Judging a Book by It’s Cover: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

CharlieWhile browsing through Book Riot News the other day, I stumbled across an article about the redesigned cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I could take it or leave it, but it’s one of my sister’s favorite books (and movies). She even named her cat after Charlie himself. (That’s Charlie on the left. I like to call him Charles Wallace.)

So, okay, I thought I would click through. (You’re going to want that kitten picture.)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1998) What on Earth?

According to the article, this is for Penguin’s “Modern Classics” label, and thus not intended for children. Okay, I get that. Bloomsbury, after all, has quite a nice line of “grown-up” Harry Potter covers, the original and recently redesigned versions marketed towards adults without looking, well, adult.

The E! article goes on to add that the creepy looking girl/doll on the front cover is “not meant to represent any of the female characters in [the book], including Veruca Salt,” even though little Veruca has often been depicted in a fur coat and pink tutu like the girl on the cover.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (movie)My library has the familiar Quentin Blake cover, left. Admittedly, that might be a hard sell to the over-12 crowd. (I find the illustrations a little unsettling, but the text is kind of creepy, too.) Roald Dahl’s books spread through my library by word of mouth, or when a teacher reads one to his or her students and they come to me wanting more. I don’t think it’s the covers that are “selling” these books to my students, and maybe they could use a little spiffing up.

I’m not a big fan of book tie-in covers, but I think even this one with Johnny Depp would be an improvement over this weird glassy eyed girl. At least it shows us two of the major characters in the book, instead of an anonymous, sexed up, underage girl.


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