Floating Heads

baby knitsToday we are going to examine the phenomenon of the floating head. The floating head (or heads) have shown up enough times that I am starting to suspect that this is some kind of weird subset of book design art. I am not quite sure what the artist is trying to accomplish. Maybe bring an ethereal look? The artist can only draw heads?

The Baby Hand Knits book, particularly, is about knitting for babies. The cover only has heads, not the whole body. Why would the cover art have heads only. Shouldn’t they feature some knits on the babies?

I will grant you that the books I am showing are of a certain age, but seriously, who thought this was a good idea?

Scratching my head,


Let’s take a look at some examples:

Nurse Kate In this first example, we have poor Nurse Kate. She has evidently lost her body. This romance is a about her conflict with her current fiance and her employer. The employer of course is deeply misunderstood (read "difficult") and the fiance is also kind of a jackass. Since the cover only shows one man, we are left to wonder which one is the ultimate winner of Nurse Kate's affection. Click here to read the full post
major social problemsMajor Social Problems: I think they have more problems than social since they have all lost their bodies. This 1959 text comes from a small liberal arts college and as a relic from the olden days it is a bit interesting, and disturbing. The submitter has more comments on the original post which you can read here.
baby knitsBaby Hand Knits circa 1946 is one of my favorite examples of floating heads. The baby heads float around. Considering this is about knitting for babies, you would think they might stick a hat or something on top of the heads. You know, actually show off some knitting. Read more here.
Against the dayOur final entry is this lovely fiction title, Against That Day, 1996. I am not sure it technically qualifies as "floating heads", but I am including it anyway. This particular cover will always be one of the more bizarre on this site. Each one of the heads on this cover has a disturbing look. These people look more like something from a wax museum. The little girl is bizarrely floating in the hedges. I recommend not looking directly at this cover! See the original post here.








  1. For science fiction examples, see

    This also happens on collections of mini-biographies or histories of Great Men (and sometimes a few women). Founding Fathers, scientists, etc. Floating Heads featured a LOT on Bicentennial books.

    Maybe the stuff you’re supposed to knit for the babies is bodies? Also, the baby in the top right is quite obviously evil, and possibly pushing 40.

    That last one is super-creepy. Did the kid come from a Doris book? It looks to me like the ghost of a murdered girl watching as Dad kills Mom. And I kind of can’t blame him, he probably snapped.

  2. So, did the floating-head babies from 1946 turn into the floating-head major social problem kids from 1959?

Comments are closed.