Fans outraged by sexy, blonde ‘Anne of Green Gables’ cover

Fans are upset about the cover art on a new edition of the classic novel “Anne of Green Gables,” originally written by  Lucy Maud Montgomery and originally published in 1908.

This new edition was published in November and offers a three-in-one set of “Gables,” ”Anne of Avonlea” and “Anne of The Island.” You can buy it on

Anne who is described in the book as a redhead is now a blonde on the cover – and a kind of sexy, farm girl blonde at that.

See the old and new cover art here.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

“Anne (with an “e,” thank you), the orphan girl who is adopted by stern Marilla and warmhearted Matthew of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, often bemoans her red hair and freckles. “Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy,” she says tragically soon after meeting her new guardian, Matthew. “Nobody could who had red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much – the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness.” (She, in fact, informs him she wishes she had hair of “a glorious black, black as the raven’s wing.”)

“Her appearance is later the subject of one of the novel’s most famous incidents, when schoolmate and future husband Gilbert Blythe calls her “carrots,” prompting her to break her slate over his head. …

“Montgomery’s iconic Anne is a high-spirited redhead with freckles and a pointed chin, whereas this new Anne is a languid blond with dark roots, a round face and a come-hither look,” Irene Gammel, a Montgomery expert, told the Toronto Star.

From Amazon reviews:

“By Stephanie LewisSee all my reviews

“This review is from: Anne of Green Gables : Three in One Set : Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea,Anne of The Island (Paperback)

“The book is wonderful but Anne has red hair and freckles! The cover is horrible and does not represent the authors original intent of the character that many generations have grown to love.

“1.0 out of 5 stars So completely wrong!, February 7, 2013

“By Barbara (Stratford, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

“This review is from: Anne of Green Gables : Three in One Set : Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea,Anne of The Island (Paperback)

“These classic books have been an inspiration to countless girls, and I am looking to replace my long-lost copies sometime soon. But I can promise you I won’t be buying THESE editions. Have the cover designer and the production department never actually read the books? This cover in NO WAY represents Anne Shirley and in fact is a direct contradiction of everything that character is and represented. Please pull these and redo them – these covers are a travesty!”

So what do you think? Should Anne of Green Gables be represented as a redhead and not a blonde? Is the blonde too sexy for this classic book?

46 comments Add your comment

A Realist

February 8th, 2013
5:52 am

I think the model on the cover looks just fine. Purely innocent. No skin, no cleavage, no high heels. This article is very misleading. One would think by reading this article without seeing the cover that it must resemble a Playboy photoshoot. Far from it…….. In fact, could it be that some of the old hens writing these reviews are jealous? Most women are usually very jealous of young, attractive blondes.

I dropped my fried twinkie

February 8th, 2013
6:28 am

That is nothing. The cover is fine and nothing sexy about it. I was sure I was about to see almost kiddie porn.


February 8th, 2013
7:41 am

I think we’ve been lectured before this may be one of those situations called “artistic freedom”, which, if I remember, is to NEVER, EVER be questioned, else censorship, book-burning and witch trials is surely to follow.



February 8th, 2013
7:43 am

Although I don’t think the picture is inappropriate it is not representative of the character. This is not a pre-teen red head it’s a teen age blond. This was obviously just an attempt to sell books. A poor attempt. I wouldn’t buy it. Like I said, I don’t think it is inappropriate but I do think it is just kind of stupid.

Mother of 2

February 8th, 2013
8:11 am

I loved the stories when I was a young girl. I don’t find the cover to be objectionable other than the fact that it misrepresents the heroine. I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t find an attractive redhead with freckles.


February 8th, 2013
8:16 am

Well, I would not say I am outraged. I save my outrage for more important things. However, no one at the publishing company must be aware of the content of the book. And who would want to buy something based on inaccuracy on so basic a level? I give it an epic FAIL.


February 8th, 2013
8:17 am

Kinda like a portrayal of Snow White being ugly and the dwarfs being 6′2″.


February 8th, 2013
8:17 am

And the dwarfs working as strippers.


