Favorite 80’s Ya book covers – The 1st annual Conway Dancing Frog awards for Saleable achievements!

Conway's Dancing frog         Welcome to the 1st annual Conway Dancing Frog awards for Best 80’s book covers ( Named in honor of that signature whirled across the Sleepover Friends covers.)  His genius lay in his puns – drawing in the competition ( other series covers ) and in managing to bring the characters,especially Stephanie, wonderfully to life.  The award – the dancing frog – I clipped from a Sleepover Friends cover #19 – because the frog, frugging in his underwear, is just too hard to resist.

Sleepover Friends #19

There are 20 categories – all judged by moi – but if you have any ideas – let me know!

    Here goes –
1. Best Dress – For the cover showing the most eye-dazzling , prom worthy , heart-palpitating 80’s dress ever,  I give you – Saturday Night – pale pink with oodles of satin ribbon trim , fingerless gloves contrasting nicely with the models fire red hair – outstanding!

Saturday Night Caroline B Cooney

2. Most Elaborate Scene – For the cover showing the most amount of drawn detail – with characters showing a range of emotions – I give you – Taffy Sinclair and the Romance Machine Disaster – It’s perfect! , While Taffy and Mona unabashed stand on their knees to spy on Jana and Randy in the next booth at Mama’s Pizzeria, behind them a cook checks his buns cooking in the oven.
Florescent lights glint , Jana is coy , Taffy fumes and her date smirks. And I love Randy’s string of melted cheese. Even the ketchup bottle reads HEINZ ketchup!

Taffy Sinclair and the Romance Machine Disaster - Betsy Haynes

3. Funniest – For the cover showing the most laugh worthy idea – I give you – Megan the Klutz Strikes again – Did you ever think a toilet would be shown on a YA book?!

The Klutz Strikes Again -

4. Best emotions on a model(s) – For the cover featuring live models with the most elaborate expressions! – I give you – Senior’s Treat me Right – Love the playful models! And the idea of a girl snapping a boys suspenders after years of tolerating bra straps well of course it deserves an award!

Seniors #19 Treat me Right

5. Best cover featuring a pun – For the cover that captures within it’s range a good pun – I give you – 101 Hamburger Jokes – Medium burger , yuk, yuk. What can I say I’m a sucker for corn.
The only thing missing from Miss Gypsy-burger was pickle earrings yum.

101 Hamburger Jokes

6. Best artistic representation of a character – for the artist that manages to capture the essence of the character in one drawing – I give you a tie – I couldn’t decide between a long time fave – Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume – I couldn’t see Davey any other way. Isn’t the drawing beautiful?- for the
longest time I thought she was without a doubt the most beautiful girl I had ever seen ( I was about eight when I read it! )But I still kinda feel that way. She’s like one of those cinema stars
from long ago whose image is still able to evoke interest.

Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume

The tie is – No Place for Me by Barthe De Clements whose spunky , manipulative but somehow vulnerable hero Copper has been drawn to look sort of  like Jennifer Jason Leigh with her hurt-bunny eyes and turned down mouth.

No Place for Me - Barthe DeClements

Copper - from No Place for me Who - looks like Jennifer Jason Leigh


7. Best representation of Love – For the cover that manages to capture that elusive quality of young love – I give you – Someone to Love by Norma Fox Mazer – The artist has cleverly captured the essence of Nina’s fixation on Mitch by having his face appear in the clouds
as she walks along a tulip strewn path. Wild!

Someone to Love - Norma Fox Mazer

8. Most Anticipated Cover – For the upcoming cover that generated the most hurry-up and get
here! Anxiousness and actually delivered the goods – I give you – How do you Lose those Ninth Grade Blues by Barthe DeClements – I don’t know about you but I so wanted to see thin Elsie and she was drawn so pretty! She really did look like a thin Dolly Parton and  almost like Daryl Hannah too!

