You may have heard that next year is the 50th anniversary of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, the first volume in her Time Quartet. To celebrate, there’s a whole lot of publishing going on, and the cover will get a refresh.
This makeover is, of course, an homage to the original 1962 hardcover edition:
Turns out, this cover has had a lot of makeovers.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this haunting cover by Leo and Diane Dillon. Raised on Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (which will make an appearance in this blog, as will Rap-a-Tap-Tap, their Aaron Douglas-inspired tribute to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson), I love it when the Dillons pop up in unexpected places.
It’s interesting to look at the differences in the covers, especially the way the art goes from fairly anonymous to narrative. And while on the original cover we have no sense of the relationship between Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin, we have perhaps far too great a sense in this one:
And then there’s this, which I can only guess was meant for adults:
Covers are a book’s first and greatest marketing tool, and publishers spend a lot of time discussing them. Everything is considered, from the ethnicity of the characters, to whether to add glitter, to whether to make a book stand out from other books section or look just like them. (Remember the profusion of black, white and red covers on young adult novels after the success of Twilight?) The narrative inside is often a secondary consideration. Covers also reflect tastes and times. You can almost guess when each of these covers were published just by looking at the art.
This is my favorite Wrinkle in Time cover, because it’s the cover of the version I read as a child:
Curiously, this one doesn’t feature the kids, but it’s so creepy and dark–everything I wanted at the time.
While it looks like this tattered thing might be my childhood copy, I actually bought it earlier this year at Blue Cypress Books, one of my favorite bookstores in New Orleans. I was staying at an old bed and breakfast within walking distance of the bookstore. When I spotted A Wrinkle in Time, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend that dark and stormy night.
Evening plans in hand, I went straight back to the B&B, curled up under the quilt in my room under the eaves, and finished the book as the rain came down.
A Wrinkle in Time © 1962 by Madeline L’Engle.