Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright © 1964
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is Dahl at his best, magic and social skewering all at once. But, I wonder if anyone will notice anymore.
Charlie Bucket lived with his mom and dad and four grandparents in a little shack on the edge of town. They were very poor because the only job Charlie’s dad could get was in a toothpaste factory as a cap-screwer, and a toothpaste cap-screwer doesn’t make enough to support six people. This being the case they all had very little to eat. Nonetheless, they were all happy that they had each other and they loved each other very much. Charlie was a growing boy though, and he was so very hungry. Of all the things he liked to eat, he liked chocolate the most.
Willy Wonka loved chocolate too. As a matter of fact he opened a factory in which he created the most wonderful and scrumptious candy and confections. However, spies infiltrated his factory and stole the recipes for his creations, so he fired all his workers and brought in new workers who lived in the factory. Nobody ever went in the factory and nobody ever came out, that is until the day that Willy Wonka invited five lucky children and their parents to visit his factory. The rest is, shall we say, literary history.
“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” is a classic of Children’s literature. Dahl’s unmatchable imagination is on display in this children’s novel. A chocolate factory operated by a wacky food inventor and a bunch of little people, candies that never shrink, gum that turns you into a blueberry, ice cream that never melts, and glass elevators that move in every direction including up and out. And if we think that Dahl’s skewering of bad parents who spoil their kids with characters like Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt, etc., was apropos in the 1960’s when he wrote the story just think of how much more it fits today’s society. Dahl’s work is timeless and well worth the read if you are age 8 or age 98.