Booklicious: Penguin Has Designed the Creepiest Children's Book Cover Ever

August 11, 2014


Meet the new 50th anniversary cover of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. No, it's not a joke. And no, someone didn't accidentally switch it with the design for Lolita.

Penguin Books says:

"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."

I say: WTF, Penguin? Remove the copy from the cover, and the image does nothing to shine light on the story within. A popular theory was that the cover depicted Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, but Penguin says this isn't the case — making the selection even more bewildering.

Judging from the media storm and comments on Penguin's Facebook and Twitter, most readers aren't fans, although a small minority are defending the publisher.

"I don't think that adults will be saying 'oh look, I've never read that and that new slightly creepy cover is just what I was looking for to read on the train.'"

"This looks like an escapee from some weird children's beauty pageant."

"Maybe Terry Richardson can do James and the Giant Peach next."

"Who can forget that memorable scene in the Chocolate Factory where Charlie stumbles upon Wonka's creepy collection of Oompa Loompa-sized Real Dolls?"

Penguin is standing its ground and says the cover was approved by the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, so it looks like the new edition will still make it onto shelves next month. Whether it will sell is another story.


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