Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rereading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket. Their names are Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably Roald Dahl's most famous book, though not everyone may know who it's by. It feels strange to reiterate the plot, but here it is. Little Charlie Bucket lives in a tiny house with his four grandparents and his mother and father. They're very poor, but Charlie manages to win the last Golden Ticket, allowing him to enter Willy Wonka's famous factory. He goes with his Grandpa Joe, and they see all sorts of strange and marvelous things. The other four children who come with him are all brats in one way or another: Augustus Gloop eats way too much, Violet Beauregarde chews way too much gum, Veruca Salt is a spoiled brat, plain and simple, and Mike Teavee is addicted to television. They are listed here in the order of their demise.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is somewhat thought-provoking, but it's also marvelously imaginative. I would absolutely love to visit a chocolate factory one tenth as amazing as Wonka's. And who wouldn't want a life-time supply of candy?

This book also features some great, well-drawn characters. I love Charlie, and the glutton, the gum-chewer, the brat, and the TV addict are all portrayed well. I loved this particular quote which illustrated Veruca Salt quite well: "'I don't care about that!' shouted Veruca. 'I want one. All I've got at home is two dogs and four cats and six bunny rabbits and two parakeets and three canaries and a green parrot and a turtle and bowl of goldfish and a cage of white mice and a silly old hamster! I want a squirrel!'" That's all? I'm surprised, Veruca.

While the first movie version made of this book is good in terms of casting, it differs so, so, much from the original book. For example, the squirrels sorting good and bad walnuts are replaced in the movie by geese laying good and bad golden eggs. I have no idea where that came from. There's also an extra (and unnecessary in my opinion) plot-line added into the movie. Plus, the songs in the movie are not what the Oompa-Loompas sing in the book. The book's songs are much better, much more clever, in Roald Dahl's distinctive style. Though Gene Wilder is excellent as Willy Wonka. Oh, and they changed the title.

If you've seen either of the two movie versions or you're planning to see them, I would recommend this excellent book.

Lastly, I couldn't find a good picture of the edition I read anywhere; it was an old copy of either my dad or one of my uncles. But (and I'm very excited about this) it's the first paperback edition of the book! Who knows? It may be worth something. No picture of it though, just of another edition.

Read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
  • if you like Roald Dahl
  • if you've seen the movie(s)
  • if you like books about chocolate and candy
160 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!


  1. Haha! I love that line Veruca says! I remember that distinctly from the movie. That's probably why they put it in.
    Wait. Are the geese from the original movie or the book? I want to know what the Oompa Loompas sing now! I know they kept the Fantastic Mr. Fox song. I don't know if it was exact but it was at least really close.
    Keep that book in a display or something! It would look so cool and you can brag to your reader friends (;

    1. The geese are from the movie. In the book, it's squirrels. I still like the movie though.