Cover for new edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "creepy, sexualized, inappropriate garbage”


Didn’t we do this?

If I recall, that’s not the cover. It’s a hypothetical paste-up.


I hope it’s just hypothetical. I also have the original cover referenced in this article. What’s wrong with it? It has lived on in my memory for 40 years.

I’m wondering who this is even supposed to be. I assume, by the oppulent manner of dress, it to Veruca, but both female children had their fathers with them. The only mothers were with Augustus and Mike.

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Huh, OK, I can see creepy, and, definitely can’t see what the hell this cover has to do with the book, the guess that it’s a depiction of Veruca Salt seems the best guess, but… Why? Really, it looks to me like some of those old timey high end dolls, that have some kind of bizzare combo creepy from a rigor mortis appearance and the Uncanny Valley.

But, Sexualized? I’m not seeing that. If a picture of a little girl in… what is that, a feather boa or a giant mink coat? With her hair fixed neatly with a bow is a sexual image for you, I think perhaps it’s not the picture that’s the problem.
Bizarre Stepford wife appearance? Yup, 100% on board, the woman at the edge of the frame as well as the daughter. But that doesn’t immediately equate to sexualized. Plastic, repressed even, sure. But this is not even to the level of “Houses of the Holy” album cover, which is at least arguable, let alone something like the “Virgin Killer” cover image.

Really terrible choice for a cover for this book, and easy to criticize, without needing to resort to overblown claims.


Alternate headline: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Makes Headlines Again With Sensational New Cover”.

One thing that Dahl’s books for children are not is sexually perverse, or indeed sexual at all. (His macabre stories for adults, which sometimes feature sexual cruelty, are another matter.)

Or so we’d like to think…


Well said. I agree that to me it’s not sexual, but as soon as someone throws that out there it’s “I am outrage!” all over the internets. Hard to put that toothpaste back in the tube.

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That’s a weird choice of subject as well as being creepy—Veruca Salt wasn’t even one of the pivotal characters.

I say we throw this cover down the garbage chute.

“One thing that Dahl’s books for children are not is sexually perverse, or indeed sexual at all.”

That’s what I thought, until I learned what a snozzberry is.

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Dunno how this is sexualized, unless you make the connection with those super creepy child beauty pageants. Nevertheless, the cover doesn’t really make sense, since it has almost no relation to the book.

I take the cover the same way: upper class manufacture of a Stepford daughter. I don’t really see sexualized so much. For me, however, the cover works: that is clearly Verruca Salt. It would work better if there was a separate cover for each of the winning kids, and this was just hers.

I am skeptical of the linked analysis. The referenced later work might easily have been Dahl inserting a call-back. The facts presented do not scream that Dahl was giving snozzberry that meaning when her wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The link reads like a shrill screed by the dude that wrote it: lots of noise, not a lot of substance.


Heh, well, I entirely missed it till another poster pointed it out, but, Veruca went to the factory with her father, not her mother, and, it’s been a while since I’ve either seen or read the source material, but, was the mother present in any sense at all?

Anyway, It could be worse. For example, the covers to the Enders Game series clearly showed a publisher that didn’t have two fucks to give about matching cover image to book events. A lot of SciFi seems to suffer this, but, that’s the one that sticks out most blatantly for me.

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Your skepticism is well-founded, but I’d still like to think Dahl retroactively defined snozzberry to add to the perversion of Mr. Wonka.


Kind of a jerk, and “one of the biggest cocksmen in America”. And the British complained about oversexed Americans during the war…

I remember reading some essay a while ago about why SF cover art doesn’t match the book content, and why that doesn’t matter.

Can’t find it now though. I know the example given was of an anthology which showed what appeared to be some kind of time-travelling Roman centurion, when there was no such story. Might have been an Asimov essay?

One thing that Dahl’s books for children are not is sexually perverse, or indeed sexual at all.

Come now. Had the author never read Rhyme Stew?

Many examples:

A woman who my mother knows
Came in and took off all her clothes.
Said I, not being very old,
‘By golly gosh, you must be cold!’
‘No, no!’ she cried. ‘Indeed I’m not!
I’m feeling devilishly hot!’

Complete with (unfortunately ungoogleable) picture of a nine-year-old boy looking wide-eyed at a woman undressing to her lacy underwear in front of him. And

Our gym-instructress, Miss McPhee,
When gym was over, said to me,
“Stay on, Bill Smith, I’ll teach you things.
I stayed behind. She shut the door.
She’d never been so kind before.
She said, “So you can get it right
I’ll have to hold you very tight.”
She held me here, she held me there,
By gum, she held me everywhere.
She kindly taught me, after that,
To wrestle with her on the mat.
Oh gosh, the things she taught me,
Our gym-instructress, Miss McPhee!

(The silly cover, if real, is silly though, of course.)

If you trip across it, or have any further hints on finding it, sounds like a piece of writing worth reading!

Now that I think about it, it would be absurd for snozzberries to be penises, since the lickable wallpaper depicts the fruits whose flavors one can taste on the wallpaper, such that if a snozzberry were a penis, it would have to be among the fruits depicted. The only explanation, then, is that a snozzberry is a fruit in the Dahl Universe, whose name is also employed as a euphemism for penis.

Dahl was Norwegian.

At least when it comes to discussing his negative characteristics :wink:

Loved his books as a kid, found his memoirs fascinating (Boy more than Going Solo), liked the adult stories of his that I’ve read (i.e. Royal Jelly), but he sounds like he was an awful person.

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