Friday Faceoff – The grave’s a fine and private place… #Brainfluffbookblog


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 meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is A HORROR NOVEL, so I’ve selected The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.


This edition was produced by HarperCollins in September 2008. I really like this one – the blue-black background is both effective and attractive and the gravestone is striking. But what stands out is the treatment of both the title and author fonts, which I love. And then they go and RUIN it by plastering that large gold blob right in the centre! Couldn’t it have gone in a corner? Just asking…


Published in December 2008 by Bloomsbury, this cover is the exact opposite of the above cover. Rather than going for the minimalist approach, this cover is full of wonderful detail, featuring the two main protagonists scowling out at prospective readers. I could have done without the endorsement by Diana Wynne Jones impinging onto that glorious artwork, but overall I like this one, including the funky title font. This is the cover of the copy we own. The big problem with it is that it doesn’t look good in thumbnail.


This Spanish edition, published by Roca Editorial in October 2010. I really like it – the design is  clever, featuring the blade of a knife with the cityscape running along its length and young Bod running along the edge of it. I think it’s attractive and eye-catching – and again the author and title fonts look fabulous. However, the snag for me is that there is no graveyard in this cover, which features so heavily in the book – and the title.


Produced by Polaris in September 2008, this Czech cover does feature a graveyard. I like the design and appreciate that the ghosts also feature. However, unfortunately the execution of the otherworldly characters lets down this cover – they look like they’ve been painted onto material and then photoshopped into the cover. It’s such a shame, because I think the idea and the rest of the image is really strong.


This French edition, published by J’ai lu in April 2012, is also set in a graveyard and I love it. I think it’s the strongest of all the designs. It sings off the page with the eerie lighting and the silhouetted figure of the small boy against the wrought iron gates of the graveyard looks fabulous. This is mine – but which is your favourite?

49 responses »

  1. I actually like the Czech edition the best. Yes, the ghosts are photoshopped, but design wise I think it works the best. This was such a great choice for a book this week😁

    • Thank you, Tammy:). Given it’s apparently a children’s book, I wondered if I was wimping out – not that my granddaughter wanted to touch it with a bargepole when I described the premise…

      And I do agree that the design of Czech cover is very strong – I just wish those flipping ghosts looked better!

    • Yes – and it’s still beautiful, isn’t it? Though there aren’t any this week that I actually dislike… Thank you for swinging by, Laura and have a great weekend!

  2. I think I like the French edition too. (last one) . I have the first version with the silhouette of the boy and tombstone on it. Although the boy with the knife illustration is not a cityscape it is, in fact, a graveyard. I think The Graveyard book has the most interesting graveyard scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about. I enjoyed the book a lot.

    • Thank you for putting me right, Jackie! I should have looked more closely – that isn’t a cityscape, you’re correct, it’s that missing graveyard… So I need to rescind my critique of that Spanish cover – though I still think I prefer the French one.

      Yes, I enjoyed this one, too – though I was a bit shaken it was presented as a children’s book… I think now at 13 my grandson would appreciate this one – but he wouldn’t have liked it when he was younger

  3. I love this book. I’d usually go for the top cover because it just shouts Gaiman at me and fits in with other covers for his books – but I really don’t like the gold blob. Otherwise that would be it. The second cover – strangely enough is the cover that I would say stopped me reading the book for such a long time. It’s a beautiful cover and the artwood is gorgeous but it made me feel like this would be MG and that’s what always stayed my hand – nothing against MG books but they just don’t appeal to me. The cover with the knife is great in terms of the opening scene but it doesn’t really give anything away about the rest of the book – although that has to be one of the best opening lines of any book ‘there was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife’. I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been loving the French version but now, oddly enough, I’m preferring the Czech version. Go figure.
    Great choice of book.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes, it was the eerie atmosphere the French cover caught that I liked, too. That said – I was never going to be full-on with this theme, given I don’t read horror:))

  4. These are all so good, Sarah, and I love elements within each one. My favorite is probably the French one, too, because it captures the eerie, haunting feelings plus the touch of whimsy to some of Gaiman’s books! (I haven’t read this particular one).

  5. The placement of the Newberry medal on the first cover is really a shame, isn’t it? It took me an embarrassingly long time to see the silhouette in the gravestone, and I blame that medal! I love the feel of the French one- some of the others make it look like Bod is apart from the graveyard, rather than a resident, but in the French cover he fits into the scene- particularly with the bird on his head 🙂

    • Yes! I know the Newberry Medal is a big deal, but I did feel it could have gone in a corner without too much difficulty, whereas it just messes with whole balance of the cover. And yes… there is something really special about the French cover, I think:). Thank you for swinging by, Anne:)

  6. Oh I’m all for that knife cover–I see the cemetery in the blade than a city! But that could be after driving through the country and passing lots of cemeteries. Ugh, after all those big gold blob book covers, it’s so cool seeing some really creative designs. But that knife…I dig that knife. 🙂

      • We used grocery bags to make covers for the books we wrote in 6th grade. I plan to do it again with my basic ESL students in January. They will have the words in Spanish, then in English on the bottom of the page, with illustrations either drawn or cut out from magazines. This is the volunteer job I have at the Alvin Family Community Center here.

    • This is a week where there wasn’t one that was clearly far worse or better than the others – and was far more down to personal taste. I always find the FF post such fun as I often have a bet with myself as to which will be the most popular cover – and I rarely get it right:)

      • They are fun :). I was thinking of doing a little bit of a spinoff that would be less binding – showing some beautiful covers of various books within a theme.
        Sadly, this is not on a list of my priorities right now, but maybe one day… 😉

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