Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring MG covers: The Light! And the genders. Also hooves. And goldfish.

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!

The feathers!


Also . . . er . . . goldfish

Ominous light,

Angry seas,

And, in general, cool stuff.

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


  1. I have to say, I'm entranced by the three steampunkish ones (Cabinet of Curiosities, Flights and Chimes, House of Secrets). The walking house especially makes me itch to read that book and find out what's going on!

  2. Ooooh. So much to read. Love seeing the three horsey ones--that really pleases my inner 12-year-old. Thanks for compiling these, Ellen!

  3. Don't know why the headers came out different sizes. They all look the same, and say they're the same, when I go in to edit. Ah, the mysteries of Blogger!

  4. Thanks for pulling all these covers together. So happy to see some of my favorites listed and ones that I hadn't seen yet!

  5. Wow - so many books up there are already favorites of mine, and I always find new discoveries in these posts. Thanks always, Ellen!

  6. Wow, what an amazing collection of covers - I want to eat them all! But three stand outs...'The Night Gardener,' The Cabinet of Curiosities,' 'Bog,' 'Lord and Lady Bunny,' 'Ice Whale...' who am I kidding? I can't just pick three! Love this post, thanks Ellen!

  7. Yeah, I actually adore the Ice Whale cover, too. It IS hard to choose!

  8. I love so many of these covers! I read and loved The Shadow Throne and The Unbound, so those are two of my favorites - and I can't wait to read The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, The Cabinet of Curiosities and Dreamwood -- love those gorgeous covers! Thanks Ellen!

  9. I loved The Last Wild. Really good book.

  10. The Last Wild was my fav! The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing was next. And scrolling through this post was like walking into a candy store- so much awesomeness! =)

  11. This was a mind blowing book. As soon as I read the first sentence I was hooked on !!!!! This has gone in my favourite books list! It is good for kids and adults and it will transport you into another world. Simply lovely :)

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