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Penguin Marketing

8 August 2014

From the Penguin Books Facebook Page:

Celebrating 50 years of Roald Dahl’s groundbreaking #CharlieandtheChocolateFactory, we’d like to share a new edition with you. Publishing for the first time as a Penguin Modern Classic, this design is in recognition of the book’s extraordinary cultural impact and is one of the few children’s books to be featured in the Penguin Modern Classics list.

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, ready for Charlie’s debut amongst the adult titles in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

. . . .

a1

Link to the rest at Penguin Books Facebook Page and thanks to Amy for the tip.

This kind of marketing genius is what you little self-pub authors can never hope to equal.

For comparison, here’s an earlier version:

a2

 

PG first saw the new cover on a non-Penguin site and thought it must be a spoof.

He predicts the expression on the child model will creep out more than a few girls and boys. And adults.

Is PG the only one who is reminded of JonBenét Ramsey when he looks at that cover?

Big Publishing, Covers

154 Comments to “Penguin Marketing”

  1. OMG.
    (and not in an OMG way).

    • I OMGed,too. I also thought it was a spoof. I cannot believe that passed cover-meeting muster. Let me OMG again!

  2. Ewwwww. Do pedophiles run their art department?

    • No, I think they let Author Solutions design the cover.

    • Eh, I don’t really see the pedophile angle. The kid is showing from leg from below the knee and you barely tell that from the photo because it’s barely in frame. The pic gives off a rich late 50’s/early 60’s style to me.

      Personally I thought it was a picture of two plastic dolls at first. I do get the JonBenét Ramsey thought though.

      I really think this would be an awesome cover for “The Stepford Wives: The First Generation”, or a promo pic for “Toddlers and Tiaras, the Robot Version!”

  3. Hell, it makes me think of Lolita. WTF were they thinking?? Ewww!

  4. I saw this yesterday and was sure it was a spoof. Are we sure that the Random Penguin Facebook page hasn’t been hacked? Checking… No, no reports of hackage.

    The only question I have is who will submit this to the Joel Friedlander monthly ebook cover contest. I know it isn’t eligible, but I want to hear what he has to say about it.

    I was going to suggest we have a contest to come up with a book that would fit that cover, but all the ideas I can imagine are just too creepy.

  5. So, Charlie is a cross-dresser?

  6. They also look a bit like the Doctor Who mannequins that come to life and threaten the Earth.

  7. I saw this on our BBC News website. OMG what are these people on, crack? WTH do they think readers want? Do they have any idea at all? This book is an icon for God’s sake and they do this?

    How can anyone take Random Penguin seriously when they pull stunts like this?

    • They must have done a reader study and found that pedophiles were an inadequately targeted market for this book.

  8. Horrendous. And it doesn’t even seem to have anything to do with what they claim it highlights. They must be thinking only of adults who’ve already read the book and seen the movies.

  9. The ominous dark shadow reminds me of the Psycho movie.

  10. I normally like the covers of the Penguin Modern Classics line, but this cover is just hideous.

  11. Is it possible that it’s a series of covers with a different one for each character? THAT would make sense, kind of.

  12. Makes me think of the Midwich Cuckoos. Or she’s some kind of pod child. Yikes!

  13. This makes me really sad because that’s one of things that really showed Roald Dahl’s personal brand (imo). The covers of his books always bring back happy nostalgic memories of reading contests in elementary school. Why are they trying to make them look like some pedophiles’ version of Gossip Girl?

  14. Maybe it’s a “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” sort of marketing effort? I mean they seem to be getting all sorts of what the hell were they thinking sorts of press out of it.

  15. The parents on my FB friends list are freaking out about this. And no, PG, you’re not the only one who noticed the similarity to poor Jon Benet.

  16. Another dumb decision from Penguin, but whether this comes before or after their support of Author Solutions has yet to be determined.

  17. Not only Jon Benet, but what’s that bare knee and hand all about?

  18. I would not have that book in my house with that cover.

    And that’s saying something: I’m an erotica writer, I used to shoot erotic photography, and some of the covers of the books I do have in my house would have gotten me sent to prison a hundred years ago. (We won’t even talk about the contents.) I have a lot of weird, kinky, and downright perverted stuff in my house.

