Candy Cartoons

This style has become incredibly popular. It’s a popularity I find quite difficult to understand. The art and design reminds me of the fifties. And it surprises me that book jackets that look like the innocent fifties would attract 21st century teens. Even the clothes look dated.
And is it just one artist out there doing these? The drawing style from one to the next is so similar. Something Borrowed by Catherine Hapka (Simon Pulse 2008 ) follows the regular template for these books, with the customary candy colored cartoons. Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Sherri L. Smith (Delacorte 2008 ) is just a little different in it’s layout and color palette. But the drawing itself is the same.

Something Borrowed Hot Sour

Every once in a while, you find a jacket that seems rooted in the same style, but is far more interesting in drawing, design, layout, and color. Playing With Fire by Emily Blake (Scholastic 2006) and Don’t Get it Twisted by Paula Chase (Kensington Publishing 2007) both have orange and light orange backgrounds instead of the candy sweet colors. The overall color schemes are exceptionally attractive. The choice of silhouette in white on one, and black on the other, and the attention to varied shape and line is much more intriguing than the cartoony faces and flat shapes of the jackets above. Though I am not generally a reader of this kind of book, these two have stopped me each time I have come across them.

Playing With Fire Dont Get it Twisted

So what am I missing? What is it about the style of the first two titles here that is working? I assume it is working, because there doesn’t seem to be a slowdown in numbers of books (though they are mostly series books) released with jackets that vary only slightly.

Something Borrowed: Romantic Comedies series. (Age 12+)
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: Disaster strikes when Ana Shen is about to deliver the salutatorian speech at her junior high school graduation, but an even greater crisis looms when her best friend invites a crowd to Ana’s house for dinner, and Ana’s multicultural grandparents must find a way to share a kitchen. (Age 10+)
Playing with Fire: Fifteen-year-old Kelly’s life is a mess. Her mother is in jail, her best friend betrayed her, and her boyfriend seems too good to be true. The only thing she can depend is is that nobody can be trusted, especially members of her family. (Age 12+)
Don’t Get it Twisted: A Del Rio Bay Clique novel. (Age 12+)


One Response to “Candy Cartoons”

  1. These are HUGELY popular. They fly off the shelves. I must admit that they appeal to me personally. I collect teen fiction from the 50s and am a big fan of Joe and Beth Krush, so that explains me, but I do think there is an optimism to this sort of illustration that appeals to teen girls. They look like the books will be fun.

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