February 8th, 2013
8:31 am

Other than the fact that the Anne on the new cover doesn’t have red hair, I see nothing wrong with it..

Decatur Guy

February 8th, 2013
8:41 am

” and a kind of sexy, farm girl blonde at that.”

Who likes to get spanked.


February 8th, 2013
8:41 am

I’m with catlady- eipc fail but nothing to be outraged over. [Moving on to more important things in life].

TWG – I was kind of surprised we didn’t talk about the 9 students who were suspended for the rest of the school year for a food fight last Friday and those who were 17 or 18 were arrested. Maybe it’s the ‘talk of the town’ down here since it happened in Henry Co. where I live but there has been quite the ruckus.

The AJC did a small report but 11 Alive has a better report and even your favorite Huffington Post did a blog on it the other day.


February 8th, 2013
8:45 am


February 8th, 2013
8:46 am

Seriously? If one wishes to be disappointed that the new cover is a misrepresentation then fine. But to call it offensive is over the top.


February 8th, 2013
9:09 am

They should just go ahead and rename the book ‘Anne of Abercrombie and Fithc’ and put a cell phone in her hands. That’s obviously what they were going after.

The ginger abuse continues.


February 8th, 2013
9:16 am

Topic Suggestion: Should employers be able to ask female employees about their family planning? Recently, Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) brought this topic up & how it relates to the business. Blogged about on Huffington Post & mentioned on video blog in AJC.


February 8th, 2013
9:24 am

Really? This is a headline?

Happy Friday everyone….I’m out!

The Grinch

February 8th, 2013
9:32 am

Ahhh, the lamentations of housewives. They are becoming as useless as printed books themselves.


February 8th, 2013
9:40 am

I’ve never read AOGG and don’t personally know anything about it but from the character description the primary problem with the cover is that the only things the cover girl has in common with Anne is that they are both Caucasian females. Its kind of stupid to depict a character with someone who does not possess story relevant characteristics such as age, skin type, and hair color.

Regarding the inappropriateness of the cover I agree that by today’s standards the cover is far from what would qualify as ’sexy’ but it is a bit incongruous for a children’s book. One also has to ask why on earth the publisher would do this and the only logical reason is simply to opt for more attractive instead of more accurate which in essence is playing to…sex appeal.


February 8th, 2013
9:47 am

Well, it doesn’t offend me enough to start a riot, but I think it’s pretty stupid of the publisher to take such an iconic character and totally FAIL at a representation. And yeah, I do think that the pose — slightly tosseled blonde hair flowing, shoulders back, chest forward, arm thrown behind the head and running her hand through her hair with a half-smile on her face IS inappropriate. It’s a Playboy pose with clothes on. It’s not even as if Anne WANTS to be a blonde — she wants to be a brunette!!!


February 8th, 2013
10:42 am

Anne did not wear plaid either. This is totally unnecessary. Very stupid.


February 8th, 2013
11:05 am

Isn’t Anne supposed to be eleven years old? It’s like they put Larry Flint in charge of the photo shoot. They didn’t have babes like that when I was in the fifth grade. Teachers, yes. Students no. Ah, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Wells. OMG. The only lay teacher at St. Mary’s in Waco Texas. What a babe, what a babe. My mom thought I ate a lot of apples that year, my friends.


February 8th, 2013
11:45 am

Oh good lord- people are getting furious over this? Some people really need to get a life. Yes, she is supposed to be 11 with red hair, but can’t people get over the fact that the picture is different… Sexy farm girl? What is wrong with people! She’s pretty and blond. Lots of jealous housewives making that comment.


February 8th, 2013
11:49 am

I also don’t see anything sexy about the picture..I see lots of people pulling their hair up like that and I don’t see it as sexy, just getting your hair out of the way..


February 8th, 2013
11:52 am

It’s not important enough that I’m going to get upset over it, but the cover art doesn’t match the physical description of Anne, and the facial expression/pose doesn’t fit at all with the character’s personality. The person who chose the art did a poor job.


