Hilariously Bad Book Covers: L. M. Montgomery Edition


These terrible Anne of Green Gables book covers absolutely do not capture the soul of L. M. Montgomery’s novels. But they are hilarious. Enjoy a good laugh!

It’s time for another round of bad book covers! I found so many that I couldn’t include them all in my first bad book covers post. Apparently, there’s a plethora of people who try to cash in on the popularity of classic novels–and the fact that these classics are in the public domain–by slapping together their own edition with a cheesy cover.

As I sifted through my findings of awful book covers, I realised I have so many of Anne of Green Gables alone, that today’s post will be dedicated to cringe-worthy Anne of Green Gables book covers. I’ve included some other L. M. Montgomery book covers, too.

Rest assured, I love Montgomery’s novels, and thus these terrible covers are practically a crime. But they’re funny too because they are so far off the mark. See what I mean…

Worst Anne of Green Gables book covers

Let’s start with this now-notorious version of Anne, featuring a GIRL WITH BLONDE HAIR:

Blonde Anne of Green Gables book cover

This cover got some intense coverage in the media and drew both scathing and hilarious comments from outraged fans. (Seriously! Google “blond anne of green gables” or look up the hashtag #BlondAnne on Twitter!)

Thankfully, book designers usually get the hair color right, but this one left out something else important…

“But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

Red hair, “E” in place, and now we’re back to this…

Anne of Green Gables cover - girl lying on the grass   Sultry version of Anne of Green Gables - redhead lying in a bunch of roses

Because apparently the sultry, come-hither Anne is a recurring theme.

At least this turtleneck-clad Anne Shirley is more chaste:

As Marilla says to Anne “you look so tall and stylish and so–so–different altogether in that dress–as if you didn’t belong in Avonlea at all.” How right you are, Marilla.

If you’re hard to please when it comes to Anne depictions, maybe this is the edition for you:

Anne of Green Gables cover with three different red-headed girls

You can take your pick between the red-headed options!

Here’s Anne of Green Gables in glorious neon technicolor:

Colorful neon version of Anne of Green Gables series

And then there’s the “Anne with an Attitude” editions, like this…

Anne of Green Gables cover - angry red-headed girl

…And this unfortunate set from Puffin Classics:


If Mark Twain had read this version of Anne, I doubt he would’ve called her “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.”

This isn’t the first time Puffin has come up with an odd Anne cover, though. You’ve got this, which is sort of an optical illusion. Is Anne wearing a pompadour, or isn’t she?

Then there’s this, which might just give you nightmares:

And this, which mirrors my own expression when it comes to Puffin’s cover fails:

If you’re willing to think outside the box, you might like this hardback edition:

Woman in a kimono on the cover of Anne of Avonlea

In which Anne Shirley appropriates culture, and a publisher appropriates someone else’s painting.

Can you spot the subtle pun in this next cover?

Queen Anne on the cover of Anne of the Island

You see, that’s Queen Anne of England. And England is also an island. Is your mind blown yet? Anne’s friend Philippa calls her by the nickname Queen Anne, and even comments on her fashion choices: “Bolingbroke would go wild over you, Queen Anne—your hair and your style and, oh, everything! You’re so DIFFERENT. You’d be such a success—and I would bask in reflected glory.” I’m sure this is how Anne struts about Redmond College, right? No wonder Roy[al] Gardner fell for her!

Take a look at this cover, in which the designer repurposed the famous ridgepole-walking scene for the novel about Anne’s early married life:

Anne walking the ridgepole of a roof in "Anne's House of Dreams" cover

Didn’t Anne say she never makes the same mistakes twice? The cover designer must be mixing up traditions here–you get carried over the threshold of your new house. You do not walk its ridgepole. This is always a bad idea.

Fast forward a few years in Anne’s married life, and we get this:

Rainbow Valley book cover with stock photo

In which Anne dies her tresses raven black (successfully this time), and she and a smiling Gilbert abandon decorum in favor of simple cotton t-shirts for the whole family.

The last official book in the Anne series, World War I era Rilla of Ingleside has some widely varying interpretations, too:


Perhaps these are more Kevin Sullivan fanfiction, à la The Continuing Story–one in which Rilla runs away as a war nurse, and the other in which she sings at the White Sands Hotel, wearing a dress that would’ve made her namesake think favorably of puffed sleeves after all.

Bonus Round: More Terrible L. M. Montgomery Book Covers

Montgomery’s other novels haven’t suffered as many injustices as the Anne series, but there are a few standouts:


Take your pick of Sara Stanleys, from chubby child, listless Colonial, or Disney-ready pop star.

This cover perfectly captures Montgomery’s Regency romance, Kilmeny of the Orchard:

Oh wait! Kilmeny isn’t a Regency romance! Make that steampunk…

No, that’s not right, either. How about this:

Hmm…that might actually fit the melodramatic tone, huh? (;

Here’s a group of typical Avonlea women, doubtless getting ready for a typical Avonlea wedding:

Most covers of L. M. Montgomery’s novels feature women, so you’ll appreciate this fresh take on The Blue Castle:

I suppose that’s supposed to be Barney Snaith? But this doesn’t look like a suitable outfit for sliding under cars and tinkering in motor oil. Ah well, “Whatever he was, he was an individual that could not be ignored.”

And this one, just…what the heck?

I have no words!

With that, we shall draw a veil over further indignities. Thankfully, there are some truly lovely Anne of Green Gables editions, which I’ll be sharing in a later post(:

Want more Anne? Read these posts next…

Hilariously Bad Book Covers: L. M. Montgomery Edition

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  1. Iam reading through the Anne books again right now, so this was an especially fun post. Thank you for sharing! Your posts always make me feel like I have encountered a kindred spirit 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for this post, Elsie! I doubled up laughing and might have a few tears in my eyes still. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

  3. Oh dear! How terribly dreadful, yet utterly hilarious! I can’t tell if this lifts my spirits or brings me to the “depths of despair!”

    1. I almost hope they haven’t read the books…it would be more embarrassing if they thought they were publishing true portrayals!

  4. This was hilarious! I like to sip a cup of tea when I’m reading your posts (of course), but this time I was laughing so much that I kept choking on my tea instead!

    1. I think it’s hilarious that you like that version, although I am not entirely surprised based on the lovely snarkiness you bring to your own site(;

  5. Thank you so much for this delightful read! Your wit and the ghastly covers made me laugh out loud throughout! Well done!

    1. I’m pleased as punch you liked it! I don’t usually laugh so much myself when I write a blog post, but this time I think I made the cat jump a few times!

  6. Many of the older editions miss the mark too. The early twentieth century hardcover editions sometimes featured L.M. Montgomery’s 19th century heroines in 1930s style dresses and shoes. And a few of the later paperbacks depicted Montgomery’s more contemporary heroines wearing long dresses and pinafores. Jane of Lantern Hill was set in the 1930s, yet on some covers Jane looks like she could be one of Anne Shirley’s classmates. Many of these covers are still nicely drawn notwithstanding the historical inaccuracies….and I admit none are quite as hilariously bad as the cover that has Anne looking like Ellie May Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies.

    1. It’s so funny how in different decades publishers have tried to appeal to their modern audience, putting historical accuracy completely aside and going with whatever the current “look” is! Or just doing something “old fashioned” without taking the time to check the date!

  7. Sooo many bad covers, lol!! But you’ve gotta remove the Lauren Child Puffin cover from this list because she is amazing! She created Charlie and Lola and is brilliant and fantastically talented!

    1. Okay, I’ve seen some of her other stuff now and she is talented! And what a nice edition of The Secret Garden! But I just can’t with her Anne covers, haha

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