Friday Faceoff – We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffholidinganobjectcovers


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 being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring covers depicting someone HOLDING AN OBJECT – and of course what could be better than holding a book? I’ve selected The Book Thief by Markus Zusak…

Alfred A. Knopf 2006

This edition was produced by Alfred A. Knopf in March 2006 and is the first US hardcover edition. You’re right – it hasn’t got anyone holding anything, but someone is about to knock over the line of dominoes. I don’t much like this cover, which is a shame as it is one of the default covers. The symbol is very generic and rather a cliché, which shortchanges such a remarkable book. Neither do I like the textbox across the top of the cover. It’s not a terrible cover, but it isn’t great, either.

Bodley Head 2007

Published in 2007 by Bodley Head, this cover is quite a different proposition. What an arresting image – a girl reading a book while apparently lying in a crypt, or is it an attic? The rich curtains framing that image being the only splash of colour is a stroke of genius, essentially drawing us into the monochrome picture of young Liesel engrossed in her book. I love how her ankles are crossed, showing she is relaxed while lost within the covers of the story. This one is my favourite.

RAO 2014

This Romanian edition, published by RAO in February 2014, is another version of Liesel, this time staring straight out at us. She is clearly older in this depiction and improbably pretty, clutching a book to her as if it is her only hope as the world explodes behind her. It’s another powerful image and again, is one of the default images for this best-selling book that, according to Goodreads, runs to 331 editions. I like this one more than most of the other offerings – because although she is older, she is still terribly vulnerable and her hair and clothing is right for the period. Reminding me that hundreds and thousands of youngsters of her age must have been equally helpless and frightened as their world got twisted or swept away as Word War II hammered across their lives. This cover is certainly a contender.

Definitions (Young Adult) 2008

This edition, produced by Definitions (Young Adult) in January 2008, has changed the dynamic. The young Liesel reading has been drawn, with Death looming in the background. This is the cover I very, nearly went for. I love the border of flames apparently licking the paper and the uncluttered look. What finally decided me against choosing this one, is the scale. I think Liesel is too small for the size of the cover – and I know it’s probably to underline her vulnerability, but I do think she could have been made just a bit bigger without losing that feeling.

Pocket Jeunesse 2019

This French edition, published by Pocket Jeunesse in March 2019, pares the image right back to the basics. Therefore the details of Liesel’s striped dress, her hairband, her hand on her chin as she eats up the words of the book in her hand really stand out against the coffee-coloured flames with the bombers circling overhead. While I think this image has been very effectively crafted, its apparent cosiness makes me uncomfortable. Though I do love the title font, so reminiscent of the 1930s, and I think the design is successful. Which is your favourite?

31 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Just as it Seems – Books by Proxy

  2. Ooh what a good choice! My favourite is probably the French edition – I really like how minimalist it is and the typeface is on point. Your favourite and the Romanian edition come in a close second though!!

    • Yes, I think this post this week is all about personal preferences, Proxy – so thank you for swinging by – and for the pingback. I’m fascinated to see which cover ends up being the favourite:)

  3. Finally! You featured my favorite book of all time. But, I don’t see the cover of the one I read. I like the second one, like you do, but I like the third better, even though the protagonist is a little older. The Definitions edition is my favorite and as for the French one, it’s just blah. Well, you asked our opinion! LOL

    • I certainly did ask for your opinions Rae – and thank you for the straightforward manner in which you gave them:)). I had to do a fair amount of winnowing this week – and as the subject was HOLDING AN OBJECT, there were some great covers that didn’t see the light of day. That Definitions cover is really striking – glad you love it!

  4. Hi Sarah! The second cover, the one that you chose, is very nice. It reminds me of Water for elephants. But I think my favorite one will be the Definitions one.

    I partook in the Friday Face-off again today and guess what – I also chose a book!!! What other objects are as worth mentioning.

    Here’s my link Weekend Book Friends

    Hope you will have a wonderful weekend!

  5. I’ve never been a fan of the default cover either. I love the one you selected and I also really like the Definitions cover. I agree that Liesel ought to be a little larger but I still love the effect of the Grim Reaper looming over her.

    • Thank you, Becky – yes, this week isn’t wasn’t a clear choice for me, either… I have to say it’s the cover that’s grown on me as I’ve been working on this post. I love the strong period feel and pared back approach.

  6. The Bodley Head cover is my favorite. It looks the Adams Family gone to the dark side. The Romanian is also excellent. Love those steely eyes.

  7. I love looking at covers and have seen this challenge before. My favorite is the girl reading on her back (which seems to be a favorite). That one draws me right in. What fun. Thanks!

    • You’re very welcome, Diana – thank you for swinging by:)). It’s always fascinating to see which covers are popular – I’m always struck at the wide range of preferences… And there is definitely a cultural difference between US and UK readers.

  8. Ooo, I gotta admit, that last one’s a lovely mix. It has that 30s feel, which I dig, and so many elements of the story right there on the page. It never occurred to me before what a strange choice that domino image is for this book. I mean, I suppose it fits, but not NEARLY as well as so, so many other basic images that could be used if they didn’t feel like, you know, making an effort. (sigh)

    • And that’s exactly it! I’m getting increasingly allergic to covers which end up being a one-size-fits-all, too… Especially since I’ve been taking part in the Friday Face-offs:))

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