    But even a wicked old sinner like me draws the line at this masturbatory faux-high-art self-congratulatory dreck. “Look at me, I can make a children’s book cover that looks like the key shot for a French Vogue article from 1967! Aren’t I culturally splendiferous? Aren’t I dangerously, ironically avant-garde? Isn’t mixing stilted, awkwardly erotic imagery with a beloved children’s classic brilliantly creative? DON’T YOU JUST WANT TO LAVISH ME WITH MAJOR AWARDS AND INVITE ME TO THE BEST PARTIES IN NEW YORK, TOKYO AND BERLIN?”

    No, no, no. I do not say this lightly, but Mr. or Ms. Cover Designer and the Managing Editor who signed off on this?

    Die. In. A. Fire.

    • maybe it came from the same “brilliant” mind that designed the new Random Penguin House logo.

      • Maybe the designer could fall in a chocolate river? Or pick another fate of one of the kids in the book (except Charlie, of course).

      • I’m pretty sure nobody actually designed the new PRH logo.

        And I think this cover only got approved because it was after the Christmas party and all key staff were suffering from post binge-drinking brain inactivity syndrome.

  19. My daughter sent me the link. She says she first checked to make sure the date on the OP wasn’t April 1.

    I don’t have words sufficent. None.

  20. ARE WE ALLOWED TO SHOUT HERE? AND SWEAR? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!

  21. That is about as creeptastic as you can get. And their marketing dept. thought this was a good cover? When did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get categorized into the Horror section?

  22. The partial face, knee, and hand reminded me of Betty from Mad Men.

  23. When I first saw this the other day, my first thought was, will school libraries have to wrap it in plain brown paper?

    • I foresee a surge in sales of gently-used second-hand library-bound copies. Because yes, I would not want this cover in a kid’s section display. Talk about putting people off from touching the book.

  24. And Penguin expects PARENTS to buy it for their CHILDREN, put in on the children’s shelves, and read it to them?

    Penguin staffers – all – must not have little kids.

    • The impression I get is that this is a “modern classics” edition, meant for adults who want to read “classic” books including classic children’s books but don’t want to buy the children’s editions. I suspect that the children’s edition will retain its usual cover(s,) and that this will be a separate edition in the lit-fic section.

      If they mean this to be the ONLY paperback cover, then they’re even more mind-bogglingly moronic than I thought.

      • I’m an adult. At least I think I am ~checks – mortgage, taxes, job, commute, bills ~ yeah going to assume I’m an adult.

        I would not have this on my shelves. And I own the Sleeping Beauty Series by Anne R.

        • I haven’t read those for a long time, but I have very vivid memories of taking a cross-country trip with my wife and listening to Elizabeth Montgomery’s audiobook version.

          😉

        • I preferred the bright and whimsical older cover. They should just keep that one.

      • AmyCat / Book Universe

        Fortunately, there are several editions (paper and hardcover) still in print with good covers. As a bookseller, I’d NEVER stock the creepy pedophilic cover shown, and as an adult who reads children’s/YA books, I’d never want to be seen reading it either. An adult reading an obvious “kid’s” book may think they’ll look immature, but better immature than pervy!

        Though, if this is Veruca Salt and her knee-fondling daddy, it may go a long way to explain why the girl’s so f#cked up… 🙁

  25. I forgot: Where’s Charlie?

  26. No PG, you are not the only one who looked at this cover and thought of JonBenet Ramsey.

    • Nope.
      My first thought, too: child pageant contestant. Probably the daughter of the Penguin art director.
      Second thought: somebody call child protective services.

  27. I heard the image is not supposed to be Veruca (or Violet), but something about portraying distorted parent child relationships. Um, ok?

    I am very glad I already have an older copy for my kids.

    Tell me again, big publishing, how authors can’t possibly succeed without your vast expertise….

  28. HEY DAHL ESTATE, HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS NURTURING?

    (insert Deliverance-esque squealing noises)

  29. You guys just don’t get it. See, because the names on the cover are both MALE, the cover art had to be so ferociously feminine that the book would stand out as safe for girls. Hence the pink and the boa and the…

    …Oh god i can’t, even sarcasticly.

    Yes. . I am certain this atrocity required that many f-bombs.

  30. And they say that we indies have bad covers. I’ll put any one of mine up agains this. It would be great if it was for a book about Chucky’s sister.

  31. Got it: penguin took a contract from the FBI to help them catch child predators. No one buy this book. Sales will be tracked. Maybe the copies will all be microchipped. There is no other explanation for a c***-up of this magnitude

    • AmyCat / Book Universe

      Makes more sense than any other explanation I’ve seen for this atrocity…

  32. Yeah, I thought poor JonBenet, too 🙁

    Or Lolita.

