What’s your favorite type of book to read? A paperback that you can slip into your pocket and read on the bus on your way to and from school? A hardcover that protects a favorite book from damage over time? An e-book that you can take with you on an electronic device?

Today, there are more ways to read books than ever before. Beyond libraries and traditional book stores, books can now be bought online and instantly downloaded to all sorts of electronic devices.

Children today have so many more choices than their parents did in the past. These choices can sometimes be overwhelming. With so many choices, how do you choose which book to read next?

Of course, when you’re looking for a new book, the first thing you’re likely to see is the book’s cover. A book’s cover is like an advertisement. It’s supposed to intrigue you, give you an idea of what the book is about and entice you to give the book a closer look.

Check out the covers of these popular children’s books:

Which of these books have you read? Do you think the covers do a good job of enticing readers and giving them an idea of what the book is about?

Is it good to judge a book by its cover, though? You may hear people warning against doing so. These warnings usually take the form of “Never judge a book by its cover,” “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” or “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Why would people advise against judging a book by its cover? These sayings have become idioms that mean you shouldn’t judge the value or worth of something based solely upon outward appearances.

In life in general, this is good advice. Appearances can be deceiving. Before you can make a judgment about something’s value or worth, you need to take the time to investigate it fully. Take a deeper, closer look. You might be surprised by what you find. True worth and value aren’t always obvious when we only look at the surface.

If you read a lot, you’ve most likely come across books that just didn’t thrill you like you thought they would based upon their colorful, exciting covers. Likewise, you’ve probably picked up books with boring covers that turned out to be wonderful.

So the old saying does hold true many times: you can’t necessarily judge a book by its cover. If you see a book whose cover intrigues you, give it a closer look. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a new favorite…or it could be a dud that goes downhill as soon as you get past the amazing cover!


54 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (19 votes, avg. 3.95 out of 5)
    • Way to go, TJ…we’re super proud of you! Thanks for visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®! You’ve got us WONDERing what your favorite sounds are now! :-)

  1. I was right!! I guessed it would be about judging a book by its cover. I enjoyed the video, I have seen this lady before on television. Although I don’t normally read, when I do, I don’t normally judge the book until I’m reading it or am done with it. I think tomorrow’s wonder has to do with where sound comes from or something close to that. :)

    • We think it ROCKS that you guessed what today’s Wonder would be about, boyWONDER! Great job! We have seen Susan Boyle on television many times before, too. We think her story is a WONDERful example of why you shouldn’t judge a book (or a person) by its cover! Thanks for sharing your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too..we like it a lot! :-)

    • We’re super proud of you for not judging books (or people) by their covers, Wonder Girl! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

    • Hi there, Katie! We’re really glad to hear that you liked the video! We learned a lot by exploring today’s Wonder and we think it’s AWESOME that you did, too! :-)

  2. I’m back to Wonderopolis!!!! I liked this video, but America’s got talent is better. I know that singer! wooooooooooooooooooooh. :)

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion of the video for today’s Wonder, Natalia! We appreciate your comment and are SUPER glad you’re back! :-)

  3. We really enjoyed the video for today’s wonder. It was an excellent example of “judging a book by it’s cover”. It’s sad to realize that people are judged by the way they look, too. Actually this kind of ties in with the bullying wonder that was posted the other day.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about music or different sound decimals and how loud certain things are that can damage hearing.

    • We really appreciate how you guys did some extra WONDERing and related today’s Wonder to last week’s Wonder #607 (http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/are-all-bullies-big/) about bullying, Mrs. Schrader’s Switch Class! It’s true that some bullies judge people by the way they look, what they wear, or even where they live. :-(

      We hope you guys have a WONDERful, AMAZING, AWESOME day! Thank you for always leaving us comments to let us know what you are thinking! :-)

  4. Thanks for the wonder today, it was WONDERful. Make sure to look for me over the summer. I promise I will be at WONDEROPOLIS. Ok, back to DO you judge a book by its book cover, because most of the books I’ve read, the covers are not too good, but when I read them, they are amazing. By the way too day is my B-DAy!!!!!!!!

    • First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY from all your friends in Wonderopolis, Billy! We hope you have the best birthday ever! We think your comment is awesome, and we think other Wonder Friends have also looked at a book with a not-so-great cover, decided to pick it up and read it anyway, and were pleasantly surprised when they found out the story on the pages inside was AWESOME! That is a super example of why we shouldn’t judge books by their covers! :-)

  5. Today’s wonder was awesome! I had guessed judging a person, but I didn’t think about singing. Your friend from Buffalo, Minnesota.

