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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Gets Creepy New Book Cover

Truth rating: 10

By Daniel Gates

PHOTO

(Penguin)

A new cover for the classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is stirring controversy.

The 50th anniversary edition of the beloved Roald Dahl bestseller from Penguin Modern Classics shows a stylized, somewhat creepy image of a young girl on a woman’s lap (see right and below).

While the picture (which is a cropped version of a still from a 2008 fashion layout called “Mommie Dearest”) is apparently meant to evoke Veruca Salt – the spoiled brat who wins one of the golden tickets to visit Willy Wonkas factory — it’s being blasted as a disturbing choice completely at odds with the plot and tone of the book.

Some critics think the photo is vaguely sexualized, while others have assailed it as a publicity ploy.

The Guardian calls it the worst book cover in history, noting, “No Charlie Bucket? No gloopy chocolate or shiny golden ticket? Penguin’s new cover reimagines Dahl’s classic as 1960s Wyndhamesque horror, robotic alien children stranded in a stark asylum.”

One top comment on the publisher’s Facebook page suggests, “Regardless of whether you think the cover has a sexualized child on it, there is nothing about it that would intrigue a child or even an adult to read the story. Can you imagine a man trying to read this in public? I may as well be a cover for Valley of the Dolls or Lolita.”

“It seems a bit misleading, doesn’t it? If I knew nothing about the book, this cover would suggest to me that it’s a really disturbing story for adults, probably a thriller about young girls in the beauty industry,” wrote one Creative Review commenter.

Penguin claims the cover “looks at the children at the center of the story and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life.”

What do you think?

(Penguin)

 


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