There Is A New Cover For Roald Dahl’s "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" And The Internet Hates It

The dark, subversive cover has been branded inappropriate and “sexualised”.

1. On Wednesday, Penguin Books released a new cover for Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


The cover is part of 50th anniversary celebrations for the book, and is printed under Penguin’s Modern Classics range of books aimed at adults.

2. Much of the reaction has been strongly negative, with many branding the cover inappropriate.

4. Several prominent writers have spoken out against the cover, including Chocolat author Joanne Harris.

6. And The Crane Wife author Patrick Ness.

Just so we're clear, that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover is one of the biggest publishing mistakes ever. Hitler's Diaries bad.

— Patrick Ness (@Patrick_Ness)

7. Many people found it creepy.

Remember that really famous part in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the terrifying dolls? Nope. Me neither.

— Daniel Jones (@danieldjones)

@welovethisbook Jon Benet and the Chocolate Factory. Creepy. Not in a good way.

— James Dawson (@_jamesdawson)

9. Some thought the cover was a spoof.

I thought the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (penguin modern classics) cover was legit a spoof when I saw it on facebook. Oh dear.

— Laura Sneddon (@thalestral)

@lesleyj28 hugely. When @StuartEvers tweeted it earlier I thought it was a spoof

— Ern Malley (@loveandgarbage)

11. And others compared it to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

Penguin's new cover for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" looks more like Nabokov's "Lolita". Ehm... connection between cover & content?

— Steffi (@AsphyxiaPallida)

If you haven't seen the new cover for Charlie & The Chocolate Factory check out @classicpenguins - seriously creepy. More like Lolita. Urgh.

— Sarah Blohm (@bloomer71)

Publishing protip: If readers confuse a book cover for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with "Lolita", not a very good CHILDREN'S design.

— Georgia Dunn (@pseudooctopus)

14. Not all reactions were negative, with some praising the cover as having captured Dahl’s subversive tone.

I like the new Dahl cover, not for a children's edition but think it works for a Penguin Classic. Captures the dark, unsettling nature.

— Anna James (@acaseforbooks)

Love the new cover for #CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory by Penguin Modern Classics. Completely creepy, and taps into the darkness of the book.

— Sarah Shaffi (@sarahmedway)

@PenguinUKBooks @roald_dahl Cover perfectly represents the bratty, spoiled children Dahl parodied so brilliantly.

— It's John (@odd_really)

Much online anger for @PenguinUKBooks #charlieandthechocolatefactory cover. I love that it captures the story's darkness. Off to pre-order.

— Caroline Smailes (@Caroline_S)

@PenguinUKBooks that is magnificent!

— Hannah Renowden (@hannahrenowden)

@welovethisbook It's perfect. The sickly, candy pallette, the spoilt child at centre, mother almost cropped out. Subversive and brilliant.

— Samuel (@spjwhitwell)

20. According to Creative Review, the cover uses a cropped version of this image from a 2008 issue of Numéro magazine.

Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello / Via

The picture was taken by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello for an editorial spread titled “Mommie Dearest”. (Scan via).

21. Penguin said: “This design is in recognition of the book’s extraordinary cultural impact and is one of the few children’s books to be featured in the Penguin Modern Classics list.

“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.”

22. Love the cover or hate it, everyone is certainly talking about it. So, job done?

@Patrick_Ness But EVERYONE is talking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now. They don't even have to print it to boost sales.

— Sarah McIntyre (@jabberworks)

Slightly obsessed with the new Penguin Modern Classics 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' cover.

— Melissa Clough (@MelissaNClough)

The Modern Classics edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hits shelves on 4 September.


An earlier version of this article stated the new cover for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was released on Thursday (August 7th), it was actually released on Wednesday (August 6th). This post has been updated with the correct day.

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