Oh the contrast between the German and the English covers! Written by Kerstin Gier, this book was originally published in German under the title Silber: Das erste Buch der Träume (Literally translated, Silver: The first book of dreams). It will be published in English as Dream a Little Dream on January 6, 2015.
Looking at these two covers, I wouldn’t have guessed that they remotely are of the same book. There are minor indications but the moods these two covers elicit are vastly different. The German cover does sport the tagline, “dream a little dream,” so together with the author’s name, that confirms that there is no mistake. Both covers feature doors as well but that is where the similarities end.
Most obviously, the German cover is dark, while the English cover is light. The German cover borders on spooky with that huge eye staring right at the viewer. What sends this cover over the edge is the lizard that is practically as huge as the door. It is also impossibly long! Did you notice that the lizard occupies all four corners? That alone already makes me shudder. I’ve not read this book yet but based on this cover, I expect mystery and maybe even a few chills.
The English cover looks so bubbly (pun not intended) in comparison. Dreamland looks extremely inviting and cheerful on that cover. If I had to pick one world of dreams to live in, I’d pick the one on the English cover. But when it comes to stories, it’s the grotesque that sucks me in more than the comfortable. Based on this cover, I expect happy fairies and a dose of fluff.
The Actual Story
Even though I already have a personal preference in my mind, I think it’d be interesting to see which cover is the more appropriate one. After all, book covers not only sell the books, they also sell the stories. Since I would have expected entirely different types of stories based on these two covers alone, let’s take a look at the synopsis.
Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.
The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know—unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute.
Well, the English cover shows no hint of “dark magic rituals,” if you ask me. There is nothing dark about that cover. Although it does have a dream-like, almost whimsical feel about it. Perhaps that is how Liv encounters her dreams before she meets these boys. That’s a theory I’ll need to check when I get to read the book.
Then there’s this part in the German synopsis that was translated slightly differently in the English one, thus leaving out part of the gist:
Wirklich unheimlich – noch viel unheimlicher als jeder Friedhof bei Nacht – ist jedoch, dass die Jungs Dinge über sie wissen, die sie tagsüber nie preisgegeben hat – wohl aber im Traum.
Though truly eerie—even eerier than every cemetery at night—is that the boys know things about her that she never has revealed during the day—although, very likely in her dreams.
Cover Lost in Translation
Eerie. I don’t know about you, but most people do get creeped out by cemeteries at night. If the eeriness factor exceeds that, then the German cover represents that, while the English cover doesn’t at all.
Does this mean Americans don’t like dark and grotesque covers? I don’t think so. I mean, if the book was worthy of translation, then I suppose eerily mysterious stories do appeal to American readers. I wonder why that didn’t translate into the book cover.
German book cover — no question there. I like the spookiness of the cover because it promises mystery and adventure. Even appropriateness aside, I would pick the German cover over the English one simply because I am not a fan of overly fluffy books.