Roald and the Penguin Factory

imagesThere has been a bit of a kerfuffle over the cover art chosen by Penguin to illustrate the Roald Dahl novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The two main objections: it is upsetting and inappropriate for a chldren’s book and it is not representative of the contents of the book. Most commentators concluded that they would never give the book to a child. Despite the common use of children as a shield covering the adult person’s inability to accept the problematic facts of life, let’s look at the cover, in fact the covers of the entire Penguin re-release of the works of Roald Dahl, and let’s consider the works themselves.

Let’s start by defining our terms, but in this case each reader should consider the question for themselves: What is a children’s book?

Here’s the cover:

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XFX: I’m Going To Happyland

HappylandWhat if a woman named Happy had an abusive childhood yet became the central figure in her own massively popular line of very expensive dolls imaginatively created with backstories designed to win the love and admiration of little girls all over the world. Then one day this powerful and very rich woman drives through a quaint village in upstate New York and decides to transform it into Happyland, creating a new home for her Happy Dolls and transforming the village into the ideal town based on the goodness and popularity of the Happy Dolls.

But the nice lady is a corporate vulture out to make the world conform to her wishes (and make a lot of money off it, of course).

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