Call it ''Harry Potter and the Mystery of the Three Illustrations.'' J.K. Rowling's publishers unveiled on Thursday the artwork that will adorn her long-awaited fifth Potter book, due in stores June 21. The cover illustrations will vary, depending on where you live and how embarrassed you are to be seen reading a novel that's ostensibly for kids.
Bloomsbury, Rowling's British publisher, revealed two separate designs for ''Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.'' Both show the mythical bird rising from the flames, but the kids' version features a bright orange design, while the grownups' cover is done in more discreet gray tones, with the phoenix framed by a Gothic arch. Most mysteriously, they are the first Potter books not to feature Harry on the cover.
While those two versions will appear in most English-speaking countries, American publisher Scholastic will release a more familiar Potter portrait for U.S. readers. The Scholastic cover, in shades of blue, shows Harry waving his wand amid a series of doors and candles. Illustrator Mary GrandPre, the artist behind the covers of the first four Potter books, designed this one as well. Still, we imagine that Scholastic could wrap the tome in discarded newsprint and it would still sell out its hardcover print run of 8.5 million copies.