The Cool New 'Harry Potter' Covers Disappoint the Nostalgic

Esther Zuckerman

In an effort to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the United States publication of Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone—and to partially banish its iconic covers from a new generation of readers—Scholastic has announced that the U.S. trade paperback editions of the series will be getting a makeover from artist Kazu Kibuishi. They've already released the first cover: 

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According to a press release from Scholastic, Kibuishi said he was initially wary about taking on the task because he didn't want to see Mary GrandPré's "iconic" covers "reinterpreted." When he eventually took to the task of illustrating the covers, though, he said: "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." He told the Wall Street Journal: "I tried to recall A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson."

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The cover scene, if you couldn't immediately tell, depicts Harry and Hagrid walking through Diagon Alley. Kibuishi said: "I chose this scene because it is the reader’s first real step into the world of magic, a prelude to the adventure that is about to begin." 

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On the Internet, reaction has been mixed. Some were excited by the involvement of Kibuishi himself: 

Whoa, @boltcity got hired to make new covers for all 7 Harry Potter books!…

— Dan Kois (@dankois) February 13, 2013

OMG!… YES! @boltcity is doing the new Harry Potter covers?! Be still my beating heart!!

— Medical Officer Dech (@dechanique) February 13, 2013

Others maintained allegiance to GrandPré's illustrations, while admitting that they like the new design: 

We like the first new Harry Potter cover, but our heart belongs to the originals. What do you think?

— Shelf Pleasure (@ShelfPleasure) February 13, 2013

So as much I will forever love the original US GrandPré covers, the new #HarryPotter cover art is actually quite nice…

— Kelly Quinn (@kellyqute) February 13, 2013

these new harry potter covers are awesome for newer generations but don't feel right to me

— Megan (@heyitsmegn) February 13, 2013

Some, however, were loathe to adapt to change: 

um no you can't just change the covers of the Harry Potter books

— Caitlin (@caitlinn777) February 13, 2013

This is horrible. RT @abbyrogers: Nooooooo I like the old covers so much better! "Harry Potter Gets A Whole New Look"…

— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) February 13, 2013

GrandPré's illustrations are not gone forever, though, Scholastic says they will still adorn the U.S. hardcover and digest paperback editions. The trade paperbacks with Kibuishi's illustration will be available in September 2013.