New 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Cover Is Kind of Terrifying
byKaitlin StanfordAug 12, 2014
Since it was first published back in 1964, Roald Dahl's quirky kid's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" has gotten its fair share of new book covers. Usually, they feature the whimsical illustrations of Quentin Blake, Dahl's longtime illustrator. Little Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka are often seen dancing around happily, with some candy decorating the book edges. Sometimes Charlie is clutching his golden ticket in his hands, psyched to be headed off on an epic adventure in Willy Wonka's real-life candy land.
To mark the novel's 50th anniversary, Penguin books set out to take things to the 21st century on us. Unfortunately, it appears the world they think we live in is like a page torn from "Valley of the Dolls." Now gracing the book's anniversary cover is a stone-faced, presumably possessed little girl, who may or may not be a doll (we're not quite sure). Her face is painted with makeup, her hair is done-up all Sixties-style, and she is surrounded by some sort of never-ending boa. Or something.
We're not even sure who this kid really is. Veruca Salt? Violet Beauregard? Where is Charlie and what have you done with him?
To this, Penguin tries to explain itself:
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.
OK, we can sort of meet them halfway on the whole "light and dark" parts of "Charlie." After all, we are talking about a book where a kid nearly gets his head chopped off in a giant ceiling fan, just for sipping some Fizzy Lifting Drink. And you can't argue that "Charlie" borders on the weird. There is that super trippy gondola scene, and the Oompa Loompas. And the moment when bratty Veruca gets deemed a "bad egg" and dropped down a chute on her way to who knows where. (And for the record, is it ever really normal to have your entire family — grandparents and all — sleep in the same bed?)
Still, we think this "modern classic" look takes things a bit too far.