Submitter: I am a school librarian at a public K-4 school. I recently decided to clean up and relabel some Berenstain Bear chapter books in hopes to get them circulating. I found this one in the mix. I actually cleaned it up and relabeled it with the rest of the set. I made sure my AR label covered the creepy guy in the background though. I am sure kids wouldn’t think twice about that cover but some parents might!
Holly: Ha ha! I didn’t notice it at first, but he is a bit “into it” with the hat strategically placed. Ewww.
Hostelling International Guide to Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific 2002
International Youth Hostel Federation
Submitter: This is basically just a hostel directory, but it’s horribly out of date. The website on the cover (which is also plastered on about every page) does not exist anymore. We are a public library and the last time it circulated was 2004.
Holly: What a weird cover! I don’t get it. Is that the Eiffel Tower on the person’s head? The title doesn’t mention Europe. And what are those black things by the feet? And the colored mask on the face? And what does “IBN” stand for on the computer screen?
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Submitter: For your consideration, a 2008 edition of The Pirate City by Robert Michael Ballantyne that we found lurking in the YA collection of a public library. Originally published in 1874, this book for “boys” covers events leading to Lord Exmouth’s expedition in Algiers in 1816. At this time, Algerian pirates were raiding American and European ships, enslaving nearly a million white captives. However, my nomination of this book has nothing to do with the dense 19th-century prose with Eurocentric and Christian overtones, but lies with the cover of this edition. The cover depicts some sort of a clone army, with machine guns and helmets. And with the strange pinkish sky, this looks like the book is set on another planet. Could the helmets be oxygen masks? Does it take place on Mars? In any event, the cover certainly does not depict Algerian pirates or British soldiers in the early 1800s. Despite this bait-and-switch cover art, teens stayed away, leading to its withdrawal for lack of circulation. Now it is off to the Friends of the Library book sale–wonder if there will be any takers?
Holly: This is a very strange choice of covers for this book. The content also sounds kind of dense for a YA collection, but that’s another matter. At first glance, I assumed it was a science fiction novel – and the teens probably did too.
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