Friday Faceoff – No one can be a hero without the heart being torn open… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceofftorncovers


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 with something TORN.

I’ve selected How To Break a Dragon’s Heart – Book 8 of the How To Train a Dragon series by Cressida Cowell.

August 2009

This offering was produced in August 2009 – though I cannot find out who published this edition. I really like it. The large red dragon, surrounded by the forest with the huge moon in the sky is a scene from the book and makes an attractive, eye-catching cover. But there’s a dealbreaker here. The title and author fonts are displayed clearly and in a suitably quirky style – but NOT the series number! Given there are twelve books in this series, and they all follow on, one from the other, so need to be read in the right order – this is a real issue. We got muddled, thanks to this omission and ended up reading a couple of the books the wrong way around – and yes, it spoilt it for Oscar, who hasn’t gone back and properly completed the series.

Little, Brown Books for Children, November 2011

Published in November 2011, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, this is another attractive, eye-catching offering. Poor old Hiccup being held in the palm of the Dragon Furious doesn’t look all that comfortable – and I rather like the fact that a series initially aimed at young boys features a pink background. Even more importantly, this edition has the series number clearly displayed.

Hodder Children’s, June 2017

This edition, published in June 2017 by Hodder Children’s books, is the cover that came to mind when I was searching for TORN covers. I love this one – the ripped section showing the huge dragon on the other side of the rather battered covering. Cowell initially wanted the covers to look rather scruffy and blotted, as so many boys cannot produce neat tidy work. Hence the spattered, rather scribbly nature of the drawings inside… But, despite loving the design, I’m not choosing it. Because book covers should aid the reading experience by giving all the necessary information. And this one doesn’t fulfil the brief.

German edition, March 2016

This German edition, published in March 2016 by Arena Verlag, is my least favourite. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with it, other than it reminds me far too much of the vanilla film franchise, where Hiccup is cool and good-looking, with Toothless as a special, rare dragon and he has a little group of admirers who generally follow his escapades. So unlike the books and the ethos behind them – where Hiccup is one of the awkward, nerdy kids that regularly gets bullied by Snotlout and his gang. And Toothless is constantly naughty and far too small to ride. But I can’t deny that it is an attractive cover, if rather generic.

Russian edition, 2015

This Russian edition, published by Азбука, Азбука-Аттикус in 2015, is my favourite. I love the look in the dragon’s eyes as Hiccup offers him his freedom. Part amusement, part contempt, part loathing… And all the relevant, important information is suitably displayed. I also like the slight grubbiness of the background – this isn’t supposed to be a book that looks too shiny and finished. What about you – which is your favourite?

20 responses »

  1. I didn’t know how to train your dragon was from a book series (wait! It’s the same as the movies right ?) . Either ways , the first and 3rd covers are pretty neat for me

    • Yes, the movies are VERY loosely based on the book series – which is so much funnier, more chaotic and vivid. They are a joy to read and fun to listen to- given that David Tennant is the narrator. It’s my all-time favourite children’s series. Other than the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, which is tied…

    • Yes – they are all great covers this week:). In fact, it’s becoming something of a theme, having a selection of good covers to choose from. Perhaps next week I should arrange some stinkers in the mix, so I have something to properly rant about!

  2. Hi Sarah! I’ve watched the movies, but haven’t read the books yet! I have the series in the library at school, or no – I lie. It’s on our system, yes. But you can NEVER find a copy!! The kids love this series and it’s always booked out. I will try to take it over December and just read it. I take in all the library books over our December break.

    I like the Holder Children’s edition the most, but I am biased. That is the series we have at school.

    Love your choice for today! Hope you will have a wonderful weekend. Here’s my Weekend Book Friends #12

    • Thank you, Mareli – I hope you have a great weekend. Ours will be quiet, as we’re recovering from colds!

      Yes… you can always tell the cool books – they are never on the library shelves at school! I ended up being given my first Harry Potter by one of my pupils, because I was grumbling that the Headteacher had snaffled one of the copies that was supposed to be circulating around the staff room:)).

      I do highly recommend that series, if you can get your hands on it. So much better than the films!

    • Ah… he is amused, in a bitter, angry way. It’s a brilliant book and a fabulous series. And although it’s written for children, the emotional depth is definitely there. It’s one of the few series that has made me both laugh and cry.

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