Art Interlude: Homeward Bounders

This is a quick one–but I realized that I wanted to share the various art I’d found from the book, so here we go! We’ll start off with the cover art that’s the absolute best, to my mind:


(HarperCollins, 2010)

Sigh.  This beautiful cover belongs to the UK edition.  I don’t know why they don’t have this set of covers for books by DWJ available Stateside.   This captures not only the magic of the whole thing, but the game-play aspect.  It shows Them, in looming villainy goodness, it shows our three characters (though surprisingly our female character is front and center rather than Jamie).  The silhouettes look cool, but the kids look like kids–not young adults.  Everything about this cover labels it as something I would pick up and read. (Not to mention I love the way the author’s name is written across the top.)


(Harper Trophy, 2002)

This is the most recent US edition.  It’s not the worst of the lot, admittedly.  Big image of main character with the looming Them in the background.  But there’s nothing to really give the story a sense of place and magic.  There’s nothing particularly interesting about our hero here–except that he comes off as clearly Brit and looks to be a school boy.  It’s a cover that wouldn’t really draw me by image–though the title is still eye-catching.


(Mammoth, 1990)

I think this a purely UK edition.  I don’t know if they were trying to evoke a Harry Potter-like interest here, but Jamie looks quite sullen and angry.  With the looming death-head Them in the background and the entire school-like building lit up with mystic light, it’s easy to see this as a story where the kid gets mad and calls up something magically bad.  That magic baddie decides it will go and make the whole school either a) disintegrate b)take off into space c)vanish into some other realm.  It’s really doesn’t communicate the story from the book.


(HarperCollins, 2000)

Not sure if this one was available only in the UK, but I’ve never seen the cover here. Some good elements here: The giant anchor, the three protagonists, the looming Them.  Interestingly, it’s our other male character featured dead-center here.  He pops out in his silvery clothes.  There’s a bit too much red in this shot for the other characters to be seen as clearly,and that may be more a facet of the image capture than the actual cover.



(Ace, 1986)

This is the odd one out cover, featuring not people, but the Flying Dutchman as the subject matter.  It’s . . . more of an adult paperback pulp cover than the traditional children’s cover, but it’s likely one I would have snagged back in the day.  Despite the minimal detail, the mysterious flying ship plus the title and tag line would have sold me into trying it.


Not sure of the publication for this one but Yeesh.  I really don’t know what this is supposed to be. Bone mutant elephant creatures attack a guy?  It’s my least favorite of the entire set of covers.



(MacMillan, 1981)

This is the cover from the first UK edition.  While I don’t love it, it’s certainly foreboding enough, with lots of strange and disturbing details.  The floating kid’s head in the middle is a little too disturbing to my mind, but still it does capture the essence of the story.

That’s all the actual cover images I can find, though I know I had another cover image at my library when I was growing up.  I can’t find the particular art anywhere online that I’ve looked so far.

What’s your favorite cover?  Comments welcome!


About Stephanie Whelan

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

Posted on May 18, 2015, in Art Interlude, General Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    #1 is the best design of these for sure. I have a fondness for #5, which I used to own (what happened to that one??). It doesn’t bring out much about the book but at least it’s attractive. I also own #6 and apparently hang on to it for its sheer weirdness. #2 is too blah — all the covers done in that publishing line have a certain sameness about them. The others are just bad. Is there a hotly contested “Worst DWJ cover art” contest out there that we don’t know about? The designers seem to be going for that a lot of the time. I notice that Goodreads doesn’t even have the cover from the Greenwillow hardcover edition, but as far as I recall it’s not that exciting, just an image of the fortress of “Them.” Thanks for the cover comparing fun anyway!

  2. It’s so interesting to see the evolution of styles and cover elements on the same book cover through a succession of years. At the time of publication, they must have been considered perfectly acceptable, but look at them a few years on, and the question is always, “Who OK’d THAT?!?”

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