February 8th, 2013
11:57 am

Well, it’s nothing to get in a huge snit over, but the girl in the cover art is definitely not even CLOSE to matching the description of Anne in the books. The pose? I dunno,. I think people are reading wayyyyy too much into that, but it’s also interesting she’s clearly wearing a shirt whereas in the time and place Anne was set, she’d be wearing a dress.


February 8th, 2013
12:33 pm

Looks like the “liberal prudes” are looking for something else to get upset about. Sometimes they really do dig deep.


February 8th, 2013
1:03 pm

Here’s the same publisher’s cover photo for their newest Bible reprint:

Bob Loblaw

February 8th, 2013
1:04 pm

Can’t wait for the new Anne to get into the Currant Wine!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 8th, 2013
1:43 pm

Techmom — I saw the story on broadcast but didn’t think too much of it — we can definitely talk about —

Suggestion — I think a good one too — I always appreciate suggestions

You know why I pull from Huffington post — cause they don’t have a firewall and I don’t get blocked out for going too much like NYT –You only get a certain number of news stories per browser a month on many news sites ad huffpo doesn’t lock me out for looking or using —

- also I try to pull AP stuff from huffpo so I know is unbiased –

Teacher, Too

February 8th, 2013
1:46 pm

Actually, I’m surprised there wasn’t more outrage over Beyonce’s half-time Super Bowl show. I didn’t think the grinding and gyrating, along with the very racy lingerie was family-friendly and appropriate. IMO, all that was missing was the stripper pole.


February 8th, 2013
2:12 pm

They are trying to sell books….A historically accurate picture of a Victorian Era farm girl on the front is going to appeal to a much smaller crowd of young girls than the “art” they choose.

I really don’t care about the pose or the plaid shirt. Sure it was “cheeky” but then Anne is cheeky.

That said, I am sure the could have found a red head if they tried. That girl (Cici????) on the Disney channel is a red head. It seems rather stupid to show a photo that is not a red head.

I absolutely get why they updated it.

Neither of my children would pick up a Little House or Green Gables book. They full admit the cover art is the reason. However, when I read the books allowed before bed, they both loved the stories and that girls of yester-year are not all that different (still concerned with boys, chores, school work, and how to get along with others).


February 8th, 2013
2:14 pm

I think the cover art gives the wrong impression of the character to those who have not yet read the book. It reminds me of Jessica Simpson playing Daisy Duke, which is as far from fine literature as you can get. Those bashing the bashers probably have not read the book. If this is all that is on the cover, they are trying to sell books based on the person, not the quality of the book itself. I’ll pick up a copy at a used-book store.

I had a hard enough time trying to imagine Kristin Stewart being more beautiful than Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize is infinitely more beautiful.


February 8th, 2013
4:07 pm

Actually that picture is more appropriate for the sequel…Anne- the Sorority Years….


February 8th, 2013
5:34 pm

TWG said, “I try to pull AP stuff from huffpo so I know it’s unbiased”. Are you kidding me? Seriously? There is not two farther left sites out there anywhere than AP and huffpo, especially the latter. I don’t know at the times I have read things from those two that turned out to be the exact opposite they said. They are so biased and slated, I’m surprised the print doesn’t actually tilt left on the page!!!!!!!!! Geeeezzzz, come out of the forest please!

Kindred Spirit of the real Anne girl

February 8th, 2013
7:48 pm

Ok first of all she has red hair..second this book takes place around 1890-1900..she would not be dressed like that and at the beginning of the book she was only 11 and by the end only about 16. I am so tired of everyone pushing sex and this is what this cover is doing. They want to modernize the cover so more girls will buy the book. What’s next are we going to sex up Laura Ingalls for the cover of Little House on the Prairie? Sorry my daughters will only read my old copies with the old covers. They need to remove these and re-shoot the cover if they want to have new one. At least getting it historically accurate as far as her dress as well.

Helen Lovejoy

February 8th, 2013
8:42 pm

Won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN????


February 8th, 2013
9:01 pm

DB said it right! No one is getting outraged by it but do agree that it’s not appropriate.


