The U.K. arm of Penguin Classics has a new cover for Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” featuring an image that seemingly has little to do with the beloved children’s classic.
The publisher released the cover Wednesday after teasing it hours earlier on its Facebook page, asking viewers to “guess which tasty tale” it belonged it. It then declined to give a clue because “that would be worth more than a golden ticket.”
Reaction to the cover mainly reflected wide confusion. Many questioned why the publisher would choose such an unusual cover some have called “creepy,” “terrifying” and “sexualized.”
"Being an illustrator I have to confess...I don't get the relationship of the image to the story in question....maybe I'm not highbrow enough," Robin Carey posted on the Penguin Facebook page, prompting a reply chain.
"I think it's meant to be Veruca Salt."
"More like Lolita."
The response on Twitter was similar.
But the new cover did have its fans.
Penguin said the new edition of the book has become one of the few children’s stories to be listed as one of its “modern classics,” adding that the new cover is for an adult publication in the U.K. There are no plans for publishing this cover in the U.S.
“This design is in recognition of the book’s extraordinary cultural impact,” the publisher said on its blog.“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."
The "Valley of the Dolls"-like cover surprised TODAY anchors, who failed to guess the correct book title when shown it Thursday.
"That is creepy," Al Roker said.
Savannah Guthrie asked the two questions posed by many readers: "Where's Charlie? Where’s the chocolate?"
"Where's Willy Wonka?" Al added, before mocking the cover as "really obnoxious."