Earlier this year, Scholastic announced that they would be releasing a boxed set of Harry Potter books featuring new covers designed by critically acclaimed artist Kazu Kibuishi, author of the graphic novel series Amulet . The books will be released in September 2013 to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the U.S publication of the first book.
“The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic,” said Kibuishi. “When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn’t want to see them reinterpreted! When illustrating the covers, I tried to think of classic perennial paperback editions of famous novels and how those illustrations tend to feel. In a way, the project became a tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics.”
This is the first time the U.S. publishers have re-issued the Harry Potter series with new covers. U.K. publisher Bloomsbury is now up to cover number five on the trade paperback editions.
I have all five on my shelf. Absent from my Harry Potter collection are any American editions with the exception of a short-lived deluxe leather-bound edition. They only made the first two books, and a terrible shame because American publishers do produce beautifully-bound books. What they often don’t produce is brilliant cover art.
Mary GrandPré might be a fine illustrator, but some of her Harry Potter covers have completely missed the point.
This is the worst offender. Buckbeak the Happy Hippogriff. Harry and Hermione have taken a dangerous trip back in time to save the lives of an innocent man (and an innocent Hippogriff) and with minutes left to spare they’ve got to fly a ferocious Hippogriff to a small window several stories up in an immense castle and sneak Sirius out under the nose of the Ministry of Magic and the soul-sucking Dementors guarding him. And we’re smiling? I think not.
And here’s another smiling Harry. This time his name has been entered into the Goblet of Fire without his knowledge, and he’s been entered into the Triwizard Tournament, a series of tasks that often ends with the participants death. Or almost being killed by a dragon. Hooray?
This is a gorgeous cover. I’m only including it because I am still sore at Knopf for releasing the image before the book was released. Because if you’ve read Harry Potter you know dragons are not tame beasties we can beg for a lift when we’re in a tight spot. Thanks for the massive spoiler Alfred, you giant ass.
So back to Kazu Kibuishi’s new cover. He’s chosen a scene from the book for each cover, and for Sorcerer’s Stone he’s chosen Harry and Hagrid in Diagon Alley. This is a scene from the book that resonates with so many readers because it is Harry’s very first glimpse of the magical world. After a miserable lifetime with the Dursleys, Harry has only just discovered he is a wizard and has a whole new life waiting for him. As a “tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics” Kibuishi has captured the feel of old children’s books perfectly. This reminds me of some of the wonderfully whimsical illustrations from old Puffin classics with a beautiful mystical quality that really draws you in to the wonder that Harry must have felt that day.
I can’t wait to see the next covers. This is promising to me a must-have set for any Harry Potter collection.