Today we look at audiobooks. No. That’s wrong. Today we look at one particular audiobook.
Meet Midwest Tape. They’re "librarians’ #1 media source". Seem like nice enough folks. Recently we’ve been getting some of their audiobooks at my library. It didn’t take long before I noticed how strange their packaging was, though. Just your general clip art, basically. They like to put generic images on the covers rather than the original art. Not always, as far as I can tell, but sometimes. Generally speaking, these re-jacketing situations are more amusing than anything else. Take, for example, the Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall.
And here’s #2:
I’ve been puzzling over #2 for some time. Obviously the mom is dead from the get go. Showing the eldest daughter in black and white with her sort of suggests that she’s dead too. And then there are the flowers . . .
Half the time I don’t think the authors are even aware of these covers. So I’m sure that if Lenore Look reads this blog post, she’s going to be just as shocked as anyone at what Midwest Tape did to her delightful Alvin Ho. I was processing materials the other day and then came across this:
Folks, those of you who have not read the Alvin Ho books may feel this there is nothing wrong with this image. Two cute smiling children. A bus. A tornado. What could be sweeter?
Well, let’s look at the kids here. The white kids. The white, freckled, could-have-stepped-out-of-a-Dick-and-Jane-reader kids. They’re probably from some clipart file. Some generic stash of children. My problem? Dudes, it’s called "Alvin Ho" and anyone who had ever picked up the book and seen the superior illustrations by LeUyen Pham knows one thing. Alvin Ho is freakin’ Chinese-American, people!
I don’t care if they never read the book or even saw the original copy. You make a cover, you at least get the ethnicity of the characters right. This is not difficult. It takes remarkably little work.
Now as you can see, initially I thought that these two kids were supposed to be Alvin and his sister. However, some are theorizing in the comments that the two kids on the cover are the "girls" referred to in the title. That’s a thought. However, I thought this was a picture of a red-headed boy and a blond girl. If they’re going to both be "girls" shouldn’t that be more clear? Otherwise you have to deal with blog posts like this one from the confused masses.
So it’s not quite as bad as I first suspected, but it still would have been nice to see something other than white kids on a cover for once. *sigh*