A new cover for Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was last night branded ‘creepy’ by critics.
The Penguin Modern Classics edition - aimed at the adult market - is being released to mark the book’s 50th anniversary.
But its cover, featuring a photograph of a heavily made up young girl wearing a feather boa and sitting on her mother’s knee with a doll-like expression, sparked an immediate backlash.
According to the publisher, the unsettling image reflects the way Dahl’s writing ‘manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life’.
But after the new cover was slated by critics after being unveiled yesterday on Penguin’s Facebook page.
Best-selling Chocolat author Joanne Harris tweeted: ‘Seriously, Penguin Books. Why not just get Rolf Harris to design the next one?
‘I’m not sure why adults need a different cover anyway, but who was it who decided that ‘adult’ meant ‘inappropriately sexualised’?’
Giles Paley-Phillips, an award-winning children’s author, said: ‘I’m not liking the new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, looks more Lolita!’
Penguin said the girl in the cover photograph was not intended to be either Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, the spoilt young girls who feature in Dahl’s tale, but a representation of the ‘twisted’ parent-child relationships depicted throughout the book.
The cover photograph was taken from a French magazine fashion shoot by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, entitled Mommie Dearest.