Archive for August, 2009

Hanging & Levitating: I Can Fly! Part 2

Posted in book covers, fonts on August 28, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Here are more books where feet, legs, and sometimes more, hang from the top of the book. It’s not that I think any of these are unattractive – I like all of them well enough.
BUT when I really get to thinking about what’s going on here, I get kind of creeped out. Feet, hanging loosely down with shoes untied on The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff (Laura Geringer, 2006)… makes me wonder. Did a kid hang himself?
No, I don’t really think that’s what it is. Georgie is a dwarf and probably this is what his feet look like when he’s sitting in a chair? But there’s no chair in the background… it’s just creepy.
And Hope is working on buying purple hiking boots in Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson (Little Brown 2007). I get that. But why is she sitting in the sky?
On The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee (Knopf, 2009), is this Jenny jumping straight-legged up into the sky? Or did she hang herself too?
Clearly though, Larry of Larry and the Meaning of Life by Janet Tashjian (Henry Holt, 2008) is just levitating. OR is it just a strange use of The Rule of Three?

Feet 1Feet 2

Feet 3Feet 4

Just one thing about title text here. The curved title of The Anatomy of Wings is interesting. But why? I’m not sure if it means something, or shapes something or…???

Thing About Georgie: Georgie’s dwarfism causes problems, but he could always rely on his parents, his best friend, and classmate Jeanie the Meanie’s teasing, until a surprising announcement, a new boy in school, and a class project shake things up. Ages 8-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.
Call Me Hope: In Oregon, eleven-year-old Hope begins coping with her mother’s verbal abuse by devising survival strategies for herself based on a history unit about the Holocaust, and meanwhile she works toward buying a pair of purple hiking boots by helping at a second-hand shop. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.
Anatomy of Wings: After the suicide of her troubled teenage sister, eleven-year-old Jenny struggles to understand what actually happened. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4. Reading Group Guide.
Larry and the Meaning of Life: Larry (otherwise known as Josh) is in the doldrums, but after meeting a spiritual guru at Walden Pond who convinces him to join his study group, he starts to question his grasp of reality. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.

I Can Fly! Part 1

Posted in book covers, trends on August 18, 2009 by Jacket Whys

People often say they’re tired of the body part thing on book covers. But here’s a cropping I find kind of fun. There’s an energy in these asymmetrical covers that seems to carry into the arrangement of the title text. These almost make you hold your breath, waiting for the subject to come back to earth. A suspense is created – something we like when we read.

Great sense of movement on these: Solving Zoe by Barbara Dee (Simon & Schuster 2009), The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance (Simon & Schuster 2009), Jumper: Griffin’s Story by Steven Gould (Tom Doherty 2007), and Soccer Chick Rules by Dawn FitzGerald (Roaring Brook 2006).

SolvingGeek Girl


Part 2 will be covers with feet (legs, etc.) hanging from the sky – that are not so successful.

Solving Zoe: Zoe’s sixth-grade year at a Brooklyn school for gifted students is marked by changing relationships with her fellow students and teachers, recognition of her talent for cryptography, and a greater awareness of her passion. Ages 8-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.
Geek Girl’s Guide: Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4.
Jumper: Ages . Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4. Book trailer.
Soccer Chick: While trying to focus on a winning soccer season, thirteen-year-old Tess becomes involved in local politics when she learns that all sports programs at her school will be stopped unless a tax levy is passed. Ages 10-14. Reviews 1, 2, 3.

