“To Be a Cat” by Matt Haig: cover art from country to country

Publisher’s Synopsis: CATS HAVE IT MADE. They laze in sun patches, are showered with affection by loving humans, can cough up hairballs wherever they want, and never have to wonder why their dad disappeared one day and never came back. It’s clearly much easier to be a cat than to be a middle school boy. So when Barney Willow wishes he could be a cat, and gets his wish, he should be thrilled. Except he’s not. He discovers that not all cats are cute and cuddly, and some of them are downright evil. He discovers that his own mother can’t see past the whiskers to recognize her darling son. Worst of all, he discovers that his life is in grave danger…and he doesn’t have eight lives to spare.

I’m eager to read this book, illustrated by Pete Williamson, whose quirky artwork I adore. But I want the version with his cover art, not someone else’s. I’m intrigued by the variety of different covers one book may have. The U.S. versions pale beside U.K.’s, not just with To Be a Cat, but especially with The Humans.

Best cover:


U.S. cover:


Third cover, Chinese edition (how cool is that?), Anhui Juvenile & Childrens Publishing House (August 1, 2013):



I just don’t have time to keep researching who creates which cover and what the publishers are thinking. Gotta get back to work on IRONWOLF, my own novel. But stay tuned – I’ll get to the bottom of this yet. I shudder to think what someone else might come up with for my novel.

U.S. cover of The Humans: Image

U.K. cover: Image


See what I mean? The line drawing on a white background (U.S.) is so boring and does so little to convey the magic and wonder of the novel itself. No wonder so many authors are scared into self-publishing so as to maintain control over their work. After all, customers do judge a book by its cover. How many judge by book reviews like mine? I may never know.

I have to add my favorite artwork, from a child, taken from Matt’s twitter wall:
Rhino Reads ‏@CarmenHaselup Feb 15
One of my wonderful yr 6 book group kids has redesigned @matthaig1’s book cover.

VOTE for your favorite cover: The one-eyed cat, the boy morphing into a cat (blue cover) the red cover, or the child’s artwork. I love Cover One by Pete Williamson, but the child’s drawing is definitely next.

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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2 Responses to “To Be a Cat” by Matt Haig: cover art from country to country

  1. EE Giorgi says:

    I’ve always wondered what goes into making a cover and why the UK covers are always different than the US covers… is it just a business thing (the US cover wasn’t sold to teh UK and so the UK publisher has to come up with its own), or is it a marketing choice because the two markets are so different? The synopsis is so great, I’ll have to get this book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. carolkean says:

    Brits also seem to write the best comedies. Then again, maybe we Americans sell ourselves short. We have WIRED magazine and Elena Giorgi!


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