In the US you don’t find Wally, you find Waldo

Or, scary thought, Waldo finds you… but first we must ask, not where is Waldo, but who the heck is Waldo??

Apparently it’s exactly the same thing as Where’s Wally, which is what Aussie children would be most used to, searching through colourful pages to find this guy who keeps getting lost in the crowd. But beyond the title change, the book is the same and small changes to book editions is a big thing in the publishing world. When a book is sent across the pond to be published, translated and distributed in a different country they can be heavy handed with the translating! You might be most aware of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone becoming Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, but look carefully in the US edition of Prisoner of Azkaban and you’ll notice Hermione doesn’t say “pop his cogs” but rather “kick the bucket” when talking about Ron’s uncle Billius who died after seeing a Grim. This adaptation of jargon makes a book more accessible and familiar when it’s making the jump to a different country (you know, we say biscuit they say cookie sort of thing).

But as the most obvious changes are the ones that occur on the front cover, here are a bunch of books that original Australian/English edition titles got the chop when they were released in the USA.

Andy Griffiths’ Just Crazy! in Australia is now Just Wacky! in the USA.

Many of Agatha Christie’s mysteries appear with different titles in the USA. Murder on the Orient Express is Murder on the Calais Coach; and Sparkling Cyanide is Remembered Death.

 The Iron Giant, a kid’s film from 1999 was based on the book by Ted Hughes originally released in the UK as The Iron Man. However I personally remember it as The Iron Giant since I saw the film when I was a kid.

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I mentioned that Harry Potter had a title change , and it seems that not even it’s parody is exempt – Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody in Oz became Barry Trotter and the Unofficial Parody in the US. Somehow I think Shameless just sounds like more fun …

And finally, Phillip Pullman’s fantastic Dark Materials series had it’s first book changed from Northern Lights to The Golden Compass, which then became the title of the film adaptation.

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