How do you lose those nineth grade blues

9. Most Clever twist on a old idea – For the cover that takes a usual cliched image and twists it –
like it could be a girl peering into a pet store window and gazing at an adorable puppy – I give you – Tarantulas on the Brain by Marilyn Singer – the artist drew our hero clasping her hands in adoration over the sight of hairy tarantulas – I’ve loved this cover since I was 8! One of these days I’m going to have to read the book – I’ve shied away hoping the cover hasn’t built it
up into something better than it is. I’ll have to take the chance sometime who knows maybe it’s better than imagined.

Tarantuas on the brain - Marilyn Singer

10. Most fun for fantasy – For the cover that depicts a fantasy novel in the most fun way – serious covers out , fun in. I give you – The Girl with the Silver Eyes Willo Davis Roberts – Love the drawing of our slightly-serious, smirking heroine with the title-hued orbs causing groceries to erupt from a balding mans paper bag telepathically! 

The Girl with the SIlver Eyes - Willo Davis Roberts


Runners up – The Paper bag Princess , – it’s not officially a Ya novel though I remember my teacher reading it to us when I was eleven. And I love the idea of a girl wearing a paper bag – the most vulnerable object when facing a fire-breathing dragon , well that and polyester!

Paper bag Princess - Robert Munsch

Choose your own adventures – Gorga the Space monster – a purple flying horned pig-thing eating train cars need I say more?

Gorga the Space Monster - Choose your own adventure

And Third – Confessions of a Teenage Frog – Samantha Slade – froggy hands , a jar full of eyeballs and the expression on Samantha’s face it’s like a marvelous
comic book.

Samantha Slade #2

11. Most colorful – for the cover that has the brightest colors – I give you a three way tie – the girls of the Make-over Club and I’ve Got your Number by Dian Curtis Regan. I love these covers they’re so bright so 80’s overblown! – demin mini’s , slouch socks , blue nail polish , bandana hairbands, snake bracelets and plastic chain necklaces.

Makeover Summer Suzanne Weyn

The Makeover Club Suzanne Weyn_edited-1

The Girls of the makeover Club_edited-1

I've got your number diane curtis regan

12. Best Outfit – for the cover with the model wearing the best outfit – I give you – my alltime favorite – Caprice’s Madly in Love by Amy Lawrence – Love this outfit! I featured it in a neon post I did simply because it’s marvelous – neon sweater , pants , jelly bracelets , even little neon stud earrings – perfect , simply perfect!

Caprice #73

13. Best Hair – the best hair of a model on a said cover – could be hair style or coloring or whatnot – I give you Sweet Dreams Green Eyes by Suzanne Rand – the model has this perfect little strawberry blond page boy hair cut it’s fabulous!

Sweet Dreams #7

14. Best object used to symbolize a character – For the cover that uses the best symbolism to convey it’s message – I give you – The Great Gilly Hopkins – who is totally obliterated on the cover by the enormous bubble gum bubble she has blown!

The Great Gilly Hopkins avon

15. Best spooky cover – For the cover that is either wonderfully spooky or mysterious – I give you – the Dollhouse Murders by Betty Wen Wright – not the spookiest cover but definitely the best , it
conveys the greatest message of all to a reader by it’s glowing image – read me and find out what happens!

The Dollhouse Murders - Betty Wen Right                        

16. Most Unusual – This is for a cover that attempts to give you an idea of what the book is about – but not too much – I give you a tie – Marlene the Horror Queen by Lila Perl – despite the spooky faces floating in the background the story has very little to do with horror elements which is why it becomes more unusual then say a Choose your own adventure cover that has a drawing that actually conveys what’s inside. Besides I couldn’t let those harem pants slide! This cover has intrigued me since grade school and it’s only recently that I read the book – it’s great , different than the cover implies, but a good different.

Marleen the Horror Queen - Lila Perl

And Secrets of the Shopping Mall – eerie pasty faced
mannequins looming over our heroes.

