Friday Faceoff – Time Held Me Green and Dying…


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 the theme is green covers, so I’ve chosen Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. Though I apologise for the general lack of greenness…


tomsmidnightgardenThis is the offering produced by Greenwillow Books in October 1992. This is the cover that prompted me to choose this one – I love it as I think it very much embodies the sense of magic and time dislocation within the book. I love the fact that Hannah is also featured on the cover.


tomsmidnightgarden1This cover produced by Oxford University Press in January 2008 also captures the magical quality of the story. The impressionistic depiction of Tom and the moonlit-swathed garden is lovely.


tomsmidnightgarden2This cover produced in April 2005 by Puffin is probably my least favourite, though it’s too pretty for me to actually dislike. My problem is that although the dandelion is stunning against the dark blue background, the design doesn’t provide the reader with any kind of clue about the story.


tomsmidnightgarden3This effort was produced by Oxford University Press in April 2015 and is lovely. The image of Tom outlined against the moon and framed by the trees is magical and again, very much captures the mood of this classic novel.



This Vietnamese edition, produced in September 2015 by NXB Hội Nhà Văn, Nhã Nam is also very beautiful. The leaves with the moonlight glinting off them and the small, foreshortened little boy almost swallowed up by the huge yellow moon gives a real sense of Tom’s constant need to revisit the garden as he is caught up in the time loop. And my favourite? I cannot decide! Apart from the Puffin cover, I think they all beautifully evoke the mood and content of the book – and they are all lovely…

What do you think?

25 responses »

    • Yes, the Vietnamese cover is a delight, isn’t it? But I also like the OUP one, too. This is one of those books were I don’t think there’s a dud here – to the extent that I couldn’t really decide between them.

  1. Ooh they are all lovely… I think considering the audience the one by Oxford University Press in April 2015 might be the most interesting. But yes, it is definitely difficult to choose one.

    • I’m glad you agree! I kept waiting and waiting for one to jump out at me as my favourite, but I kept being torn – not like me not to have firm views on book covers…

      • Eheh each has its own charm so I completely understand 🙂 Even the dandelion one is gorgeous, just don’t think a kid might think so eheh.

      • Yes, it’s lovely – just doesn’t necessarily apply in any way to this book. And you’re right – this is a children’s book and there’s nothing here to appeal to a child.

  2. I like the Oxford one the best but I also like the Dandelion one , beautiful covers all of them in my opinion

  3. You’re spot on about these covers. Unlike my Five Little Pigs collection (UGH), this set clearly shows that most of the designers understood the need to evoke a sense of mystery, magic, and wonder. I don’t know the story, I’m afraid, so I can’t say whether or not I agree on Hannah’s presence on the cover. It’s interesting that only one cover felt the need to share a second character–perhaps to appeal to girl readers? The dandelion reminds me of those boring covers the Harry Potter stories received at one point to hide their “child-ness”; for instance, the Sorcerer’s Stone has just a rock on it, or just a train. That dandelion is safely ageless. Safe does not inspire intrigue.

    • It’s the loveliest timeslip story about a little boy who stays with his aunt and uncle in a rather draughty, charmless flat and when there is a full moon, the car park behind the building is transformed into a large Victorian garden where he encounters a very opinionated girl a few years older than him.

      • Oooo, that does sound fun. Would a young child like it? I keep trying to nudge Blondie into fantasy reading, but she’s of quite the scientific bend of mind. 🙂

      • How old is she? This one was written a while ago, so there is denser description and narrative than is usual in modern children’s fiction – but the timeslip effect isn’t fully explained and the ending is amazing – sad and wonderful all at the same time… Have you tried the How to Train Your Dragon series? The humour is laugh-aloud and the books are very user friendly.

      • She’s six and a half going on sixteen. 🙂 I’m very eager to dive into Crowell with her, but I think the movie spoiled her a little–when she realized how starkly different the two were, she wanted to “take a break” from the book. Course, Bo’s managed to get her to sit for Baum’s first Oz book, so maybe it’s time to try again…

      • If you’ve managed to get her through Baum’s Oz, then have you considered reading her Diana Wynne Jones’ Crestomanci novels? Frankie and Oscar loved them and they were the same age. The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart is another wonderful read. And this one is also worth a go, I think:).

      • Oh I tried, but she wanted nothing to do with them. But a year can make a big difference, yes? I’m hoping so. I’ll check out that Stewart book, too!

      • Yes – at this age a year makes a HUGE difference. I’m still reeling at the speed Oscar (aged 7 and going on 30) is developing. As for the 12 year old granddaughter…

  4. I like most of them. The first and the last two. I think I like the last one the best.
    This is such a fun post and I look forward to it every week, Sarah!

  5. I’m a sucker for beautiful art and design, so the last two instantly caught my eye.
    I agree that the dandelion one is pretty, but it doesn’t give a feel of a story, therefore to me it feels generic.

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