You Can’t Judge a Book…

When I was a kid my favourite books were the mystery adventures written by Enid Blyton.  I considered Julian, Anne, Dick and George to be my best friends.  They were a very important and consistent part of my life.  

The book covers looked like this. Image

They featured illustrations of the kids and Timmy the dog in a scene from the book.  Some of my books were hard cover editions and had dust jackets.  I treasured them all, created library cards for them and stacked them in careful order on my bookshelf.

In the seventies, I think it was, the covers were redone to coincide with the television series made in England.


These ones had more intense images, more realistically drawn, designed to entice children to not only read the books but also to connect with the actors from the tv  shows.  The logo of The Famous Five was also a prominent feature.  Back in the fifties, we didn’t need to be told they were famous.  To us they were just the Five.  

Then, in the early part of this century, for the 70th anniversary of the series, there was another change. This time to a totally different style…Quentin Blake.


I find these reminiscent of the ones that I knew as a child and they attract me more than the 1970s versions.  

Today,  I am struggling to decide upon covers for my own books.  At the moment they have photographic-type images.


Parents tell me the covers are lovely, that they really like the silhouettes, but the kids are saying that they would prefer a more ‘cartoony’ style.  One little girl told me she love, love, loved the story of Code Breaker, but she only read it because her mother picked it out for her.

‘ I don’t like the cover. It’s not exciting’ she said with all the honesty (and complete lack of tact) of childhood…and to be honest too, if I were looking at it with my own nine-year-old eyes, I might just agree with her.

Given that the kids are my target audience, I have to do something about this.  

Five dollars spent on resulted in this.



Interesting, but I think the girl is too girly to be my Taya…she needs to be in jeans with her hair in a pony tail.  I am going to ask the artist to do a re-draw.  If I can just get the character image right, I am hoping the rest will drop into place fairly easily.

Other authors…how do you decide on cover design?




3 thoughts on “You Can’t Judge a Book…

  1. Great post EJ thank you. I too was an Enid Blyton fan when Moses was a boy.
    I keep on imagining my next book cover .. I know it will come to me. But it’s an idea to google to get ideas. I quite like your cover, but if your lass is a pony tailed bejeaned treasure hunter, maybe she does need to ‘look the part’?

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