Penguin has recently unveiled the covers for its new editions of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books, including a controversial choice for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features a “doll-like young girl” instead of Charlie, Willy Wonka, a golden ticket, or anything even remotely relevant to the book.

Readers and authors have strongly criticised Penguin’s decision, labelling the new cover as “creepy,” and even equating it with Lolita rather than the children’s classic. Penguin’s choices for Dahl’s other books are not a whole lot better, with a slew of covers depicting odd and old-fashioned toys, including a bizarre spoon doll for The BFG.

My biggest issue, however, is that these new covers are largely not relevant to the stories contained inside. They give a false impression, and since the cover is effectively the first page of the book, publishers have a duty to be accurate in their presentation.

Since Penguin has already stated that the girl on the cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not meant to depict Veruca Salt or Violet Beauregarde, then who, if anyone, is she supposed to represent? Picking a random series of dolls for the covers of Dahl’s collection is a rather haphazard way to treat his books, and is, in my opinion, disrespectful to his stories.

It is possible, of course, that this is entirely a publicity stunt. On its Facebook page, Penguin cited coverage in Creative Review, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, and Today Show. And it’s definitely working, as the covers are getting attention everywhere, but not for the right reasons.

As a reader, I would rather buy a different version of all of these books, even a second-hand version with a more appropriate cover that is more respectful to the author and his stories.

Source: BBC

Image Credit: Penguin Books

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