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We’re Not Sure What to Make of the New CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Cover

Hey, did you know it’s the 50th anniversary of the Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The book that would go on to inspire exactly one good film adaptation just celebrated its half-centennial, and publisher Penguin decided to release a new edition of the novel with an updated cover, which you can see below.


And hey, that’s… something. What is that? What is going on, Penguin, why is this Beyond the Valley of the Dolls nightmare happening?

We’re not sure if Penguin was intentionally trying to court controversy here or if some art director just got hyper-conceptual with it, but what does this Toddlers and Tiaras riff have to do with Dahl’s darkly comic tale of bratty kids and the emotionally-stunted parents who love them?

The Hollywood Reporter notes that the cover is taken from a cropped image from a 2008 Numero photoshoot called “Mommy Dearest” which presents a fun house mirror version of the harrowing camp classic of the same name. There’s not really a lot of overlap there between a movie about child abuse, a photoshoot providing an homage to the same, and Dahl’s darkly whimsical story (although, I am willing to cop to missing something). For comparison, this is the cover for Penguin’s UK release in September.

Penguin, for their part, are keeping mum, simply linking to the many think pieces and articles about the new cover, leaning back, and presumably smugly counting the shares on Facebook. You win this time, Penguin.


Her eyes, they follow you.


Do you see? Do you see?!



[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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  1. In the original book i think Charlie was a girl. The parents had to cut her hair and pretend she was a boy so she could have a paper route or something like that. I’ve never read it, but I remember someone saying that, or something like that in an interview with the author (who was also a woman, Dahl being a pen name to sell more books). It was in a magazine that came out in the 80’s.

  2. Eddie says:

    Nothing will ever beat Ivan Brunetti’s cover illustration for this book!

  3. Xando2007 says:

    Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if – and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy – “I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,” et cetera, et cetera… “Fax mentis, incendium gloria cultum,” et cetera, et cetera… Memo bis punitor delicatum! It’s all there! Black and white, clear as crystal! You STOLE Fizzy-Lifting Drinks! You BUMPED into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get… NOTHING!!! You lose! GOOD DAY, SIR!

  4. thonax says:

      Um…Duh?    “but what does this Toddlers and Tiaras riff have to do with Dahl’s darkly comic tale of bratty kids and the emotionally-stunted parents who love them?”
    its perfect, a sugar coma faced kid 

  5. Amy says:

    “There’s no earthly way of knowing ..Which direction we are going…”

  6. Vern says:

    Slightly – well massively off topic, really, but the chap second left in the pic above is British character actor Roy Kinnear, who is brilliant as Verrucca Salt’s Dad. If you’ve been watching Penny Dreadful – and why would you not – you’ve watched his son, Rory, as Frankenstein’s Monster.

    Totally irrelevant, but there y’go…

  7. Dale Hoppert says:

    Come with me and you’ll be in a world of impure imagination. ..

  8. There’s a chapter in the book called, “The Family Begins to Starve.” Even that is not nearly as depressing as this cover. 

  9. JAQE says:

    Willy Wonka is the Doctor’s 24th regeneration.

  10. shinigamigrlkj13 says:

    Is it me or do flashes of The Walking Dead’s Lizzie come to mind?
    Look at the chocolate Charlie….

  11. Orionsangel says:

    Is that supposed to be Veruca Salt? If it is, she’s not the central figure in the story.  It’s also odd how it looks like the 1960’s.

    • Varuca Salt says:

      The book was published in ’64. Children’s novelist and literary historian, John Rowe Townsend, has described the book as “fantasy of an almost literally nauseating kind.” This cover it pretty nauseating, imo.

  12. Jeff Edsell says:

    Jeebus. I think there was a mix-up somewhere and the cover of their reprint of Lolita has a picture of a kid finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar.

  13. Narrator says:

    What the eff??

  14. Lisa says:

    I’m honestly most bummed that I don’t believe a child would see that and think it’s a good story.

  15. meMcgee says:

    For an article about not understanding the connection, it sure does do a good job of pointing out the connection…

  16. Ernesto says:

    I kind of like this cover. I think one of the things that have been lost in the adaptations is that Dahl is just as harsh on the parents than on their bratty kids. This cover implies that the awful children and even the one good one are reflections of their parents. 

  17. Jb says:

    This is not the cover for the Penguin edition for kids. That cover is still the same classic Quentin Blake art.  It’s in stores now. 

  18. 1opinionated says:

    The full-sized image is creepier when trying to put in in context with the book

  19. Kevin says:

    That is obviously a re-imagined Oompa-Loompa.

  20. Bethany B. says:

    I’m thinking error they don’t want to cop to to save money.