Monday, July 19, 2010

The Unexpected Ordinary

Bodies, body parts, and dragons--the usual subjects of fantasy book covers. It's hard to find a fantasy book that doesn't feature a face, a person, or an illustration of the title. But, in my recent browsing through the fantasy section, a few covers caught my eye. Their jackets featured common items that I didn't necessarily expect to show up on fantasy book jackets:

A pin—so simple, yet representative of a whole fantasy world.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2008)

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple’s Pay The Piper (Starscape, 2006)

is more musical than the average fairy tale book cover.

This is probably the only hammer that I came across in my fantasy-book browsing.

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, 2009)

Half fantasy or half reality?

Fade by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2010)

And this one made me want to read it simply to figure out what the heck that object is:

Love the colors and the intricate design, but what is it? An apple? A heart? A globe?

The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint (Firebird, 2002)


  1. It's a pomegranate. You can tell by the little crown on top.

  2. The object on the de Lint cover looks to me like a pomegranate.

  3. I agree with Jenny and Miriam. The de Lint book is definitely a stylized pomegranate.

  4. So why would a stylized pomegranate represent the dreaming place? I will have to check this book out so I can answer this question.

    PS Sorry about the font mis-type! I tried many different solution-attempts, but for some reason, those two sentences just wanted to be bigger.

  5. The illustrator of The Dreaming Place is Brian Froud, who also illustrates some of my favorite faery art: I had hoped to shoot off a quick email to him to ask about the pomegranate, but alas, he doesn't offer an address through the site.

  6. Carol - you might be able to get an answer (or an interview??) through (Froud's publicist.)

    Nice post, Patti! For a cool look at the symbolism behind the pomegranate (in many cultures and religions)see the Wikipedia entry. The Qur'an says they grow in the gardens of paradise; in Christianity, it's all about suffering, of course.

  7. On a side note--I like how the HUNGER GAMES series tells a story with its covers. I didn't think much about the way the mockingjay was bound in the first cover, or the mockingjay breakinf the clock on the second, but once I read those books, I saw there was a narrative going on. Cool!