The clichéd phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” was probably coined because it is in our human nature to do just that. Authors know it. Illustrators know it. Publishers know it (otherwise we wouldn’t have cover art, or this conversation) Salsanpeeps knows it:
It could be just that I love the book, but “There’s A Monster At The End of This Book.” I think “Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing” is telling. Not sure why, but the cover of “Snow Falling on Cedars” always captivated me.
I’d venture to say that any book illustrated by Eric Carle would make my least favorite cover.
Salsanpeeps makes a good point that I agree with. If I like the style of the illustrations between the covers, such as ANIMALS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT WEAR CLOTHING, I usually also like the cover. And the same goes for disliking, as with Eric Carle’s books mentioned above. Most of the time, if I can’t judge the book by the cover, I can judge the illustrator’s style by the cover.
As an author, I’ve been told to let the illustrations tell half of the story. So, if I don’t like the illustrations, I probably won’t like half of the book. That means the cover of a book is REALLY important. But so are the words. If I really like a book, I also usually become connected to the cover. The comment above hits on this too, with THERE’S A MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK.
So book covers can make me like an illustrator’s style, help me connect with a book I love, or remind my of a style I don’t like. Check out some of the covers I like below:
Covers I like because I like the style:
Covers I like because I like the book:
Covers that work for me on both levels: