There are some really bad children’s book covers out there. But most of those books aren’t exactly best-sellers…the real tragedy occurs when the cover is an insult to the text inside. Off the top of my head, here are two books that really don’t deserve their disastrous cover art.
First up: The Chosen by Chaim Potok. A character-driven story about friendship, fathers-and-sons and something you don’t often encounter in YA literature: in-depth discussions of Judaism.
Alas, the cover promises much boredom. You can’t go duller than brown on brown, and the kid doesn’t even look angsty. He just stares, slightly dreamy and contemplative, like a surveyor of mediocre art.
I’m a huge fan of the His Dark Materials series, so imagine my surprise when I saw the revamped Amber Spyglass. The original (American) cover captured the mystery and beauty of the kids’ journey. This one looks like a cheap thriller.
That spyglass resembles nothing so much as a sewage pipe—and why is Dust (the glittery bits) painted in psychedelic colors? Perhaps it’s an attempt to create “adult” covers for children’s books so commuters don’t feel ashamed about their subway reading. They did it with Harry Potter, but those were at least serviceable.
What do you think? Are there other great books cursed with shockingly bad covers?