Long, long ago (2006-2007), in a galaxy far, far away (Vermont), I was a student at a votech high school studying graphic design and I started undergrad planning to major in “Communications – Graphic design.”
While I was decorating the library for the 2016-2017 school year, I decided to make a mini “Judging a Book by Its Cover” display to celebrate the new editions I’d purchased to replace the ratty, outdated copies that cluttered the library shelves.
For fun, I also printed out this picture of Steven Universe‘s Connie from the first season opening animation, clutching her copy of A Wrinkle in Time.
The edition she’s holding has to be one of the most off-putting, unsettling cover designs in children’s book history. (This is the cover we have in the secondary library. No wonder it doesn’t circulate.) It’s so creepy.
Of course, A Wrinkle in Time is 1) a classic, and 2) almost as old as my mother, so it’s been through a lot of cover redesigns. I won’t be able to cover them all here, but here are a few of my favorites, least favorites, and some fun translations that get way, way more to the point than a lot of the English-language editions (the opposite of, say, The Hunger Games.)
I think part of the challenge is that A Wrinkle in Time, like The Golden Compass, is hard to pin down. I called it a kids’ book up there, but is it? Is it really? Is it a fantasy? Is it science fiction?
I have to believe it’s a “kids’ book” – or at least, a book children can (and should) read – because we have a copy in the elementary library, too.
It’s not the most aesthetically appealing cover, but once you know a bit about the story, it makes more sense. For a first time reader… Maybe it’s overwhelming?
The art is a little dated, and kids are vicious judges of cover design. If it looks uncool, they want nothing (nothing) to do with it. (…which is why I put up all of those “before-&-after!” design makeover posters.) Hopefully with the new movie, we’ll get a cover update. (Even if it is… shudder, a movie tie-in cover.)
Digging through editions on Goodreads, I found my favorite covers were all translations. I wish we could get some of these editions in English!