    • Hello, Wonder Man! We hope you are having a SPECTACULAR day in Minnesota! We’re having a WONDERful one here in Wonderopolis! Unfortunately, there are many different ways people judge other people. We think it’s what’s inside that counts, whether it’s a humurous personality, a helpful heart, or a beautiful voice! :-)

  6. I do not judge a book by its cover. I like to read books and my favorite book is The Dragon’s Eye. By Duglad A. Steer. I am from Mrs. Ouverson’s 4th Grade Class.

    • We’re SUPER proud of you for not judging a book by its cover, Kylie! We think when people judge books (or other people) by their covers, they miss out on learning and experiencing so many amazing things! :-)

  7. Why do some people judge books by their cover just because they look bad when they could be really interesting?

    • That’s a really great question, Mrs. Piggy! We hope all of our Wonder Friends will judge a “book” (a real book or another Wonder Friend) by what’s on the inside instead of what’s on the outside. The world would be a much more WONDERful place if that happened, don’t you think? :-)

  8. Hello Wonderopolis! We loved today’s video. We really liked how Susan reacted with the audience. She continued to smile and do her best when others were laughing. Our class is definitely going to get to know people and not judge them based on their appearance. We think that tomorrow’s wonder could be about: birds, radios, music, singing, or who invented the microphone. Can’t wait to hear back from you.

    Your friends in Buffalo, Minnesota

    • Thanks for sharing another AWESOME comment with us today, Mrs. Ouverson’s Fourth Grade Class! We really enjoyed hearing your thoughts about the video for today’s Wonder and we’re SUPER proud of you guys for getting to know a person instead of making a quick decision about them based on their appearance! That’s being a GREAT Wonder Friend!

      We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if one of your AMAZING guesses is correct for tomorrow’s Wonder! We love learning new things and ALL of those guesses sound WONDERful! :-)

  9. That was a good singer. I was about to cry. (Emily)

    I learned that you should judge a book just by how it looks. (Jarett)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about today’s Wonder with us, Emily and Jarett! We hope you and all of your KF Dragons classmates (and the FABULOUS Mr. Fines) have a GREAT rest of the week filled of LOTS of WONDERing! :-)

  10. Hello Wonderopolis! I LOVED today’s wonder. Me and my class loved it, too, and we also said don’t judge anyone by how they look or what they sound like. please don’t do this to anybody. They don’t need to be laughed at. Maybe they’re having a really bad day. Thank you!!! Your friend from Buffalo, Minnesota.!!! :)

    • We like your comment a LOT, Emily! We appreciate all the awesome things you said about treating people the right way and not laughing at them. That is a WONDERful way to be! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. We think our Wonder Friends (like YOU) in Minnesota ROCK! :-)

  11. Hi wonderopolis. Thanks for another great wonder. Sorry I haven`t made contact with you in a while. You still remember me, right? I was the one that was sick. In anyway, that lady had an awesome voice. I didn’t think it was going to be that way. Neither did the audience in the video. What did you think? What are the names at your web site place? Did any of you judge a book by it’s cover? Have a commentful day. Bye.

    • Of course we remember you, Johnny! You are one of our WONDERful Wonder Friends from Mr. Draper’s class! We hope you are feeling better! We think Susan Boyle has an awesome voice, too. The video for today’s Wonder made us think that just because a person looks like they might not be able to do something extraordinary (like sing with a magical voice), we should give them a chance to show us how amazing they are and not judge them by their “cover!” We learned a lot by exploring today’s Wonder and we’re glad you did, too! :-)

  12. Today’s wonder was awesome. The video brought tears to my eyes. While I hear about Susan Boyle’s performance, I never saw it. Wow. My daughter and I are enjoying the daily wonders. :)

    • Hello, Rena! It makes us super happy to hear that you and your daughter are exploring Wonderopolis together! The family that WONDERS together learns together! We agree that Susan’s performance is quite moving. She has been given such a WONDERful gift with her voice that she now shares with others by singing such beautiful songs! :-)

    • Great job, Julia! We’re very proud of you for not judging a book by its cover! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today and learning some awesome new things! :-)

    • Hi, Halei! Thanks so much for sharing what you think tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® might be about! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  13. Hi wonderopolis. I WAS in mrs.Phillips class.
    I think tomorrows wonder is going to be about
    Charging car like in china. Have a good wonder day.

    • Hello back at you Cameron!
      You are lucky to know our WONDER friend Mrs. Phillips :) She is pretty awesome in our book!