    Or Barbie/Valley of the Dolls pr0n.

  33. So this is what the Big Publishers mean by “nurturing.”

    Ugh.

    When I saw that travesty of a cover, and the dead-on resemblance to Jonbenet Ramsey, I totally thought it was some sort of awful joke.

  34. It’s Roxanna Ritchie, the Author’s Guild president, whom Mother Penguin has gotten all primped up to go onstage and cry crocodile tears again about big ol’ meanie Amazon.

    • AmyCat / Book Universe

      Hello, Amazon Troll. You can f#ck off now.

      A bad cover by a major publisher has DIDDLY to do with the controversy over the abusive, monopolistic practices of the Evil Amazonian Empire.

      • By your standards, we’re pretty much all ‘Amazon Trolls’ around here. It’s a running gag. Get used to it. Or, you know, you could always take your own advice.

        Seriously? ‘Abusive, monopolistic practices’? ‘Evil Amazonian Empire’? I’d be sure you were pulling our leg if it weren’t for the gratuitous F-bomb.

      • Dear AmyCat,

        You strike me as a highly intelligent, articulate, sensitive individual. You must have a lot of friends.

  35. I like the cover. Or at least the idea behind it, which was to emphasize the f****** up parents making their children equally f***** up.

    (And, no, Penguin said that wasn’t Veruca Salt.)

    And since Roald Dahl was an English novelist, I would assume that this was designed over there. The JonBenet case probably had as big an impact over there as the Madeleine McCann case had in the U.S. I’d cut them some slack there.

    No, this does not look even close like a creepy sexy cover. Creepy, yes. Sexy, no. Not compared to the slutwear we’ve seen (sheer crop tops, or pants with “juicy” over the back), or the models walking the catwalk who seem made up to look like their 14.

    And Dahl is supposed to be a creepy writer. His books are supposed to offend adults, so it looks like, judging by the overheated fluttery hands I see here, it scored.

    Now, where it failed is in giving us any idea of what the story is about. If they had done up the children to represent the main characters (except Charlie, of course), it would have hewed closer to what the story is about. One can only assume they said “everyone knows what the story is about,” and decided not to go there.

    I would disagree, but I’m not in charge at Penguin.

    • Children get older and every year they discover C&tCF.

      That’s the problem with the cover. It was designed by adults, for adults. It communicates nothing about the book, nor does it reinforce the book while or after it’s been read.

      It was done by some young adult employee who was trying to be ‘edgy’ and is the pet of some more senior employee who is vested in the younger employee’s success such that real judgement has gone by the board. It totally has the odor of dysfunctional company politics.

    • And Dahl is supposed to be a creepy writer. His books are supposed to offend adults, so it looks like, judging by the overheated fluttery hands I see here, it scored.

      Dahl’s stories for adults are supposed to offend adults. Have you not read any of his children’s books? The man wrote in two drastically different genres, for Pete’s sake. This is not a new cover for Kiss Kiss or Switch B****.

      • Here’s a list of Dahl’s children books that adults have tried to ban:

        The Witches: Misogynistic: “I do not wish to speak badly about women,” the author writes. “Most women are lovely. But the fact remains that all witches are women. There is no such thing as a male witch. On the other hand, a ghoul is always a male… both are dangerous. But neither of them is half as dangerous as a REAL WITCH.”

        Matilda: “on the grounds that the presentation of neglectful abusive parents can be harmful to young children. And the idea that children should not use tricks for personal gain. Many parents have distaste for the story because it exalts the genius child over the irrational and idiotic parents.”

        James and the Giant Peach: “James and the Giant Peach has been censored many times since its publication in 1961. “It has been banned for being too scary for the targeted age groups, mysticism, sexual inferences, profanity, racism, references to tobacco and alcohol, and claims that it promotes disobedience, drugs, and communism” (bannedbooksweeks.com).”

        Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for racism in the Oompa-Loompas. “In 1990 one Colorado librarian appealed to the American Library Association to censor Dahl’s story. She argued that the book promoted a poor philosophy on life and that Charlie, the main character, had no redeeming positive traits, only the absence of negative ones.”

        The BFG: Challenged and Banned for:

        Too mature for the intended audience
        Teaches poor moral values
        Cannibalism

        In his childrens’ books, it’s always the children against the adults, and he is firmly on the kids’ side. And adults can’t stand that.

