Ever since Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the two-boy-one-girl combo has been a winner. That’s apparent in this season’s roster of middle-grade fantasy covers, although we see pretty much every combination of genders. (Interestingly, there seem to be more all-girl covers than all-boy—we’ll leave you to debate what THAT means.)
The girls, we’re pleased to note, appear to be active and self-sufficient—we didn't find any “boy reaches out to help girl climb the castle stairs” motifs. Girls have swords nowadays, and they know how to use them.
Once again this season, light is a big factor. Sometimes our heroes run toward it, sometimes away, but designers know that a bright and mysterious light on a cover always will draw the eye.
Some publishers seem to be lowering the age-range for middle grade—we included several covers this time that were earmarked for ages “8 to 12” rather than the usual “9 to 12” or “10 to 14.” As a result, some of the covers look a little younger than in the past.
These covers hit the bookstores between January and June 2014. If you know of a great one we’ve overlooked, please link to it in the comments.
And tell us which is your favorite!
(Click the link to see the covers . . .)
A winning combo: two boys, one girl.
Unless it's two girls, one boy and some swans,
Or one of each.
Sometimes girls like to stick together.
Boys too, come to think of it.
Often, it’s best to go it alone,
Although an animal sidekick can be a comfort.
Or, you know, trolls.
Anyway, a girl’s best friend may be her fighting spirit,
Especially when menace is looming from behind.
But oh . . . the hooves!
Also . . . er . . . goldfish
Next week: the season's young-adult fantasy covers!
Ellen Booraem's latest is TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD (Penguin/Dial, August 2013), the story of a scaredy-cat South Boston boy and a neophyte banshee. Ellen also is the author of THE UNNAMEABLES and SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS. She lives in Downeast Maine with an artist, a dog, and a cat, one of whom is a practicing curmudgeon. She's online at www.ellenbooraem.com.