Double Dip Redux

Here’s another instance of the use of the same photo on different book jackets from different publishers. On Pretty Things by Sarra Manning (Dutton 2005), the pair of feet on the left have painted nails and a ring on the second toe of the right foot, and the other pair of feet is male (hairy legs). On Life as it Comes by Anne-Laure Bondoux (Delacorte 2007), the ring and paint are on the right pair and the hair is airbrushed out (or airbrushed in on the other book). Both pairs of feet are female. The type treatment is similar in orientation – though much more subtle in the Bondoux book. What is most surprising is that the photo cropping and orientation are almost identitcal.
It is not obvious to me, from the cover photo of Pretty Things, that the book deals heavily with issues of sexuality (gay vs. straight). I wonder if those who pick it based on what they assume from the jacket advertisement will feel that they got what they expected.
The sisters whose feet we see on Life as it Comes, are opposites. Is that is what the designer is trying to show with the colored nail polish and ring vs. plain feet?
Both of these sets of feet are set against very plain backgrounds…

Pretty Things Life As It

as opposed to these other pairs of feet. On Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Knopf 2006) and The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci (Candlewick) the feet are set against backgrounds that add information. Where are the feet in Becoming Chloe going? (And will it surprise you that there is a “gang rape on the first page”? Booklist). The background of The Queen of Cool hints at the main character’s work at a zoo (but a pink leopard?). The significance of showing just her feet?

Becoming Chloe Queen of Cool

And then there are feet in fancy socks. It’s surprising to know that the story in A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban (Harcourt 2007) concerns music (the main character learning to play a “Perfectone D-60 organ”) and agoraphobia (her father has it). What do striped socks with pink toes have to do with it?
Candyfloss is the British word for cotton candy – which is usually pink. So the pinkness of the socks on Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson (Roaring Brook 2007 – see the very different British cover) makes sense. Not sure about the polka dots on the socks or the big polka dots on the dress…
Something to think about: The books with socks? For ages 8-12. Bare feet? They’re for age 14 and up.

Crooked Kind Candyfloss

Life as it Comes: After their parents are killed in a car accident, sisters Mado, fifteen, and Patty, twenty, try to cope, but when the irresponsible and impulsive Patty gets pregnant and expects Mado to take charge of everything, life becomes increasingly difficult. Jacket design by ??. Cover photo by Terry Husebye/Getty Images.
Pretty Things: While rehearsing for a production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” four English teenagers explore their relationships and sexuality, while also discovering some surprising truths about themselves. Jacket design by Linda McCarthy. Cover photo by Terry Husebye/Getty Images.
Becoming Chloe: A gay teenage boy and a fragile teenage girl meet while living on the streets of New York City and eventually decide to take a road trip across America to discover whether or not the world is a beautiful place.
Queen of Cool: Bored with her life, popular high school junior Libby signs up for an internship at the zoo and discovers that the “science nerds” she meets there may have a few things to teach her about friendship and life.
Crooked Kind of Perfect: Ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself to learning the organ, instead, finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.
Candyfloss: When her mother plans to move to Australia with her new husband and baby, Floss must decide whether her loyalties lie with her mother or her father, while at the same time, her best friend begins to make fun of her and reject her. Jacket photo at Getty Images.


4 Responses to “Double Dip Redux”

  1. What a cool blog! Very interesting comments on these colors. Great idea!


  2. er…covers. Not colors. :)

  3. I like your observations, they make me start thinking . . . designers do some bizarre things! However, I can explain the socks on A Crooked Kind of Perfect’s cover. Zoe’s best friend ditches her for the more popular girls, and when Zoe gives her a pair of toe socks (actually, in the exact colors as the ones on the cover), they all make fun of her because nobody wears socks anymore. :-)

  4. A Crooked Kind of Perfect has a perfect cover. Those socks are actually described in the book, down to the colors of the stripes.

    Of the four covers with feet & toes that you posted above, my favorite (and again, most fitting cover) is The Queen of Cool. The publishers sent out those decals while promoting the book, in fact.

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