Sunday, 21 September 2014

Discussion: Unrelated Covers

As a prospective book buyer, apart from the title, the first thing you see is the cover. The cover is that thing that, depending on whether you like it, draws the reader in. Covers can be done really well and be incredibly effective. But some have no connection to the story whatsoever. For me, that is an issue.

This brings me on to the main reason I'm writing this post - the Penguin Classic Edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Thinking about it, I see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a classic, along with many of Dahl's books. It's great that Penguin have established this point, and have come up with a classic cover to fit the rest of the collection. However, that's as far as my agreements go. 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a wondrous children's book. Emphasis on the word children. Filled with fantastical creations, extraordinary inventions and memorable characters. It is not, nonetheless, a Stephen King novel; bursting with horror. Not so sure? Well, judging by the cover, I can't say I blame you. Seriously, it's more Charlie and the Creepy Doll Attack than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

Imagine though, if the title vanished and all there was was the cover. Actually imagine that. Very dark background, shadows consuming the light, and what is either a child on it's mother's knee, or a doll on a child's lap. That looks like something from the start of The Woman in Black. Had I not read this book and didn't know the title, from that image alone, there's no way I'd buy it.

When I showed this to my Aunt, whom introduced me to Roald Dahl's stories, it clicked with her almost immediately. Her suggestion was that it's meant to be Violet Beaureguarde and her mother, who dress identically. That makes sense. But I still don't feel that alone reflects the beauty of the book.

We need covers that actually relate to the content. Otherwise, there's going to be a lot of people surprised by what they're reading.

Holly x

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