Monday, July 26, 2010

What Has 24 Legs . . . and Is Crawling Down Your Screen?

Gentle Readers:
Please, I beg of you, do NOT miss this post about book covers on the "ShelfTalker" blog. Elizabeth has compiled massive groups of book covers by trend. Snipped from the comments:
". . . this much similarity has two effects: 1) on the plus side, they do target their intended readers pretty directly, if unoriginally, and so are good for impulse buys; 2) on the negative side, how can teens tell if they’ve already read that book if it looks exactly like another?"
Good stuff, no? And now, we present today's post about . . . LEGS. Lotsa legs. Twenty-four, in fact, not counting the pug.

leg n. 
a. A limb or an appendage of an animal, used for locomotion or support.
b. One of the lower or hind limbs in humans and primates.
The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Dial, 2010
c. The part of the limb between the knee and foot in vertebrates.
d. The back part of the hindquarter of a meat animal.
The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad (Penguin Paperback, 2007)
 All of these are girls' legs. Has anyone seen any boy leg covers? Do note the brown skin (however scant) on the model for this next one:
Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez (Little, Brown, 2009)
Lynn Visible, Julia DeVillers (Dutton, 2010)
Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking in a recent issue from Puffin (2005)
Step aside, Pippi. You've got competition. What hath thou wrought? Wacky socks=good middle grade book cover?

Here's one of the leg shots in Melissa J. Morgan's Camp Confidential series from Penguin:

Topsy Turvy (#24)
(Cute slippers.) Still all girls. Wonder if hairy legs don't sell books. Dunno. There seems to be no end of girl legs, though. How about this one:
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff (BX/HarperCollins, 2009)
 And this set of legs sprouting from a balloon bouquet:

11 Birthdays, Wendy Maas. (Scholastic, 2009)
Wait! Can it be? I found BOY LEGS!!:
Best (Boy)friend Forever, #9
Oh, thank you Camp Confidential #9.

I don't wish to say a lot about these covers, except maybe that they work better for me than a photo of a face would, since these could be almost any kids' legs. Their faces are left to our imagination. (Still requesting more brown skin, though.)

Any more leg covers out there, readers? How about comments about the effectiveness of lower limb imagery?
A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Linda Urban (Harcourt, 2007) Thanks, David!



  2. Gaaaaah! You KNOW I'm going to miss some. Geez, David. I'm adding it.

  3. Scooped again! I was keeping "The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt" with "Sweet 15", hoping to find another one or two to match with it for a post on covers with legs dressed differently.

  4. Oh, no! Sorry, Linda. The fact that we're finding the same things just goes to show how these images seem to come in waves, no? Please, still do your post, as I'm sure you'll have another perspective, plus you always provide the summaries to go along with the books. Wow, the Sweet 15 cover is eye-catching! Reminds me of that song I hate: "She wears high heels, I wear sneakers, blah, blah, blah."

  5. All those legs! So, what other body parts are you going to feature?

  6. I think that designers are just trying to find new parts of the body to feature because they don't want to do faces. Seems like it used to be that books *had* to have a face for kids to want to buy them, but now there seems to be this idea of making the protagonist universal.

    How strongly that's driven by the desire to avoid categorization by race, or a broader idea that readers can't enjoy a book about a character whose looks don't appeal to them in some way, I don't know. In any case, it results in a lot of leg. I find these excerpted body parts kind of suffocating, or maybe I mean suffocated, myself.