Thursday, June 9, 2011

Covers: Wrinkled Version!

Yup, it's time for one of my favorite young adult books to get the cover treatment. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle might have been the first sci-fi book I ever read. It pretty much blew my mind. Today I still love the characters, love the voice, and love the pure imagination of the story. Wikiing around, I found out that L'Engle actually wrote over 40 books. That's some pretty impressive output.

As a book that has been in print for a long time (since 1961 if you can believe in) A Wrinkle in Time has had a lot of different covers.

This is the version I grew up with. As a kid, my bookshelf contained a number of mysterious volumes that I can only assume belonged to my parents when they were my age. This was one of them. Printed in 1962, it was one of the earliest covers. As a kid, I was a huge fantasy freak and I assumed, based on this cover, that A Wrinkle in Time was a fantasy story. (I was also a horse freak, so... yeah. sold.) I'm a bit biased, so tell me. Does it accurately represent the story? If you saw it all shiny and new in the bookstore, would you stop? Truth? I miss illustrated covers. I know we're at a point in cover art where everything is digital... but a hand-drawn image contains so much personality. It contains the power to transport in a unique way. I think this cover speaks directly to kids. It's more feminine than masculine. You think that's good or bad? In an era where sci-fi was believed to appeal more to boys, it's probably a smart choice if you're trying to bring young, female readers into the fold. So, I approve.

Well, this is more typical of sixties sci-fi. This cover was released in 1964 and I think the designer might have used their kid's spirograph to create it. (Remember spirographs?) What can you say? It's pretty simple. One of those silhouettes might be James Bond. Yeah, there's something intriguing about the combination of colors and the layout of design elements, but it's not extraordinary by any means. They've got that gold Newbery medal on it and I suspect they relied on it to do most of the heavy lifting.

1973. We get a clearer look at the characters and a clearer idea of exactly how strange this book is. There is quite a bit of detail here and I suspect that the illustrator was a big fan of the book. It looks like the work of an admirer, doesn't it? It also screams NOBLE QUEST! Funny how the centaur got so much prettier. Charles Wallace is also a little precious. I'm nitpicking.

Another 1973. I kinda love this one. Classic example of less is more. Love the illustrations of the kids. Love the centaur. Love the strange egg things and the sense of height and wonder. It reminds me a bit of an illustration for a Roald Dahl book, which is not a bad thing at all. I've done some clicking around to try and discover the cover artist, but made a massive fail of it. Poop.

1976. I remember this rerelease version. Pretty modern, no? I could see this being released today. The centaur design is cool and I love the text layout. It's pretty sexy. Labyrinth sexy.

1988. My first response is to giggle. The man with the red eyes looks pretty grouchy, doesn't he? Maybe because he's afraid the centaur is gonna pee on his head. Or, trip over his magical bubble. :) Actually, the cover is intriguing enough that I'd probably pick it up. It's corny, but it's the right kind of corny. I love how watery and muddled everything is in contrast with the sharp peaks and razor wings. On the other hand, there's such a strong mystical vibe that my parents might have though twice about letting KidSarah read this. It looks like a dangerous book.

This is the 2007 version. It's clear that they've tried to maintain a nostalgic vibe. I'm fine with that. What do I like about this cover? I love that Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit finally get some cover time. They're awesome characters and they deserve it. It's sort of cool that you can follow the story-line around the border of the book. On the other hand, it isn't a cover that's going to catch your eye from far away. They're selling this book to the parents who read it as kids, not to the actual kids of today.

Which version did you grow up with? Do you have a favorite?


  1. I've never read it, but I adore that 1973 blue cover with the egg shape. That would make me pick up the book by itself, which is probably the entire point!

  2. I grew up with the first illustration you have posted. I love it the most. Probably out of nostalgia more than anything but I honestly think it's great without trying too hard. I also like the blue 1973 version with the egg bubble. Part of the thing I like most about these two is that they do not give you a complete picture of the characters. I create my own image of characters as I read and I'd rather the cover just give me a small jumping off point than the whole shebang like the first '73 (with pink edges) cover.

  3. I had a cover that looked like the first one and I also have a copy of the 1988 version. I like the 2007 version.
    Have you read When You Reach Me? It's really good and I'd recommend it to any Wrinkle in Time fan.

  4. Great post! I remember all of these because I love this book so much and always pick it up and have a look when I see it in a used bookstore. I agree about the Mrs. Ws getting some cover love. About time!

  5. 2007 version. I think I like the last 1973 one the best, though. :)

    I read A Wrinkle In Time a while ago; I don't remember much about it. I should reread it!

  6. I don't remember which one I grew up with. I read it when I was so young, and it didn't stick with me. But I listened to the audiobook with my daughter recently, and we really enjoyed it. It was my friend's favorite book when she was growing up.

    Have you read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? If not, you should. Not only is it an excellent book, but it mentions A Wrinkle in Time often.