08/08/2014 10:47 BST | Updated 08/08/2014 16:59 BST

New Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Cover Called 'Creepy' And 'Sexualised', But Penguin Defend Their Decision

Most of us who were Roald Dahl fans as kids loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Willy Wonka, its 'good conquers evil' core, Oompa-Loompas and, of course, THE CHOCOLATE.

So quite what Penguin were going for with their new cover for the classic children's story we're not sure.

The publisher is due to release a Penguin Modern Classics edition for adults to mark 50 years since the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released.

charlie and the chocolate factory

The cover shows a young girl in make-up and feather boa. As she sits on an adults knee, a dark shadow looms behind the girl, whose facial expression is more submissive doll than joyful child in a chocolate factory.

The publisher has been accused of sexualising a child on the cover, with Chocolat author Joanne Harris tweeting: "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’?”

Author Giles Paley-Phillips joined the online discussion, adding that the Dahl classic looked "more like Lolita".

Others have taken to Twitter to call the book "creepy", "horrifying" and "confusing".

According to the BBC, the publisher has defended their cover choice: "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," Penguin reportedly said in a statement.


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There will be three Modern Classics editions of the book released this year for the big anniversary, including a 'golden edition' featuring full-colour illustrations by Dahl's original illustrator Sir Quentin Blake.

We know which edition we'll be buying.