Penguin recently posted a new cover for their new adult edition of a classic book on their Facebook page, and people started guessing which book it was for.
I was surprised and horrified to discover that the book in question turned out to be “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, and that THIS is the cover:
This is a rather sexualised image of a girl, who one imagines is meant to be Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt from the book, and it sends the wrong message about what the book is about. Don’t judge a book by its cover? How about judging a cover by its book?!
Unless it’s a supposedly clever marketing ploy which they are using to try to make girls read a book in which the protagonist is a boy by sticking a girl dressed in pink and a feather boa? If that is the case, then it’s a bit sexist assuming that all girls like pink and fluffy things.
Given that it’s aimed at adults, the inappropriate sexualisation of the girl is just plain wrong if it attracts men to reading it, and women would just find it bizarre.
I can see why people are saying that it’s creepy because the girl looks like a doll, and i’m not a fan of dolls! I was surprised that the Roald Dahl Literary Estate actually approved this cover!
This cover makes it look like the novel focuses on the girls in the book, but the book is a about a BOY visiting a chocolate factory, the owner is a boy, and the girls don’t play that big a role in it!
Apparently, it is supposed to represent the twisted parent-child relationships in the book because of the 4 spoilt children who accompany Charlie into the chocolate factory. Ok, so they are a bit strange in the book, and there are some questionable aspects in the book (eccentric recluse of a man hides in his chocolate factory, making up strange sweets, is helped by what are essentially orange dwarves, who invites children into his factory and tests them to find his heir? Really?), but it seems odd to fixate on the relationships instead of the chocolate, Charlie or Willy Wonka himself.
I’ve never really tried to get all “English Student” on this book and rip it to shreds by pointing out all the dodgy stuff, but this cover just seems completely wrong for what is a delightful and entertaining novel.
Penguin, you’ve just ruined my childhood!
There is an article about this in the Guardian, and if you want to read it, click here.