Secrets of the Shopping Mall - Richard Peck

17. Most Spur of the Moment – this is for a cover that manages to be good but looks as though it was done on the fly – I give you the little known The Drop in by Peggy Mann – a photo cover that looks as if it was snapped in a hurry at the local Piggly Wiggly or A & P even the guy stocking the Ritz crackers looks caught off guard! ( Who let that camera guy in?! )

The Drop in

18. Best Photo – this is for the photograph cover that best shows – teens in an photograph of a complete scene – I give you – Best Friends Don’t tell Lies by Linda Barr – Isn’t it a hoot?! Two girls one of which is shoplifting in an old 80’s department store. Too cool. Sunglass racks, high top shoe keychains , a max factor sign , and Love’s baby soft on the glass display counter.

Best Friends Don't Tell Lies - Linda Barr

19. Best Design – this is for the book cover that has a best over all cover depicting trends and times. – This is a tie – I couldn’t choose between series cover Caprice #45 Will I see you next summer – which is totally eye catching with it’s fuchsia backdrop , colored pencil props and gorgeous model

Caprice #45

and B My name is Bunny by Norma Fox Mazer because of their trendy use
of a strip of photobooth snapshots.

B My name is Bunny - Norma Fox Mazer

20. The cover made me buy it – the final top choice award ! – for the cover that manages in one foul swoop to intrigue a buyer into opening his wallet , parting with his allowance not because of author , story or word of mouth simply because the art work is so wonderful , you just have to find out if the story can live up to it – I give you – The Toothpaste Genie – by Sandy Frances Duncan. Well what can I say – just gaze in awe at the wonderful image – a purple genie oozing out of a squeezed tube of toothpaste! It’s plain-old wow!

The Toothpaste Genie - Sandy Frances Duncan


Sorry if there’s not enough Series books as winners but I might have another awards post specifically for them – let me know if you’ve got any hilarious categories or winners , you want to add.

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5 Responses to Favorite 80’s Ya book covers – The 1st annual Conway Dancing Frog awards for Saleable achievements!

  1. Nancy says:

    Yay! So glad you decided to fo this Peacharino, love it! –
    1) I’m almost sure the brunette on the cover of Best Friends Don’t tell Lies is Lara Flynn Boyle, correct me if you think I’m wrong.
    2) I too, thought Davey on that particular edition of Tiger Eyes was gorgeous. Even my husband, who saw this book in my collection, thought she was hot. 😀
    3) That Seniors cover made me LOL.
    4) I’m too old to remember Sleepover Friends, but that frog is too cute!
    5) I’m going to have to find copy of The Drop In, that is so funny! It reminds me a bit of the book The Promise Ring by Jo Stewart.If I find a pic of it online, I’ll post it. It probably came out around the same time.
    Thanks. 🙂 I’ll post more thoughts later……

    • peacharino says:

      I hope it’s not! That frizzy hairdo along with Poltergeist part 3 is too much regret for a young girls life. Actually I thought the blonde looked like the ideal of Dawn from Babysitters club – I had this book before the cable specials came out and I thought the model would have made a fabulous Dawn – but of course was a wee bit too old. Though in all fairness the girl they picked was actually quite good. And hows this for a comparison – if your a fan of Just the Ten of Us – the girl on the cover of The Toothpaste Genie – looks like Heidi Zeigler posed for it. She was the ultimate 80’s girl! Floppy bangs , honking big glasses , freckles and that whole I-told-you-so manner.

  2. Mar says:

    I recently found your blog – having so much fun looking through it.

    Funny thing about the cover of Best Friends Don’t Tell Lies. I always thought it was Winona Ryder.

    • peacharino says:

      Thanks! Boy that model’s getting a lot of milage – Winona Ryder, Lara Flynn Boyle. I think it’s the 80’s hair – bangs and a body wave , love it! Totally reminds me of Blair Tefkin ( Robin Maxwell ) in the V – before she started her montage of hair styles.

  3. Pingback: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover | Domestic Vocation

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