Der Kleine Hobbit

German edition

This German cover of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit changes the title slightly to “The Little Hobbit” and pairs a bloated, toadlike, crazy-eyed Smaug with a tap-dancing Hobbit waving a top hat. The whole is enclosed in a trompe l’oeil frame with a spider crawling on the bottom, which alludes to the dwarves’ misadventures in the forest of Mirkwood. One could say the artist didn’t bother to read the book, but it’s also common practice in publishing for the project manager to give them a description of what they want, not the whole book, and those descriptions are open to interpretation, or omit what’s clearly in the text. Thus, “red-gold” Smaug becomes greenish-gray and sprouts butterfly wings. Nevertheless, I find it delightful.

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