    • We’re super glad you agree with us about that, Mrs. Piggy! Thanks so much for checking back for our reply to your original comment…we think that ROCKS! :-)

  14. Be careful when judging people because you might miss a special character trait. We learned it is important to give everyone a chance to express their true nature. Don’t look at someone and decide what they can do because you might misjudge their abilities. The video was extraordinary especially since it is our second day of school and we have been discussing how to treat others kindly. :)

    • We love all the insightful, WONDERful comments from Mrs. Caplin’s students today! :) We think treating others with kindness and respect is a WONDERful rule to follow! There are many people with a variety of talents that we wouldn’t want to overlook– we can avoid this by treating others as we would like to be treated. Thank you for sharing your thoughts– we are so appreciative of great Wonder Friends like all of you! :)

  15. Hi wonderopolis. I’m in Mrs. Caplin’s class and when we watched that video today I thought it was amazing how the women sang really great when everyone else thought she wouldn’t be able to do it. I thought this was a great wonder of the day®. :D

    • You’ve really hit a high note, JulianaB123! We are THRILLED that you and the rest of your classmates in Mrs. Caplin’s class Wondered with us as we learned how to treat others with kindness and respect. We think Susan, the woman from the video, has an amazing voice and we are so happy she has shared it with the world. We are so glad that our great Wonder Friends believe in themselves and always treat others as they would want to be treated! Thanks for commenting today, we look forward to WONDERing with you soon! :)

  16. Hi Wonderopolis I am in Mrs. Caplin’s class, we watched the video today and I was amazed about how good she sang. That was awesome. Thanks for sharing that with everyone.

    • Thanks for posting your comment about our Wonder, Madeline1120! We think it’s WONDERful that you and your classmates are thinking about perception and assumptions, especially at the beginning of the school year! We LOVE how much you enjoyed the Wonder video– it’s amazing to experience someone with a true singing talent! Thank you for sharing and WONDERing with us! :)

  17. Hi Wonderopolis,
    I am Ayush from Mrs. Caplin’s class. I think nobody should judge about what a person is like when you don’t know about them. I also think that that the judges thought she couldn’t sing because she is old. I think she is a great singer when I heard the video.

    • Hi there, Ayush! We think you are spot on– thanks for sharing your post about not passing judgement! Sometimes we make assumptions based on what we see or hear, rather than what we know. We are SO lucky to have great Wonder Friends like you and your classmates– you look for the good in others and get to know each person for who he or she really is! Way to go! :)

  18. Hooray!!! My first MC comment from a student in my class! So excited to know that one of my students went home to spread the wonder!
    Congrats JulianaB123! Perhaps other MC students will follow your lead!

    • We are so proud of your BRIGHT students, Mrs. Caplin! We are smiling ear-to-ear because of great Wonder Friends like your students! Thanks for joining the adventure and WONDERing with us– it’s just so much FUN! :)

  19. We should not judge the cover of a book. We need to find out what is “inside” the book first. Sometimes the cover could be really boring, but the book itself could be really exciting.

  20. You have to see what people or books can do first. If you judge, you don’t know the good thing and you’ll miss it. People and books will feel sad because it feels like they can’t do anything. Instead we could look at the pictures and read just a little bit of what is inside.

    • Excellent job making the connection between how we sometimes judge books and people too soon, Cuba 3rd Grade! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis! Have a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you judge a book by its cover?
  • Can appearances be deceiving?
  • How should you choose which book to read next?


Wonder Gallery

girl choosing book_shutterstock_942433Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to pick out a new book to read? You know now that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so what criteria should you use to pick out a new book?

Here are some helpful tips you can use when looking for a new book to read:

  • Follow your interests! Do you like sports? Head to the library and look for books about the sports you like to play or watch.
  • Ask a friend! If you know friends who have similar interests to you, ask them what their favorite books are. You never know when they might recommend a book that will become a new favorite of yours!
  • Seek recommendations from your librarian! Librarians know books better than anyone. Based upon your age and interests, your librarian can point you toward many different books that you might find interesting.
  • Look at the covers! Yes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it doesn’t hurt to look. A book’s cover will usually give you a hint of what the book is about. If you see a cover that interests you, read the back cover of the book and a bit of the first chapter. If it catches your interest, you’ve found your next book to read!


Still Wondering

Check out ReadWriteThink’s Book Cover Creator interactive tool to learn how to type and illustrate front book covers, front and back covers and full dust jackets.


Wonder What’s Next?

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