(Cover picture courtesy of What’s new @ CDPL?)
Charlie Bucket’s wonderful adventure begins when he finds one of Mr. Willy Wonka’s precious Golden Tickets and wins a whole day inside the mysterious chocolate factory. Little does he know the surprises that are in store for him!
This is no doubt a classic children’s novel and both of the movie adaptations (the first one starring Gene Wilder and the awful modern one starring Johnny Depp) hardly do it justice. They don’t capture how creative the songs of the Oompa-Loompas were, the story of the chocolate factory and Willy Wonka or the hilarious caricature personalities of the children and adults.
What sets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory apart from many children’s novels is that Roald Dahl didn’t talk down to his readers. There are a lot of things children will catch onto, but there are also a lot of elements adults reading the novel will enjoy as well. How do I know? Because I read it aloud to my little sister as part of my plan to get her to love reading. She didn’t catch all of the subtleties of Roald Dahl’s writing, but we both had a good time, which is the mark of an excellent children’s book.
Charlie Bucket is an excellent character for children. He’s sympathetic and is truly good at heart, in stark contrast to the other children who win the golden tickets. The adventures he and his grandfather go on are fantastic and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is a very vivid world, brought to life by Quentin Blake’s wonderful illustrations (at least, in my edition) and Roald Dahl’s incomparable writing.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a popular children’s novel for a reason and I believe it will stand the test of time to go down as one of the greatest children’s novels of all time.
I give this book 5/5 stars.