I just blogged about the 1968 Newbery winner, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, over at The Newbery Project. It's a book that I actually remember reading as a child, and it was still great some thirty-plus years later. My copy (a 1977 edition, recently picked up for a quarter at the Saline District Library's monthly used book sales), had this cover:
Not terrible. The image of the kids in their pajamas hiding in the museum gives you the gist of the story.
But when I looked around for cover images, I saw the cover that I remembered from my childhood:
This cover has original artwork by the author on it - which fits well with all the wonderful illustrations in the book (until my recent re-read, I didn't realize that E.L. Konigsburg did the illustrations as well as the story. Damn, she's talented). It also doesn't have that plasticky seventies look to it, which I first noticed with the creepy mannequin-like people in the cover for Tales from Silver Lands.
Now why did the publishers go and change a perfectly good, classic cover? Did they think that one on top was better because it was more colorful? I was happy to see that the most recent edition retains more of the flavor of the original. Although I like the title font and placement better, I'm not sure that the image is really a great improvement, though:
I'm going to have to buy this edition, though, because my 70's paperback is crappy acidic paper that probably won't last the few more years until my daughter's old enough to read it, and I have to see the 2002 afterword from Mrs. E.L. Konigsburg.
It really is a great story.
Tags: Konigsburg, Mixed+Up+Files, book+reviews, book+covers