Scholastic’s illustration by
The Toronto Star feeds my endless interest in the Harry Potter phenomonen, and Canadian-American comparisons today snidely observing that Canada “and the rest of the English speaking world” will be using a different cover for JK Rowling’s latest in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The comment reflects the common belief amongst Canadians that the US does as it pleases, often at the expense of others, (deep seated resentment towards Americans for not converting to the metric system persists today) though the article does not address some of the more interesting aspects of branding involved in the choice. For example, the illustration provided by Cockcroft represents a departure in his usual more realistic renderings for children’s books, and draws a closer connection to the early Scholastic covers by Mary GrandPre. Of course, if the point is to create a cover that sells better because it looks more like the American version, I’m not sure Cockcroft has succeeded given that GrandPre’s recent change in stylistic approach has been so drastic that it’s hard to tell the same illustrator did the last two books.
As for which cover is better, my vote goes to the Scholastic version as it targets a broader age range of readers. I can’t look at the Cockcroft cover and not think of the popular children’s book author Robert Munsch.