Sunday, January 28, 2018

Judging By The Covers: "Now A Major Motion Picture!"

In the last few posts, I've talked about some of the reasons why books might get new covers. These reasons include: 1. Entice new readers! 2. New publisher, new cover! 3. Update the outdated! 4. And other reasons! 

 Here's yet another reason -- because the book has been made into a movie!

 A movie tie-in cover can work positively in two main ways. One, it can get people interested in the book itself ("Hey, Tom Hanks is on this cover... I love Tom Hanks! I should read this book!) Two, it can get people interested in the movie. ("Whaaat? There's a Little Women movie? I love the book Little Women! I should go see this movie!")*

Yes! Everybody wins! The publishers/authors sell more books, Hollywood sells a few extra movie tickets, and Average Reader JoeBob McBookerton gets to own a book with a cool cover. What's not to love?

Not all books made into films get the tie-in treatment. I have yet to see an official copy of a Harry Potter book featuring Daniel Radcliffe on a broomstick. Probably because the HP books have sold very well on their own accord. Plus, the HP books and the movies, for a while, were being released one-of-each-per-year. Both did well. It wasn't like we needed an additional reminder that, "Oh yeah, these books are movies, too," or vice versa.

But Harry Potter appears to be the exception. More often than not, an upcoming movie seems to prompt a tie-in cover.

Did you know (gasp!) there are actually people out there who don't like movie tie-in covers?? This article from the New York Times talks about the outcry when The Great Gatsby was given a Hollywood cover when the Leonardo DiCaprio movie came out.

The loathing was real. Personally, I like the tie-in.

In fact, I think I tend to like movie tie-in covers better than the original covers.

Below are some examples of tie-ins I own, alongside one of the book's earlier covers. Shall I compare them?

It took me a while to warm up to the Narnia movies, but I really enjoy them now. Eh, so what if Prince Caspian's supposed to be blonde and, like, a kid? Movie Caspian be Eye Candy, and that's all right with me.

Winner: Tie-in

Four famous girls... and Laurie, the boy two of them loved.

Way to sell it, book people.

Sad news: I looked it up, and all those actresses are now dead.

Winner: Either

I think I'd rather have the tie-in because (to me) it looks better than the original cover. I mean... that one's just so yellow. Plus, Rory Gilmore, yay.

Winner: Tie-In

I bought the tie-in cover before the movie came out, because I liked Anne Hathaway from other things. And, oh my, Anne is the only reason I've kept that version. That movie was a pile of burning rubbish.

Winner: Original

I loved the 2003 movie, so yeah I had the book, but it remains unread. I really need to get on that....

Winner: Tie-In

Both the movie and the book are great. Both covers are fine. I own the tie-in, even though I'm not too fond of Rosie O'Donnell... at least she's tiny.

Winner: Either

Here I prefer the original cover, with its iceberg-esque pillows in front of a starry sky. Of course, it doesn't help that Moustache Dad looks totally dopey over on the right, there.

Winner: Original

Seriously, what is that face?

Okay, I love Garth Williams. His pictures are classic and iconic. And I like how the Dakota Fanning cover pays tribute to it.

Winner: Both!

What are your thoughts on movie tie-in covers? If you have any particular favorites, let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Judging By The Covers: Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" Books

Ramona Quimby made her debut in 1950 in Beverly Cleary's first novel, Henry Huggins. Henry had a neighbor, Beezus. Beezus had a little sister, Ramona. And Ramona was a "perfect terror." Whether she was stealing newspapers from Henry's paper route, locking Henry inside his clubhouse, or running off with Henry's dog Ribsy's prized bone, she was certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Ramona continued to appear throughout the Henry series during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955, Cleary published Beezus and Ramona, giving special attention to the Quimby sisters. It would be thirteen years before Ramona would get a book of her own (Ramona The Pest, 1968).

Over the next sixteen years, Cleary wrote 5 more Ramona books. Two of these, Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8, won Newbery Honors. After 1984's Ramona Forever, Cleary took a 15-year hiatus from the character, finally returning to her in 1999 with Ramona's World.

As the Ramona books have spanned multiple decades, they have belonged to different publishers at different times. In the beginning, they were published by William Morrow; later, Dell (Yearling); then onward to Avon (Camelot), Harper Collins, and Scholastic. Other countries have published the books as well, the most recognized name probably being Penguin Books in the UK, through the Puffin imprint. Naturally, each of these publishers has had their say when it comes to cover design.

Louis Darling illustrated the original editions of Beezus and Ramona and Ramona The Pest. The early covers for these books feature his work.

Louis Darling died in 1970. So, for 1975's Ramona The Brave, a new Ramona illustrator was needed. Enter Alan Tiegreen. He continued illustrating the Ramona books all the way through Ramona's World.

In recent years, the books have gotten new interior illustrations and covers courtesy of illustrator Tracy Dockray.

In between, of course, there have been other covers as well.

Below I've assembled an assortment of the Ramona book covers that are out there. Which do you remember from your childhood? Which are your favorites?

Beezus and Ramona (1955)

Ramona The Pest (1968)

Ramona The Brave (1975)

For some reason, when there's a cover with Ramona looking "realistic," I find it sort of unsettling.

Then again, check out this one from Spain:

Now that's creepy.

Ramona and Her Father (1977)

Ramona and Her Mother (1979)

The original hardcover (upper left) is my favorite, but I've always loved Mrs. Quimby's face on that toothpaste one.

This Spanish-language cover is pretty:

I'm thinking the world could use some more watercolor Ramona covers.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981)

Ramona Forever (1984)

Ramona's World (1999)

Considering this series has enjoyed lasting popularity, I'm sure the covers will continue to be updated again and again.


Hey! Check out out my other posts on the topic of book covers!

And, if you're looking for some laughs, be sure to visit:! :)