I’ve been noticing this very effective cover treatment on  a number of books recently – Joe Rat by Mark Barratt (Eerdmans 2009), Newsgirl by Liza Ketchum (Viking 2009), The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Atheneum 2009, c1972) and Attica by Garry Kilworth (Little, Brown UK 2006) to name a few. Their backgrounds look like posterized photos. Background color is almost monochromatic or evenly blends from one color to another. The silhouetted figures are so similarly drawn, with same kinds of angles and shadows (especially the second two), that it makes me wonder if these are all done by the same artist/designer. Probably not – all are from different publishers. The technique does seem to say “middle grade novel” more than YA – though two of these claim an age 12+ designation.
I like the title treatment on this new edition of Witches of Worm. Attica is pleasing as well. “Newsgirl” looks tacked on. It doesn’t look like it quite fits with the art. [UPDATE: The one on the artist’s website is much better]
I thought I’d seen a more similarly designed covers, but couldn’t find them when I was working on this post. I did see that Snyder’s The Headless Cupid and The Egypt Game have been reprinted in the same style.

Barratt - Joe RatKetchum - Newsgirl

Snyder - Witches of WormKilworth - Attica

Joe Rat: In the dark, dank sewers of Victorian London, a boy known as Joe Rat scrounges for valuables which he gives to “Mother,” a criminal mastermind who considers him a favorite, but a chance meeting with a runaway girl and “the Madman” transforms all their lives. Ages 12+. Reviews 1.
Newsgirl: Twelve-year-old Amelia Forrester arrives in San Francisco with her family in 1851 and dresses like a boy in the mostly-male town, cutting her hair and wearing a cap to work as a newsboy in order to sell Eastern newspapers and participate inthe biggest stories of the day. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2.
Witches of Worm: A lonely twelve-year-old is convinced that the cat she finds is possessed by a witch and is responsible for her own strange behavior. Ages 9-12. Reviews 1, 2.
Attica: Alex, Chloe and stepbrother Jordy discover that a trap door in the attic of their new home is a portal to a fantastic continent built from lost, discarded, and forgotten artifacts, wherein they embark upon an adventure to recover a lost possession and must find their way home. Ages 9-12. Reviews 1.


3 Responses to “Posterized”

  1. Oooh, love the new Witches of Worm cover.

    I wonder how many of these covers illustrator David Frankland is responsible for. He did the covers for Newsgirl, Highway Cats, The Penderwicks, Hungry City Chronicles… and so on, and so forth. Looking at Google, it looks like he did The Witches of Worm and some other Snyder covers, too.

    It’s a really attractive, distinctive look.

  2. I really like the style of these covers, too. They seem exciting, and it’s almost like you’re holding your breath just waiting for the next action sequence to begin.

  3. I do like the style on these covers. They’re very unusual and thus fresh. I’ve seen a lot of live models lately on covers so it’s nice to see something a bit different.

    As for the Newsgirl cover, I agree that the text doesn’t fit with the art; however, I can see the reasoning for the font choice.

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