I have done a lot of posts looking at the cover art for the books. How the styles have changed over time, my favourite covers and the ones I think are terrible. Now for some that give away the ending, or other important plot points. Some will have artistic merit, others will probably be bad, but they will contain spoilers.
The Famous Fives
Five Go Adventuring Again
More than one of these covers reveal the location of one end of the Secret Way. The Five spend a lot of time puzzling over the clues on the bit of linen, and tapping away at wooden panels at Kirrin Farmhouse. Many of the covers – including the first edition, though not terribly obviously – show the Five in the secret passage. It’s the Five, though, so finding a secret passage is almost inevitable. However, showing that the secret entrance they are hunting so hard for is in the floor, beside a fireplace and in a room full of books, that’s a real spoiler.
Five Go Off in a Caravan
Likewise this book has a few covers showing the children underground, but it’s hard to do a cover without giving something away. What is easy not to give away, though, is the ending. Yet two of the covers show them finding the jewellery, giving away the whole mystery of why Lou and Dan are so determined to keep the caravans away from their underground hiding spot.
Five Have a Mystery to Solve
Two things are given away between some of the covers. One being that there is some importance to the well on the island, and that the Five find treasure. I had thought about listing some of the Five On Finniston Farm covers, for showing treasure, but in that book the Five know -or at least believe the rumours – that treasure is to be found in the remains of the castle dungeons. Showing them finding it makes the book a story about how they did it. Whereas showing them finding a treasure that the blurb doesn’t even hint about, that’s something else.
The Adventure Series
Some of these are slightly more grey areas in terms of how much they are spoilers.
The Valley of Adventure
Depending on what blurb you read you may well know that the pilots of the plane are looking for some sort of treasure in the valley. And that sort of excuses the treasure on the front cover. (The early covers with the statues and stalagmites/tites are less evocative of ‘treasure’ in its more obvious forms).
The Circus of Adventure
Showing the children in the circus – even Philip with the bears – seems reasonable.
Showing the daring tightrope rescue, however, seems like a spoiler. Part of the story is a) finding out where the children are being held, then working out a way to rescue them. Showing that on the cover gives rather a lot away. (If it wasn’t for the change of shirt these two could be the same scene a minute or two apart in fact.) Saying that, though, the tightrope scene graces the frontispiece of the early Macmillan editions, thus giving it away before you read chapter one.
The Mountain of Adventure
This probably has the most clear-cut spoiler for the series. While most covers show the outside of the mountain, one shows inside complete with a mad scientist (The King of the Mountain, possibly, given his bald dome) and weird machines.
The Treasure Hunters
One more treasure one for now. Three of the four covers for The Treasure Hunters (including the first edition) show the children finding the treasure. As adults, we know that any Enid Blyton book about treasure hunting will definitely lead to treasure being found. For children, though, I can’t help but feel that this takes away rather a lot of the anticipation and the mystery! Perhaps children don’t see it that way, though. Perhaps they are simply excited by seeing treasure on the cover, but don’t then think about what that means for the plot?
How many of these do you see as spoilers, and how much do you think it matters?
One interesting thing – especially with ‘Caravan’ – is that so many of the covers are just odd (as I learnt from this website) and don’t resemble the story inside, that one cannot trust the covers. Thus one cannot be spoilt by the cover. Treasure hunters could be drawn by somebody who read the Title and first chapter.
Unless the cover brings forth a possibility that you didn’t consider. Such as ‘Mountain’ – that I consider the big spoiler and ‘circus’.
That’s an interesting take. As an adult who has browsed the covers extensively I’m well aware of the inaccuracy of the covers, so yes, in a way, the covers wouldn’t necessarily spoil anything for me.
For children, though, who might only have seen a handful of covers in a bookshop or library they may well be more trusting and take the covers at face value.
Whether the Blyton covers that give away the endings or not, every book is superb. Thank you 😊
The three most recent editions of The Mystery of the Strange Messages have the mystery solved on the cover. Not knowing the story the reader might wonder why the children are dancing round a pile of seashells on the floor but then missing diamonds are mentioned, and right behind them is a broken pipe! Not a spoiler but a wrong depiction is the 1990 Dean’s Reward cover for the same story showing one of the messages with ‘goon’ on it cut in separate letters. That should have been shown correctly because it was the clue that set Fatty on the trail. The three later editions that copy the Dean illustrations in photo form replicate the error and even make it worse: ‘gooN’. Gah!
I can look at dust jacket covers forever. They evoke my childhood memories of reading the book. And how exciting it was to get a new Blyton adventure!!