        • In his childrens’ books, it’s always the children against the adults, and he is firmly on the kids’ side. And adults can’t stand that.

          I can stand it just fine. Deliberately appealing to pedophiles, on the other hand— Well, as they say on Sesame Street, ‘One of these things is not like the others.’

          Sorry, you’re barking firmly up the wrong tree. You have taken hold of the wrong end of the stick and are beating about the wrong bush with it. Add and mix metaphors as required.

  36. I actually really like the photograph, which is obviously meant to be disturbing (and succeeded, judging by the reactions).

    However, it doesn’t belong on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–not least because the book is for children (although it is quite dark) and also because it really has nothing to do with the plot (unless Charlie became a cross-dresser or something and I missed it).

  37. I believe that’s called “Marketing”.

  38. I would not buy a book with this cover for my grandchild. Yes to Jon Benet, yes to Toddlers and Tiaras (read these yeses as nos), and no to whatever chain of command exploited the concept of kiddie porn to sell a children’s book.

  39. And they replace the original cover by the brilliant artist Quentin (now Sir Quentin) Blake for this?

    From wacky to tacky.

    Have Penguin taken leave of their senses?

  40. I think it’s an excellent cover – for one of Hitchcock’s movies.

  41. I’m back because I find it extremely fascinating that traditional publishers, as of late, seem to be going out of their way to make their books look like stereotypical indie published books. Casual Vacancy (the original release cover) and Cuckoo’s Calling come to mind. Lately, I have seen better quality cover design coming from modest or tight budget indies, smart people who know what their limitations are and make stock art and typography work in a very genius sort of way. Most of the time, these savvy authors have absolutely no experience in graphic design, and still they manage expert results.

    The Big Five and their fan clubs have argued repeatedly that books are expensive to produce in part because of the in-house design teams. The idea is that they have a much bigger budget then, to work with refined talent to create something that’s perfect for the book in question, so the marketing team as an easier time with promotion.

    Why then are these traditional covers coming out so blatantly wrong? This is only the latest in a stream of very poor choices coming out of legacy publishing. I don’t think this cover would pass mustard over at the Book Designer’s monthly ebook cover-art awards. The typography is weak and the image confusing. Such a cover will not have presence in a thumbnail image on an ebook shelf. It will not attract attention by book surfers because it has no hook. And, as others have pointed out, it suggests an entirely different genre than what Penguin is telling us it is in.

    I have seen too much stock art coming out of legacy publishers, stock art they don’t even try to mask any more. And if this photo isn’t stock art, and they paid a photographer studio time for this, it’s a monumentally disastrous decision.

    I do applaud the fact that Penguin is standing behind their choice, no matter the cost. It shows a certain rebellious bravery, no matter how inane, to support their decision makers with the full scope of their company.

    It would be even braver, I think, if Penguin would come out and say “Okay, we reached, made a decision, and we see in hindsight that perhaps there was a more appropriate path to take. We were wrong. We will fix it.”

    But I guess there’s a reason captains go down with their ships, eh?

  42. I keep hearing from expert book designers that the cover should be at least a hint of what the story is. I’ve just reread a summary of the plot.

    I can’t see where this creepy cover fits the story. Did I miss something?

  43. Randy Penguin apparently is well named. Ultra-slimey to dress a child like an aging beauty contestant, and both she and the so-called adult look like Stepford Mannequin Mommy with Stepfordian Finger Splayed Child. And Bill, from a peddie’s point of view, that is definitely little princess soft porn.

    Sir Quentin Blake’s illustrations are as much of Dahl’s books as RD’s writing– are funny and joyous.

    What Randy Penguin has done here is like re-doing the illustrations for Where the Wild Things Are, or Thurber, or Madelaine or Curious George.

    RandomHouse/Penguin… You dont remember the lesson of “New Coke” dreamed up not by artists but by marketing ‘committees of ten’ ??? who were out of touch with consumer reality. Seriously? You thought this hot mess would fly? Think again. As a grandparent, I wont be giving copies with this creepy cover to any of the grandkids. Count on it. But, they love the full paperback collection we have of Dahl along with Sir Quentin’s wonderfully humorous illustrations.

  44. Is this already out in stores? I couldn’t find it on amazon. If it is, I suspect some folks will buy it to collect it for when Random Penguin burns this edition and puts out one that isn’t attractive to guys with skeevy sexual habits.

