If we were talking, I might have mumbled something after the “under” so that you might say “under where?” And then, because I listen to Barenaked Ladies and live with 4 boys, I’d say, “I just made you say underwear!”
Now, put that kind of thing on a kids’ book, and you have an instant winner for a young boy who might normally be reluctant about reading and now he suddenly wants to read THAT book. I mean, what boy wouldn’t want to read The Adventures of Captain Underpants or Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder?
What got me thinking about how my kids choose books and how I help them choose books arose when I started reading a blog by author Nathan Bransford and saw this:
And I thought, my 9-year old would probably love this book. I don’t really have any idea what it is about, but when it comes to my 9-year old, I can indeed judge a book by its cover.
Obviously we all do this. I find nothing wrong with it. Thousands upon thousands of books before us and sure, we go by recommendations and authors we know and so forth, but beyond that? The cover plays a big part. And for my 9-year old, almost the ENTIRE decision is based upon the cover.
I can choose some books for my 11-year old pretty easily. He likes fantasy best – especially dragons or mythology. Title and cover are good draws, but looking at the synopsis and first couple of pages gives me more information and I can make some pretty good choices for him. For my 4-year old – topic. He likes trucks and anything that was read at his preschool. And pretty much anything else. He’s at a great age for liking just about everything.
My 9-year old was always the toughie. It really was a roll of the dice with what he might like and what he might not. Extremely unpredictable. Even the fart powder titles didn’t always draw him in. And now, I’ve finally figured it out. It’s all about the visual appeal. Here are 3 examples of books I knew he would like simply because of the covers:
They are awesome. I really really love how books for pre-teens have earned a market.
As adults, how do we choose our books? My husband told me recently that he relies on the worn nature of a book in the library, indicating that it was read many times and therefore well-liked. So very smart. I confess to liking a crisp, like-new book way too much, so I end up being a “new release” reader. Cover art itself does not mean much to me, so the title is the first line of defense (or is it offense in this case?) for a novel before the synopsis. Lately I am starting to read Indie author/self-published novels out of a semi-professional desire, and I’m really flying blind on that one.
How do you choose books? Does the cover art hold the most sway? Will you only read recommended titles? Will you read only certain kinds of recommendations? Does a novel on display in the library or bookstore affect your decision?
And to bring us back full circle, I will let The Barenaked Ladies get you to say “underwear”: