Penguin recently released a new cover of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory to mark the 50th anniversary of the classic children’s book. However authors and readers were left shocked. Critics described the cover as “overly-sexualised” and even “creepy”.
I loved Roald Dahl books as a kid. I spent hours reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator, The Witches, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and my personal favourite The BFG. I still have a copy of The Roald Dahl Treasury sitting on my bookcase today.
But if you actually go back and read most of Dahl’s stories you will notice that most are actually dark and a bit macabre. Its not exactly something a kid would notice. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is really a story about spoilt children and enabling parents. The Witches tells the story of a bunch of witches (obviously) who buy sweet shops as a way of attracting children so they can be turned into mice. George’s Marvellous Medicine is all about a boy trying to poison his gran. I remember having to read Pig in English class. At the time I thought it was hilarious. But at least four people die in that book. Even The BFG is about a bunch of giants that eat children.
Roald Dahl did not write nice children’s books. But it is only as an adult you realise how sick and twisted they really are. Personally I love that this cover creeps me out. It should.