judging a book by its cover

Judging a Book by its Cover (& Title): The Girl with No Shadow

3427448I have a very… hm, complicated relationship with The Girl with No Shadow. Someday, we’ll sit down together over a cup of tea (or hot chocolate) and I’ll tell you all about it. There are cults and ghosts and boys disappearing through magic doors.

For now, let’s just talk about the book. No. We’re not even going to talk about the book: we’re going to talk about the cover (and the title) of the book.

In the U.S., the book is called The Girl with No Shadow. In the U.K., it was published as The Lollipop Shoes.

Both titles echo in the plot: The Girl with No Shadow recalls a story told within the story, about a boy who sells his shadow to an old beggar in exchange for immortality, but, oops, the old beggar was the devil and the shadow was his soul, and so now he’ll be forever alone. Yanne(/Vianne) tells it a lot more eloquently than that, but you get the gist.

The Lollipop Shoes are a reference to Zozie’s fantastical shoes: she’s wearing a pair of candy apple red pumps when she meets Yanne(/Vianne) and Annie(/Anouk) and she later uses them to create a display in the chocolaterie window. Zozie uses her glamour (like a fairy glamour) to draw in Anouk and the people of Montmartre.

2227371The warm toned cover, with the old fashioned automobile, is the edition I own; the blue cover with the street, presumably Montmartre, is the cover on the Overdrive audiobook I’m borrowing from Boston Public Library right now.

Neither one shows any of the characters. I suppose the romantic setting – a chocolatrie in Paris! – is itself a selling point; I know I’ve found myself daydreaming about my imagined Montmartre while I listen. (I’ve never been to continental Europe, so I’m sure my imaginings are as wrong as the way I was pronouncing all that French in my head.)

The German edition gives it an entirely different title: Heavenly Wonder. I’m not entirely sure (read: I have no idea) how that fits with the story, but… Okay. It is not the weirest thing we’ll see today.

Honestly, I’m kind of surprised how few of these covers actually feature Zozie’s signature – titular, even – red shoes. The Lithuanian and Dutch versions do.

The Dutch version even recreates Zozie’s display: the red shoes with the gold-wrapped truffles, against a blue velvet background. The other covers all seem to use stock images, like this inexplicable Russian edition:

25947191What’s going on, here? No. Seriously. I have no idea why they chose this painting and not any other (presumably public domain painting) in the entire Western art canon. Is there something I’m missing? We just don’t know.

26841359.jpgSpeaking of oddballs: I try to feature only covers with decent images available, but I had to share this one, even though I could only find it in thumbnail: This Czech edition, with a chili pepper, coated in chocolate, against a bright yellow background. All of these things are relevant to the novel – Yanne uses chili in her hot cocoa to give it a bit of zing! – but, uhm… Wow.

Coming back to the story, we have some covers with Yanne, and (presumably) Anouk:

I assume the little girl in red is supposed to be Annie, and would someone please fire whoever designed the Hungarian cover? It is a mess. (I used to be a graphic designer. That’s why I write these things.)

Interestingly, only one cover I could find featured Zozie herself, and it referenced both titles: The Lollipop Shoes and The Girl with No Shadow.

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