Friday Faceoff – The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week we are looking at covers featuring trees and I have chosen We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, which I read last year and blew me away – see my review here.



This hardcover edition was published in 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons was the one I read, which might have influenced me as it’s my favourite. But I think it features the massive twist in the story very nicely without giving the game away – I’m not going to say more for fear of spoilers, but if you’ve read the book you know what I mean… I love the black tree against the bright yellow background – Gollancz knew what they were doing back when they made that colour scheme their signature look.



This edition, published in 2014 by Serpent’s Tail takes the same main design elements – the tree, the swinging youngster, the colour palette and adds another character with a different font, giving it quite a different feel. My big problem with this cover is that I think it gives the impression this is a comedy – and while there are some amusing incidents, it’s nothing of the sort.



This offering, published in 2014 by Serpent’s Tail, has moved away from the stark yellow and black, but still kept the tree and the small swinging figure. While I think it is attractive and eye-catching, I still prefer the first cover.



This paperback edition has dispensed with the tree and gone for a plain red cover and used the marvellous title to the maximum effect – though my gripe about it appearing to be a comedy still stands…



This cover for the audio book, produced by Penguin comes closest to spoiling the twist in the depiction of the family, which is my biggest reservation in what is, otherwise, a beautiful and haunting cover. A shame, therefore, about the boring title font. So which is your favourite?

24 responses »

  1. At first I thought I preferred the second cover, but then I saw the last one. I like how it shows a family and the chimp is still there too.

  2. HOW INTERESTING! I love this meme (if that’s the correct term, ha ha. Maybe I’d better stick to old fashioned “theme” where it means what I’m saying and I don’t end up with a malapropism!).

      • The one with the red leaves (or are they apples?), which was not the cover of the one I read. I did not like the one with the silhouettes of the “family” because it gave it all away. It took me some time to ease into the thought of being raised alongside a monkey and just getting it from the print made it a little easier. Had I seen the silhouette cover, I would never have picked up the book, not even to read the blurbs.

      • Thank you for giving your fair opinion… As it happens, I had seen the swinging figure and assumed it was a small child befoe reading the book. You’re right – the red-coloured tree is the least spoilery… Have a good week-end Rae:)

  3. I’d have to go with the first cover to, it’s very similar to the second cover to and the colour scheme is greatvbut while sometimes a more fancy and elaborate font works well, I think this time that the more simplistic plain font on the first cover looks smarter. 😀

  4. I think I prefer the first three covers here. I like how the first one has that silhouette of the tree. It’s simple, but it does make me curious and the combination of yellow and black only on the cover just works. same with the second one, which has a bit of extra details and a different tree. Although I do have to say that the first two covers still have a different feel that those tiny details cause. And the third one is a nice one too with how the tree covers most of the cover like that with the black and red.
    I feel like the completely reed cover doesn’t tell me as much about the book and I wonder where that monkey suddenly comes from as it wasn’t on the other covers. the mon key si the only hint besides the font and the title as to the book. The audio cover is a nice one too, although that’s too bad it comes close to spoiling the twist. But it looks somehow a bit sadder than the first three to me. Not sure why. Great post again and I always enjoy seeing the different cover versions!

    • Thank you for your very full, considered opinion, Lola:). I have to say that this is one of my favourite posts of the week, too. It never fails to amaze me the variation in style and approach in covers for the same book…

  5. I like both the yellow and black designs but I can see your point about the different feel they give about the book so given that would completely agree with your choice.
    Sorry I’ve missed the last two – been away with very limited wi-fi.
    Thought I’d do a double whammy and catch up.
    Lynn 😀

    • That’s fine – I was away last week-end and got overwhelmed by the torrent of emails in my inbox…:). Nice to have you back and hope you had a great time away.

  6. I met KJF at the Catamaran Writers Conference in Pebble Beach California. I won a Fellowship Award Scholarship, and it was my 1st conference. She’s a local resident, and she’s very nice and down-to-earth.

    During one meet & greet schmoozefest, I had the audacity to ask her if I could join her book club when they had an opening! She said yes, so I gave her my business card, but I never heard from her…. 😉 I didn’t follow up as I’m not a book club stalker, especially when it has a famous author as its member.

    Anyway, when I saw these book covers I had to chuckle because my book cover is set to have a large tree on it. BUT nothing on it gives away the ending. My book isn’t fiction; it’s about an entirely different topic and it’s a memoir.

    I love this Friday blog feature, which was shared with me by the amazing writer Jean Lee.

    Not sure which one is my favorite cover yet, but not the last one!

    take care and have a great weekend,

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share that experience, Dyane. I do understand your reluctance to follow up your card – and agree with your instincts. Congratulations on winning the Fellowship Award Scholarship and I’m glad you enjoy the Friday Face-off series with the book covers. It’s an eye-opener to see the variations on a single book, isn’t it?

      • Thanks so much for this lovely comment! I got a big kick out of your Friday series, especially because I had my book cover completed yesterday by a gifted graphic designer who specializes in book covers. It has been a wonderful (and stressful) experience. She turned me on to a fascinating, funny TED talk by the brilliant book cover designer Chip Kidd that you’ve probably seen; if not, it’s worth the time to watch – I promise you!

        Thanks again for visiting my blog and I’ll see you at next Friday’s Faceoff on Brainfluff! 🙂

        all my best,

      • Thank you for the link:). I’ll be looking at it early next week as I’m now rushing around getting ready to set off for Bristolcon early in the morning. Yippee! Meanwhile, I’ve got a shouty and cross regarding this week’s Friday Face-off, I’m afraid…

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