To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Penguin made a bizarre decision to create a new cover for the Roald Dahl work. 

There’s no Charlie. No Willy Wonka. And there’s nothing there to even suggest a chocolate factory. Instead… a picture of a steely-eyed blond girl? 

Here’s the preposterous book cover in question. Does it leave you appalled?


Penguin’s website called the edition part of their New Modern Classic series and justified Toddlers and Tiaras type cover:

This new image for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life, ready for Charlie’s debut amongst the adult titles in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that the cover is taken from a cropped image from a 2008 Numero photoshoot called “Mommy Dearest”. So instead of hiring a some aspiring artist who would kill to have their work scene on a classic book title, Penguin went with stock art. Well played guys, well played. 

Here’s the original full image:


I don’t believe a child would see this cover and think it’s a good story. Clearly the publicist pulled their own Verruca Salt moment:

I shudder to think what Penguin would do if they ever re-release Lolita. 

Playing devils advocate,  outcry on this new cover is a bit of a knee jerk response. It is rather progressive, and does play to a how Dahl’s MO on how children/adults are portrayed in the book.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a creepy story. It’s full of ignorant and apprehensible parents who model their ghastly, materialistic kids in their own image (and the kids’ pay for it).  Dahl often nixed adults in his stories or treated them as baffoons.  This cover shows a girl dressed like her mother, and then crops the image so the mother is barely there, leaving the child as an empty reflection. So, if you try really hard, you can tie this together to the book.


Regardless, the Village of the Damned kid on the cover is certainly not going to help me sleep any better tonight.

She’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When she comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until she bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin…

SourceThe Hollywood Reporter

Category: Books, Film, WTF?

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