May 18, 2011

Judging a Book By It's...

I am putting together a post for Friday in which I am talking about my 40 favorite books (because I am 40).
I have downloading some cover pictures from Good Reads and getting frustrated because I couldn't find a picture of my favorite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover. Then I noticed something.

Some of my absolute favorite books have been re-done, covers and inside illustrations. That's fine. But one book, one classic, has never been redone. All of the editions of Charlotte's Web have the same picture on the cover and (from what I can tell) the same illustrations by Garth Williams. Why? I love Garth William's illustrations, but I LOVE Louis Darling's illustrations in all the early Ramona and Henry Huggins books, and those have all been redone.

And the original illustrations in Charlie and James and the Giant Peach, WAY better than the newer ones.

What is it that makes some classics stay intact and some get re-done? What classic from your childhood has been re-done with less than enthusiastic results from you?

(if they ever re-did Homer Price I would have to protest majorly--Robert McCloskey is the best).


  1. I've never noticed that Charlotte's Web has never been redone but all the others have until you mentioned it just now. Maybe it has something to do with the wishes of whomever holds the rights to the books? I'm not sure. My favorite original illustrations are The Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in WOnderland. Those 2 series' usually have the same illustrations on the inside but the covers have changed a million times.

    -Kate the Book Buff
    The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

  2. That's true and I wouldn't be upset by the re-done covers of the Henry Huggins and Ramona books if they hadn't changed Louis Darling's illustrations. He is by far one of my favorites! I agree that it must be whoever holds the rights to Charlotte's Web. It's just interesting.

  3. Marguerite Henry's books all got new covers a few years back. They're nice covers, but I don't have a nostalgic connection with them like I had with the old covers. At least the inside illustrations are the same though.

    I think at this point Charlotte's Web's cover is so distinct that people wouldn't accept a redesign. I wonder why some of those other children's classics were given new pictures. Inside illustrations seem worse than just changing a cover. It's almost like changing the words because they're so much a part of the story.

  4. So true, so true!! That's how I feel. I am currently trying to track down all the old Beverly Cleary's because I love Louis Darling's illustrations so much. I don't mind the later books with Alan Tiegreen, but he was the illustrator for the originals of those, not a re-doer.

  5. I've noticed that Charlotte's Web always stays the same and I miss the original Ramona illustrations. Why the difference? I wish I had the answer. I would love a set of the original Ramona books.

  6. I went back through my collection at home and discovered my original copy of Ramona the Pest has Louis Darling's cover illustration. This made my day after reading your post.