Friday Faceoff – Instinct is the nose of the mind… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffnosecovers


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 NOSES. I’ve selected The Fifth Elephant – Book 24 of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

Corgi, 2000

This edition was produced by Corgi in 2000, and I love it. It has the zany chaos that features within the Discworld stories, and the joyful expression on the elephant’s face as it blazes across the sky is a delight. Though I could do without that ugly textbox plopped across that glorious artwork…

HarperCollins, April 2001

Published in April 2001 by HarperCollins, this offering isn’t my favourite – but I don’t hate it either. Which is a plus, as I generally loathe most of the Discworld covers that don’t feature the artwork of Josh Kirby and Paul Kidby. But the image of the elephant balancing on a flaming ball is quite quirky – and I really like the uneven font in acidic green. It packs a visual punch and signals that the book is humorous.

Doubleday, November 1999

This edition is my favourite. First published in November 1999 by Doubleday, this is the full image of the first offering and variants of it tend to be the default cover for the book. Quite right, too. It’s fabulous. The roiling red cloud pluming behind the elephant against the blue sky is just gorgeous – and there’s no textbox disfiguring this cover, either😊.

Russian edition, 2007

This Russian edition, produced by Эксмо in 2007 is interesting. It shows the elephant plummeting through space towards the Discworld. At first, I didn’t think much of it, as it lacks the fun and impact of the original cover. But it has grown on me – that pop of life and colour within a largely black cover is effective. My main grumble is that the title and author fonts are far too underwhelming and simply disappear in thumbnail mode.

French edition, September 2011

This French edition, published by Pocket in September 2011, is another strong offering. While I don’t like it as much as the original, nonetheless it depicts the action with plenty of chaos and colour – and that gives a solid visual clue as to what lies between the cover. And the lack of textbox is always a major plus for me. Which is your favourite?

17 responses »

  1. The cover I had seen before is the second one, but after seeing the others, it’s not my favorite either. The first one catches Pratchett’s “personality.” But, once again, I agree with the one you liked best because it’s the one that would make me take it down from the shelf to try. Am I the only person you know that has trouble reading Pratchett?

    • Thank you for weighing in with your opinion, Rae:)). And no… I’m a HUGE fan of his writing – but I’m also aware that his writing style – particularly his viewpoint and habit of adding footnotes isn’t for everyone. I really appreciate that you gave him a try, though:)).

  2. It’s a toss up for me between the Doubleday and the French covers. I agree, the lack of distracting text box makes these much better😁

    • Thank you, Tammy:). They do look far better without the text boxes, don’t they? And I’m generally impressed with the French editions of Pratchett’s books – I think they generally make a good job of the covers.

    • Yes, it’s the scale of the overall image that really works with this one, I think:)). Though I was surprised at just how many variations of this cover is produced by various publishers.

  3. Both Doubleday and Corgi editions seem to be from the same larger coverspread? Doubleday gives a larger section from it, and so I guess gives more context. Agree with your choice!

  4. I agree there are lots of strong offerings here! How curious they zoomed in on that illustration for the first offering and slapping a text box on it. We all need to see that complete, zoomed-out image!

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