  45. What the f***?

  46. Oh, c’mon, folks. Traditional publishing adds value. This is what added value looks like. 🙂

    • Yeah, where would we be without these guardians of High Literature, and the expert marketing of same? If this isn’t truly a parody, someone’s head should be on a plate over there. And to think Barry Eisler had problems with a green garage door! This may go down as one of the top 10 Worst Cover Ideas Ever. I thank my lucky stars I stopped trying to make a deal with the kind of people who think this is a great idea.

    • I find myself channelling my inner Arthur Dent:

      ‘Ah. This is obviously some strange usage of the word “value” that I hadn’t previously been aware of.’

  47. I checked but the cover did not get picked up on the LousyBookCovers website. Perhaps because it is not yet up on amazon.

  48. Phyllis Humphrey

    Another vote for Jon-Benet being tortured again.

  49. I just fell into the Uncanny Valley. Dear god what are they thinking??? Hells no!

    • Apple claims to make products that are “insanely great.” This cover is insanely stupid.

      We are all dumber for having seen it. Having read RP’s defense of the cover, I feel even worse. I’ll have to go read Snooky’s book now just to get some basic level of intellectual stimulation.

    • That is some high quality bullshitting right there. RP should be proud of their PR department’s ability to pull such fine work out of their collective asses.

    • From the article: “”This design is in recognition of the book’s extraordinary cultural impact and is one of the few children’s books to be featured in the Penguin Modern Classics list.”

      I read that and thought poor Roald Dahl must have pulled the short straw in that unfortunate line-up.

  50. This cover is more sexualized than 50 Shades of Grey.

  51. This is possibly one of the worst covers I’ve ever seen. It breaks more common sense design rules than any indie published book!

    The sight lines are all over the place. Your eye is drawn around randomly, and to the title LAST. That’s unforgivable for any book cover that should be designed to convey as much information as possible at a glance.

    The photo is a terrible, terrible choice. It tells the viewer nothing about the book because it’s a bloody fashion stock photo. They also chose a chunk that’s cluttered as hell, and missing enough extra visual cues that it’s almost impossible to tell whose leg is that, who’s sitting where? Again, this is completely unforgivable for something that needs to convey information at a glance.

    The font is ridiculous. The book is full of fantastical elements; the font looks like it belongs in a magazine on interior design. It’s plain and boring. The placement of the text over the image, and the color choice in the title, are huge mistakes because they basically mean the cover is difficult to read at scale or at a distance. In a physical bookstore and on Amazon, this cover will not stand out.

    I could go on, but my head is close to exploding as is.

    I’m absolutely shocked that Penguin are such complete idiots that they’d move away from Quentin Blake’s illustrations for a Roald Dahl book, even for an adult audience. Their quirky, sometimes creepy exaggeration are a perfect match to the weirdness of his stories.

    tl;dr – this is either intentional, or Random Penguin have replaced all their competent graphic designers with a single student intern who’s been throwing covers together in between drinking and reading Adobe Illustrator for Dummies. If it’s intentional, it’s either to get people talking about the book by way of the truly awful cover, or they’ve decided to completely half-a** it (courtesy of the student intern) on the assumption that people will buy it out of nostalgia when they announce the new edition, so the cover doesn’t matter.

    Like Kristine says above, this is the kind of value that traditional publishing has to offer these days. There are not enough sarcastic quips in the world to convey how I feel about that.

  52. I’m not seeing the pedophile angle that everyone is mentioning… but what does this have to do with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

    • Nothing, apparently. According to RP (in the bbc article) it’s not even supposed to be one of the two female children in the book.

      • if y ou google John C., re ‘little princess’ porn, and read about the fetish in some adults re photos of young girls dressed out like dolls and like older women… or read true crime about the murders of children dressed up in anachronistic ways that rocks the homicidal person’s world… you’ll see. It’s not something the average person would likely ever imagine. The adultish sexualization of little children, especially little girls… is practically an industry. I doubt Dahl intended anything even remotely associated, to be associated to his work. Like I said, Sir Quentin’s illustrations are enlivening, illustrative of the book and filled with humor.

        I have to say too, the look in the child’s face on this revolting cover plastered onto Dahl’s book, appears to be that of a child who has been traumatized. That stare is definite in children who have just been abused. And the splayed fingers also, are not those of a relaxed and happy child. [Given the news coming out that this pic was just some random leftover from an actual fashion shoot somewhere in Eu– the child may have been staring because she was tired/bored to death from working all day under hot lights and her pores painted closed from all the makeup.]