Thank you!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Thanks so much for the thoughtful in put to my “Fresh” post. The kudos were nice to get, and the ideas were great!
Here is a boiled down list of suggestions:

  • Cover trends in countries other than the U.S.
  • Comparison of covers from countries other than the U.S.
  • The use of stock photos: financial issues, pros & cons, exclusive rights, cover-specific photo shoots
  • Evolution of covers for books long in print
  • Historical accuracy on historical fiction
  • Publisher’s process in choosing cover art: Interviews with graphic designers, photographers, editors, big booksellers and authors about the choice of a book cover
  • Book spines
  • Endpapers
  • Cover trends over the decades (admission: I’ve been working on this one for a long time, with the goal of a journal article, perhaps far into the future – there’s a lot to look at

I keep a backlog of post ideas, so you may not see all of this right away – but be assured I will be working with these suggestions in mind.
IF you are a cover designer, cover photographer, editor who makes cover choices, bookseller who influences choices, or author who has a book cover story, I’d love to hear from you at jacketwhys (at)

Many thanks to all who responded!


Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2009 by Jacket Whys

It occurs to me this morning, that all of this – other than covering controversy – could get stale.

So I’m asking you. What would you like to see covered ;-) here? What have I not addressed? What burning questions have you? (about book covers, of course!).

Thanks for your feedback.

The Power of -Controversy

Posted in book covers, controversy on August 6, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I was just talking with a friend about the Liar controversy – conversation during which I said I thought Bloomsbury would do something in response to the uproar. At the very least, I guessed they’d do a new paper jacket with a more fitting cover. And I came home to this (thanks to the author)!


So what do you think?

UPDATE:  8/7/09. For Tanita (see comments): I agree with you – and I’m actually about a third of the way through the book. I love the face on this cover. I wonder if it isn’t a little closer to what you would have hoped for Liar (except for this woman is absolutely beautiful).

Hot girl

Hot Girl by Dream Jordan (interview with the author)

Titular T-Shirts

Posted in book covers, trends on August 4, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Obiously from the numbers, t-shirt titles are pretty popular. I’m guessing they’re mostly photoshopped in, but some of them look like real shirts.  Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner (Random House 2008, c2007) – photoshopped in? Dishes by Rich Wallace (Viking 2008) looks real. Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig (Knopf 2008) – obviously digitally added. The Homeschool Liberation League by Lucy Frank (Dial 2009) looks real – and Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana (HarperTeen 2009) even credits an artist for the t-shirt art. Deep in the Heart of High School by Veronica Goldbach (Farrar Straus Giroux 2009), hmmm… digitally added “Deep in the Heart of” (High School is obvious)?
I like them. Actually, I like this paperback cover of Spanking Shakespeare a lot better than the hardcover. They’re different enough from one another to keep them from seeming repetitive.
But yeah. Gotta crop out those heads and legs…


Spanking Shakespeare: Shakespeare Shapiro navigates a senior year fraught with feelings of insecurity while writing the memoir of his embarrassing life, worrying about his younger brother being cooler than he is, and having no prospects of ever getting a girlfriend. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Dishes: Nineteen-year-old Danny spends an eventful summer in Maine, looking for romance, working as a “straight” dishwasher in a gay bar, and trying to reconnect with his estranged father. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4,
Boy Minus Girl: When his charming but irresponsible uncle comes to visit his small Kansas hometown, fourteen-year-old Les Ekhardt hopes to get tips from him about succeeding with girls, but he learns much more important lessons from his stodgy, predictable parents and friendships with a lesbian classmate and one of Uncle Ray’s former girlfriends. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3,
Homeschool Liberation League: Thirteen-year-old Katya convinces her parents to try homeschooling her for a month, but while she is finally excited about learning–and about Milo, the violin prodigy who lives nearby–not everything works out as she had hoped. Ages 10+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Riding the Universe: Seventeen-year-old Chloé, who inherited her uncle’s beloved Harley after his death, spends the subsequent year trying to pass chemistry, wondering whether she should look for her birth parents, and beginning an unlikely relationship with her chemistry tutor, while also trying to figure out how she really feels about the boy who has been her best friend since they were children. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Jacket design by Joel Tippie. Jacket photograph by Ali Smith. T-shirt art by Darren Brass.
Deep in the Heart of High School: Three friends, Olivia Silverstein, Fatima Garcia, and Vanessa Reynolds, help one another through family troubles, romantic crushes, and the perils of freshman year at a San Antonio, Texas, high school. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.