Roald Dahl book cover under fire for ‘sexualised’ image in adult version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Cover for Roald Dahl ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ reissued as a Penguin Modern Classic

A ‘creepy’ image of a child on the cover of Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has come under fire for being ‘inappropriately sexualised’.

The girl, thought to depict either Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, is shown sitting on her mother’s knee wearing makeup and a blond wig with a pink bow on the top of her head.

She wears a feather boa and appears almost doll-like with a blank expression.

The new version of the book cover has been released to mark the 50th anniversary of the original book being published by Penguin.

Previous cover of the book illustrated by Quentin Blake

Explaining why they chose the image for the cover, Penguin said the image reflects Dahl’s writing style and how he ‘manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life’.

But the cover drew heavy criticism from several prominent authors online.

Joanne Harris, novelist and author of the best-selling Chocolat, wrote on Twitter: ‘Seriously, Penguin Books. Why not just get Rolf Harris to design the next one?’

‘I’m not sure why adults need a different cover anyway, but who was it who decided that ‘adult’ meant ‘inappropriately sexualised’?’

(Picture: Amazon)

Giles Paley-Phillips, the award-winning children’s author, said: ‘I’m not liking the new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, looks more Lolita!”’

After the image was posted on Penguin’s facebook page, one fan wrote:’Is there time for a reprint? You’re destroying my childhood.’

Penguin said: ‘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.

(Picture: Amazon)

‘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 picture was taken by photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello and called Mommie Dearest.

The cover was approved by the Roald Dahl Literary Estate.