Smiley Faces

Here’s something that’s cropping up a lot lately. The Smiley Face book. The first one I remember seeing was in a December post on The Book Design Review highlighting the jacket of Against Happiness. Those posted here are children’s books, and not quite the same idea (the smile on Against Happiness is actually an upside-down smile, and it’s done with the title text on a yellow background).
These three all happen to be on a white background. I haven’t been able to draw any plot parallels, at least from the CIP summaries. Jeremy Cabbage by David Elliott (Knopf March 2008 ), Big Mouth by Deborah Halverson (Delacorte June 2008 ), and Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli (Joanna Cotler May 2008 ) will all have been released within a couple of months of each other.

These book jackets lead me to think that the books are lighthearted in tone, but none of them really sound that way. I wonder what the authors think?

Jeremy Cabbage: While searching for a loving family, orphaned Jeremy becomes entangled in a conflict between his city’s arrogant and oppressive leader, the Baron von Strompie, and a group of outlandish people called the “cloons.” Ages 8-12.
Big Mouth: Fourteen-year-old Sherman Thuff, a student at the tomato-obsessed Del Heiny Junior High, has his hopes set on being a competitive eater, but when his training regimen begins to seriously interfere with his enjoyment of life and he even starts losing his friends, he decides he should rearrange his priorities. Ages 10+
Smiles to Go: Will Tuppence’s life has always been ruled by science and common sense but in ninth grade, shaken up by the discovery that protons decay, he begins to see the entire world differently and gains new perspective on his relationships with his little sister and two closest friends. Ages 10-14

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2 Responses to “Smiley Faces”

  1. Jeremy Cabbage: I think the face is supposed to be a clown, to give a clue to what “cloons” are.

    Big Mouth: I’m not entirely sure it’s a happy image on the cover. The hotdog doesn’t curve, giving it a bit of ambivalence – especially when titled “Big Mouth,” which isn’t usually a positive phrase.

    Smiles to Go: I suppose the eyes are enlarged protons? I can’t really connect the cover (and title) to the blurb. That would probably reduce the likelihood of me picking it up except I know and trust the Spinelli name.

  2. Then there a couple with adaptations of actual smileys– Gaultier’s Happy Kid (with a frownie face) and Meehl’s Suck It Up, with a vampire version.

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