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As well reported at Jacket Knack, silhouettes are a cover trend on the rise. The following pair of covers both sport silhouettes, but with a couple additional elements that strengthen the correlation. Let’s take a look at the first cover:

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.

And now, the counterpart:

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Completely Fantastical Edition by Holly Black & Toni DiTerlizzi.

Side by side:

The low title, nighttime setting, the trees, and the lights (which are stars on the Marcello cover, but faeries (I’m assuming) on Spiderwick) give these two a similar feel, don’t you think?


Is it fair to call two covers that appear similar a controversy? Probably not. Liar? Magic Under Glass? Mysterious Benedict Society? Now those are some legitimate cover controversies. What I put forth today is more of a gentle Cover Curio. Let’s take a look…

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

Hot off the presses! This book (which has been garnering a good amount of buzz, as evidenced by this Publishers Weekly article) was just released in the U.S. this week. Now, the counterpart:

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Side by side:

While the covers don’t have many elements that exactly match up (other than the gears), there is a similar mood struck here, don’t you think?

In case you’re interested, here’s the UK cover of Incarceron:

Two recent cover curiosities have me perplexed for the same reason – characters described as decidedly not Caucasian in the text are presented that way on the book jacket. Both are unacceptable.

The first, concerning Jaclyn Dolamore’s YA title Magic Under Glass, has already been nicely discussed and fully linked at Abby (the) Librarian and Chasing Ray. Basically, it breaks down like this. Read the following excerpt from Magic Under Glass (courtesy of Charlotte’s Library):

“I knew how the men of Lorinar thought, what they wanted. To him, I was dark and foreign and crude.” (page 4)

And then take a look at the cover:

It ain’t a match. Not even close. A very disappointing sight to see. Be sure to visit the links above to learn more.

The second controversy is about The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and has been bothering me for a while. A Fuse #8 Production pointed it out a while back, and a post this week at Bookshelves of Doom got me riled up again. The character Sticky Washington, described in the book as having brown skin, has appeared on the covers of the three Benedict titles as such:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

No, it wasn’t enough to make him white, they made him albino with rosy cheeks. Seeing as how this has happened three times, I’m wondering why it has barely made a ripple. Is it due to the fact that it’s a book for younger readers? Probably not. Is it due to the fact that it’s an illustration rather than a photograph? There might be something to that. Or is it just because Sticky is one character out of many and isn’t the focus of the cover? The most likely explanation?

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?

I had designs on highlighting this cover trend a while ago, but I held off because I thought it might be fizzling out. Not so! After coming upon a couple more examples recently, I realize that holding stuff is still hot.

But first: the hands that started it all?

Logo for Allstate Insurance.

Eventually, cover designers took the hands, added stuff, and a trend was born. Holding stuff was popping up on Newbery Honor books…

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.

And, of course, bestsellers…

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

The trend has continued into ’09 and looks to extend into 2010. The evidence?

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson.

Side by side:

Turns out that holding stuff is far from done. One to keep an eye on.

(Thanks to Abby (the) Librarian and A Fuse #8 Production for the cover leads)

When it looks like someone’s about to hand you something, you tend to pay attention. Unless it’s a roll of Necco Wafers or a copy of the recent Peyton Manning picture book, both of which are so offensive they’re easy to ignore.

Two recent covers use this attention-grabbing device, and in doing so appear to be cut from the same cloth. Let’s take a look at the first cover:

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler.

The twin:

The Zippy Fix (Calvin Coconut #2) by Graham Salisbury.

Side by side:

A match?


Looking to set an ominous mood? Look no further than the iron gate. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a scientific fact that anything written in wrought iron is 10x more spooky than if it were written on paper. Take a look:

See what I mean? Okay, bad example. Three recent books covers seem to understand this phenomenon much better than I:


School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari.


Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck by Dale E. Basye.

But there is another…


Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris.

Side by side:


The similarities are hard to deny. Confirmed Cover Controversy. I feel like there’s more of these. Any to add?

(Top Image: ‘“You’ll Never Walk Alone”, Shankly Gates, Anfield,+Liverpool


Few things can build anticipation like a curling wave. Where’s it going? What’s going to happen? Hokusai captured the mood perfectly in his iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa (above). A trio of recent children’s book covers understand this and in doing so give off a distinctive separated-at-birth vibe. Let’s have a look:


Necks out for Adventure! by Timothy Basil Ering.

Number two:


Alistair and Kip’s Great Adventure by John Segal.

And to complete the trio:


Missing the Boat by Wayne Chinsang and Justin Shady.

Side by side by side:


Characters atop big waves, the nontraditional lettering – it’s a match folks. Hokusai would be proud.

As far as I know, it began in ’07.

A close up of sock-covered feet.


Pretty memorable cover, right? I would say so. That opinion must have been pretty wide spread, because the socks bandwagon got crowded quickly.


Numerous times, I thought the trend had run its course. I wouldn’t see a sock-covered book for a few months and assume that I wouldn’t see one for a long time.

But they kept popping up.


I really thought ‘09 would mark the end, but based on the following evidence, I see this trend continuing well into 2010.


Friend Me by Cathy Hopkins.

But that’s not all…


The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne.

Where will the collection stop?

(Thanks to A Fuse #8 Production for the cover tip)

x-ray machine

Scene: A doctor’s office, early in the morning.

Doctor: Good to see you! How have you been feeling?

Cover Designer: I’ve been a bit stressed lately, Doc. I want to put some foliage on this cover, but it seems kinda played. You know, leaves, flowers – I don’t know if they’re going to stand out. I’ve been wracking my brain about it.

Doctor: Let me give you some advice. Whenever I can’t figure out a diagnosis, you know what I do?

Cover Designer: What?

Doctor: I x-ray it.

Cover Designer: Doc, I think you’ve solved my problem.


The Everafter by Amy Huntley.


If I Love You, Am I Trapped Forever? by M. E. Kerr


Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner.

Side by side by side:


Okay, so maybe they didn’t x-ray the plants on these covers (although I do think that the flowers on the Everafter cover saw the inside of a radiologists office), but they certainly give off a similar vibe.

Do I see a negative-image cover trend taking hold?

(Top Image: ‘Roentgen IV control panel

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