Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The very worst cover ever?

I saw this a couple of days ago but just remembered it. I’m sure you will all want to admire the very worst cover that a great book was ever subjected to in the history of mankind:

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“This new image for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life,” said a statement from Penguin.

This article from the Washington Post includes this snippet:

To Tony Ross, a former art director at District-based Mage Publishers who teaches a class on jacket design for the D.C. Public Library, it’s a particularly book-ish perspective. The modernization of a beloved children’s story, even if it goes no deeper than the cover art, gets to the heart of some reader anxiety — worries that the world is changing, and the book industry along with it.

The classics “are sort of these touchstones for people,” Ross said.

Oh, really? That’s why people hate this cover? Because it symbolizes the changing world and the idea of change makes people anxious? Not you, though, buddy, because you are so enlightened and cool you don’t get anxious at the thought of change, is that right?

Funny, I would have assumed that everybody hates this cover because it:

a) has absolutely no relationship to anything in the story

b) implies the book is about a creepy doll that comes to life and kills people, or something

c) makes it seem as though the book is making a statement about the modern sexualization of childhood

d) HAS ABSOLUTELY NO RELATIONSHIP TO ANYTHING IN THE STORY.

But maybe that’s just me.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY has a dark edge to it, sure. But this cover suggests the wrong dark edge and does it in the wrong way. It’s inexplicable to me that anybody in Penguin’s marketing department could possibly have thought that this cover was appropriate — and even more inexplicable that anybody in the world would defend the cover now that it’s been unveiled.

Roahd Dahl must be spinning in his grave.

UPDATE: Brandy shared a link in the comments that is SO GOOD you really must click through: Here

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3 Comments The very worst cover ever?

  1. Craig

    Maybe it’s just me, but when a book cover is focused on a person, and the book has a character named in the title, I expect that the named character is the one on the cover.

    No, on second thought, I’m pretty sure that’s not just me.

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