Spring 2011 will be remembered as the season when children’s fantasy illustrators charged extra for faces.
But it is true that, of all the varied and gorgeous covers of middle grade fantasies due out between now and August, almost half of them show the protagonist(s) from behind or in silhouette.
This is diabolically clever, in my opinion. The “from behind” perspective draws us, the readers, into the adventure. In most cases, we’re on the same footing with the protagonist, possibly about to draw a sword and join the fun. A deep black silhouette, meanwhile, draws our eye to the human element but adds mystery—what does this person actually look like?—and the setting looks lush and interesting by comparison.
Also on covers this spring: Dragons, elegant and comic. Monsters, mostly green. Spooky mansions. Animals with clothes and without. Swords. Flaming trousers.
In case you’re wondering, “middle grade” fiction is for older kids and “tweens.” Amazon pegs it at ages 9 to 12, and that’s the designation I’m going by here. With apologies to independents, I used Amazon as my guide in all things: If they called a book “young adult” or didn’t have the cover up yet, it’s not included.
Who Can Resist This Little Face?
Give Me Trousers and I’ll Walk Like You
Okay, Don’t Give Me Trousers
Trousers Seem Kind of Unhealthy Anyway
Twists of Fate
Run, Swirl, and Swim
No, Seriously. Run!
All these covers are so clever I have a hard time choosing a favorite. I’m intrigued, though, by the covers for THE SECRET WAR and THE UNDROWNED CHILD—each has such an unusual and compelling point of view, either way up in the air or underwater.
Which is your favorite? Why?