February 9th, 2013
12:59 am

Publishers assume that “young adult” readers will select books because they identify with the people on the covers. Jane Austen novels are being reissued with models closer to the mid-to-late-teens of the female heroines, rather than stuffy period artwork showing adults. Maybe the goal of this “Anne” is to attract older readers who would enjoy the later books but ought to read the earlier ones first?

Usually this is a problem where a book with a non-white protagonist gets a white cover model, lest it be categorized in “Af-Am Fiction” or some other category where it’s only seen by a smaller group of people. (Justine Larbalestier’s “Liar” was a well-publicized recent example.)

No thoughts on having a famous redheaded character depicted as a blonde. That’s just weird.


February 9th, 2013
5:11 am

“Outraged”- Nothing else wrong in this world that might draw the attention of the protesters? Heaven forbid that book publishers want to sell more books. That’s new. Better that they go out of business and all “books” be digital.


February 9th, 2013
9:25 am

I don’t see anything wrong with the cover, except for the fact that it doesn’t represent the character in the book. However, the cover doesn’t change the content of the book at all. Just don’t look at it or cover it or read it on an ereader then you have no cover. What some people will get in a tizzy about!?!

Jane W.

February 9th, 2013
2:33 pm

Truly a pity that this delightful novel is rarely taught in our schools.

It manages to instruct in lifelong values while at the same time exposing young readers to a rich vocabulary missing in modern books. The story line likewise is consistently pleasing.

Modern novels (post-1960) are devoted to making white kids feel guilty about “racism.”


February 9th, 2013
10:29 pm

My wife is a huge fan of the TV series based on the book. So, I have seen parts of the series numerous times. This cover is quite simply idiotic, since Anne is a redhead and says she wants to be a brunette. And, yes the cover is also trying to promote sex appeal. The obviously older girl (at least in comparison to the previous cover) is pushing her chest out, running her hand through her hair and does have at least implied “bedroom eyes”. Come on!!!

Do we really want all of our female children to grow up to be sex-objects (and even before they are adults)? That sure seems to be the direction we are headed. Over-the-top sexuality with Beyonce in the half-time show, stripper poles, the sexualization of very young girls in beauty pageants, all of the female teenage celebrity “role models” (think Brittany Spears, Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, Amanda Bynes) who have tried to turn into sex-objects, the adult-looking clothing aimed at young teenage girls. It is beyond crazy. This cover is just one more example.

Google "NEA" and "union"

February 10th, 2013
8:21 am

In the opening pages of Anne of Green Gables she despairs about her hair—which is described as being “as orange as carrots.” Just as in the original cover illustration.

As a teacher I enjoyed teaching this book and my students (6th grade) very much enjoyed reading it.


February 10th, 2013
1:51 pm

One should Never Judge A Book by its Cover…..Its content is what elevates or destroys.


February 10th, 2013
4:07 pm

What next?: New title: ANYA OF EMERALD EPITHELIA

Location: the Bronx

Studies: Hot rock massage methods

Talent: Tattoo art

Boyfriend: Hawaiian guy on Facebook.

Girlfriend: Miss Piggy

Husband: canine chiropractor

Real Parents: Russian spies exiled by Joseph McCarthy

Adopted by: Russian spies not caught by Joseph McCarthy

The End:: Anya dumps dog doc. Marries 400lb Jap wrestler. Becomes a Russian spy.


February 11th, 2013
10:20 pm

I agree with @ SpouseOfAOGGFan. This cover is not “much ado about nothing”. Basically, this cover implies that there is something wrong with simply being an 11 year old girl. There is so much rushing of girls to grow up and be “teenagers” several years before they reach that age.

Aside from the physical differences with the red hair and freckles, the character of Anne in the first novel is a mischievous child, somewhat a tomboy and totally charming. What’s wrong with portraying that? Let’s let our girls be girls!

There are enough folks buying the book on Amazon or checking it out of the library with the traditional covers. When I look for these books for my child, I always look for the classic, earlier editions that have the original written words of the author. Sometimes, the updated versions don’t have the same rhythm or flow in the writing.