Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

by Roald Dahl (1964)

A Sweet Spot selection. 

Also available in Spanish.

Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket from Mr. Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you!

Welcome to a wonderful world from Roald Dahl’s amazing imagination where rivers run with chocolate, gum can be a whole meal, and naughty children get their just desserts.

Young Charlie Bucket is wholesome and earnest. He lives a difficult life with his bed-ridden grandparents and his hard-working parents in a too-small house with “a horrible empty feeling in their tummies.”

Then, by chance, Charlie finds the last of five Golden Tickets in his birthday chocolate bar and everything changes. He and Grandpa Joe become part of a rip-roaring adventure to meet Willy Wonka, the reclusive owner of the mysterious candy factory. They are joined by four other children, each with their own personality flaws and indulgent adults:

Augustus Gloop: A greedy boy
Veruca Salt: A girl who is spoiled by her parents
Violet Beauregarde: A girl who chews gum all day long
Mike Teavee: A boy who does nothing but watch television

 As the story progresses, one by one the children must leave the tour for breaking the rules. The Oompa-Loompas act as a Greek Chorus, reinforcing the lessons to be learned from the bad behavior of these children. When Augustus Gloop ends up in the chocolate river because of his gluttony and gets sucked up a pipe and sent on to another part of the factory, the Oompa-Loompas comment:

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
The great big greedy nincompoop!
How long could we allow this beast
To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast
On everything he wanted to?
Great Scott! It simply wouldn’t do!

 In the end, only Charlie and Grandpa Joe remain, winning the biggest prize of all – ownership of the candy factory. As Willy Wonka explains,

I don’t want a grown-up person at all. A grownup won’t listen to me; he won’t learn. He will try to do things his own way and not mine. So I have to have a child. I want a good sensible loving child, one to whom I can tell my most precious candy-making secrets – while I am still alive.

If your school is looking for Dahl’s fantastic word play, out-sized characters, and wild plot twists and turns, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the book for you. This book will give you plenty of opportunities for creative, imaginative play and maybe some sweet treats, too.

 

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