  53. Yes! Let’s put a photograph of a highly sexualised little girl on the cover of a CHILDREN’S BOOK!

    The last dying gasp of an already rotting corpse!

  54. Tell me this was posted on April 1. Or someone from The Onion managed to hack Penguin’s FB page and add this post. It has *got* to be a joke.

  55. I agree on three counts: 1) I thought it was a spoof when I first saw it. 2) It is absolutely creepy. 3) The JonBenét Ramsey doll is downright scary, and I’m an adult. I can’t imagine a kid wanting the book based on this cover. I hate that, because I loved the story when I was a kid. Okay, so I still love the story. 😉

  56. Michael Matewauk

    Not enough chocolate–I’m out.

  57. It turns out the thing isn’t a book cover at all.
    (Explains why it breaks all the rules.)

    It is actually left over from a french fashion shoot.
    Didn’t even have to commission it.

    “The cover photograph was taken from a French magazine fashion shoot by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, entitled Mommie Dearest.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2719598/Anger-sexualised-cover-Charlie-Chocolate-Factory-Publishers-attempt-make-50th-anniversary-edition-Dahls-classic-appeal-adults-backfires.html#ixzz39q7xEnQ1

    • Thanks for the link, Felix.

      It doesn’t matter where or how Randy Penguin acquired the photo. Dahl’s work is edgy but it doesn’t straddle the child pr0n line that this cover does.

    • Ha! Nailed it. French fashion magazine. Okay, so it was a retro shoot (the Interwebz say the feature was from 2008.) But still. Nailed it.

  58. Easily one of the worst covers I’ve ever seen legacy publishing slap onto a good book, and that’s really saying something.

  59. This cover makes me think that somebody, somewhere, has been believing their own b******* for too long.

    My first thought was that they were trying to target the book to girls, which is something publishers have been doing lately, branding children’s books as either girls’ books or boys’ books. This annoys me because this particular book, like many others, is obviously suitable for both sexes. But given RP’s explanation (which makes no sense), I guess that wasn’t what they were trying to do.

  60. Wow. Just wow.

    What are they thinking?

  61. KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!

  62. Uh … Lolita and the Chocolate Factory?

  63. The curators at the publishing houses know what is best for us.

  64. Very Creepy

  65. Penguoin was brave (or foolish) enough to ask on Facebook if people would be buying the book. They must be gluttons for punishment or the desperate intern who designed this is trying to justofy not being thrown into the fire or something. It doesn’t take a genius to guess the overwhelming majority of the answers: https://www.facebook.com/penguinbooks?hc_location=timeline

  66. I feel sad for the family/copyright holders and Mr Dahl – well he will be rotating in his grave but at least he’s dead and doesn’t have to suffer the profound humiliation of seeing his wonderful book & name on this ghastly image

  67. I was inspired by Penguin to try my own hand at re-interpreting children’s classics.

    I call mine, “Henry James and the Giant Peach”
    https://www.facebook.com/matthew.iden/photos/a.216865861724183.52753.201560519921384/675428395867925/

  68. It reminds me of the animatronics in the Burton film. I expect she’s about to burst into flame.

  69. I think its very disheartening, but my first thought was that it was a picture of that precious little Girl, JonBenet. It seems like someone from the Publishing Company would have thought this. It may not have bothered me so much if I didn’t think it was a picture of her.

  70. Looking at the Facebook page and the other covers of Mr. Dahl’s books, it appears that Random Penguin is going for a doll theme with the line. While the rest of them don’t have the Stepford Daughter connotations of this cover or the blatant disconnect from the plot and characters, I cannot help but think the person who greenlighted the series of covers never had children. It’s all edgy hipster trash. Given the comments on the page, I wonder if Random Penguin knows that it made a mistake but can’t admit it.

  71. All of the power in this photo relies on dehumanising the child – I’m reminded of those little trophy dogs people like Paris Hilton had in their handbags, even down to the ‘cute’ ribbon in the hair.
    Dahl’s books empower the children. In C&tCF the children are powerful characters – awful creatures, mostly, but vivid. Adding the book to the adult titles is a cynical attempt to squeeze more paperback sales out of an existing property while the publisher still has the rights.
    This cover is pure clickbait. Bravo, Penguin, it worked. But the promotional blurb (“this new image… looks at the children at the centre of the story”) is pure corporate gibberish.

  72. Gah, PG! It does look like Jon Benet Ramsey! I went to the Penquin site and out of some 600+ comments, I didn’t see one positive one.

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