind him.  This was the copy of The Hobbit they gave us to read in middle school–is it any surprise so many of us were reluctant to read it?

What you get:  A classic adventure in middle earth about a reluctant hobbit recruited to be part of a quest for treasure and adventure.  Our protagonist may drag his feet, but his actions lead him to become the lovable hero of this story.


Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle (Laurel Leaf, 1987)

What you expect:  Giant winged men kidnap hunky teen guys in shredded clothes.  What happens from there seems like it should be a racy adult novel.

What you get:  Book four in L’Engle’s  Time series.  Young teen twin boys get transported back to the time of Noah when they mess with their dad’s computer.   Now they have to find a way back home with the help of some unicorns and angels.


The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (Puffin, 2000)

What you expect:  Historical fiction set during medieval wartime. Lots of confused horses that look like they’re colliding in a four-horse pile-up.

What you get: A great fantasy adventure about a young girl who is kidnapped and stolen away by a Prince who discoers she is destined to become the savior of a mysterious and magical kingdom and wield the legendary Blue Sword.


The Traveling Restaurant by Barbara Else (Gecko Press, 2012)

What you expect:  A patchwork boat that serves all kinds of food on it’s voyages.  A seafaring restaurant.

What you get: A breathless tale of danger and magic.  A young man is on the run from those who would take him prisoner.  The secrets of his past and his future inheritance could change the fate of entire nations.


What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion, 2012)

What you expect: A shooting star type object crash lands on a house.  It’s all very bland  night sky stuff.

What you get:  An epic story of an alien planet overtaken by a villain while their most prized power is sent into space and lands on earth, falling into the hands of a troubled boy in a seaside town.  When the aliens track down the item, it means danger and warfare for our human protagonist and his friends.


The Hidden Boy by Jon Berkeley (Katherine Tegan Books, 2010)

What you expect:  A boy wandering the woodland.  Oddly he doesn’t seem very hidden–especially not in a bright red shirt.

What you get: An unusual story about a strange family holiday in mysterious place called Bell Hoot–hard to explain or describe, but a bit more exciting than the title.


Weirdos of the Universe Unite by Pamela Service (Fawcett, 1992)

What  you expect: school kids encounter really terribly dressed Ren Faire actors and try to  escape the threat of live action role playing!

What you get: Two kids, their computer smarts and the  mythical characters they conjure up on the computer outwit a group of invading aliens disguised as garbage cans.


Journey to Terezor by Frank Asch (Random House Books, 1991)

What you expect: Small town USA is invaded by giant lethal ball bearings that hate lampposts.

What you get:  During a flood, Matt and his family are abducted by aliens and taken to a planet inhabited by many displaced humans and other alien species.  Determined to get back to earth, Matt enlists the help of new friends to engineer a way to escape the planet.


The Green Futures of Tycho by William Sleator (Puffin, 1991)

What you expect: Well obviously the green futures of Tycho include complete home furnishings in bright green and yelling at people on TV screens.  Despite the black leotard and chunky green belt, the future doesn’t look very future-y.

What you get: A time-traveling adventure where a boy moves back and forth through time to play pranks on his siblings, but quickly realizes every trip through time, even to the future, changes things in his present day world.

What unfortunate cover art can you think of?


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on July 26, 2013, in Art Interlude, General Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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