[Charlie and the Chocolate Factory]: A Review

Hi y’all!

I’m excited to share a review today of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. While I have read this book several times and seen the movie adaptations over the years, this is the first time I read this book aloud.

Such a fun read aloud with my kids! This was our first successful chapter book that we read start to finish together and it was such a joy to read it!

Initial Thoughts:

  • It was so fun to return to a favorite childhood author as an adult and as a mother. I loved seeing my kids excitement about what would happen next. And I couldn’t resist when they asked for one more chapter 🙂
  • There is just something magical about Roald Dahl’s stories paired with Quentin Blake’s illustrations. My kids loved seeing all the silly pictures of the characters doing crazy things.
  • We are still talking about this book! I love that some of the scenes and characters have stuck with my kids over the past few weeks. It’s so fun to hear them ask “mom, do you remember that girl that turned into a blueberry?” or “mom, do you remember when that boy fell in the chocolate river?” or “mom, do you remember when Charlie won the factory?” I am so happy to be raising little bookworms like their mom 🙂

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According to Goodreads, “Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Gold Ticket from Mr Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you!

One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket’s life forever. A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters: Augustus Gloop – a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt – a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee – a TV addict.

With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen. What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?

Why this is a great read aloud:
I think it best to start with why this book is a great read aloud for young kids. I wasn’t sure how this would go but Roald Dahl’s stories are timeless and perfect for younger listeners with shorter attention spans.

  • Short chapters easy to read in one sitting: this was an important plus for me. When you know it won’t take too much time to read a chapter, I find I’m more willing to read especially right before bedtime. We’ve enjoyed a few of the Mrs Piggle Wiggle chapters but they are SO long that I start to feel like they are too long. I suppose the takeaway there is to break longer chapters into multiple parts.
  • Great pictures – at least one per chapter: my kids loved seeing the pictures as we went along. I think that’s a big reason why this book is great for younger listeners. It keeps them engaged because they’re excited about seeing the pictures.
  • Silly characters that are fun to do different voices for: I love reading in different voices and this book is perfect for it! From Augustus Gloop who is always eating to Mike TeaVee who talks at all the wrong times to Mr Willy Wonka himself who is hilarious, this book is a fun one to voice aloud.
  • Unique setting with places/objects/experiences new to my kids: The magic of the chocolate factory really drew my kids in. They loved hearing about the chocolate river, how to make the meal gum, the chocolate TV, Oompa Loompas, the picky squirrels, and of course the great glass elevator. It was fun to explain what some new words meant and also fun to introduce them to magic –some things we can’t always explain. And magic is part of life.
  • Easy to follow story: Roald Dahl is a master storyteller. And this story is perfect for young listeners because it’s not complex and not too long. It is just a great story and it’s fun to go with Charlie on his adventure.

Basically every character has such big personalities. It’s fun to compare them to each other and talk about why they act certain ways and how we would act differently. Mr Wonka was constantly making me laugh because he is so ridiculous and says the silliest things. I love Charlie because he is so good and truly childlike. Grandpa Joe is a great adult character because he still believes in the magic of Wonka and also in the magic of childhood. I enjoyed hearing how my kids reacted to each character as well.

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is a fantastic setting. There is something so magical and inviting about our tour of his factory with Charlie. As a kid, I always loved the chocolate room with the chocolate waterfall. My kids loved the pink candy boat they ride on and the great glass elevator. As an adult, I loved the logic behind Wonka TV this time. If only it was really that easy! It’s fun to discover each chapter and each new room of the factory. This book could be twice as long and still offer more surprises about what is inside Wonka’s factory.

The story is delightful and simple but the movie is more complex. We watched the classic Gene Wilder movie afterwards and while it’s certainly true to the essence of the book, it also complicates things. The subplot about the Slugworth stealing Wonka’s ideas and bribing kids and Charlie/Grandpa drinking the fizzy lifting drinks were both added to the movie. My kids didn’t quite get that. I think the book is great for a younger audience because the story is so simple. Charlie is simply the last kid on the tour (and by far the kindest and best behaved) so he wins!

What a fantastic novel to read aloud to my kids! We enjoyed our adventure with Charlie in Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory. I would like to read book two to my kids. But I don’t remember the details of it very well (except that the grandparents all turn into babies at one point) so I may need to read that again before we do that.

Since finishing this novel, we have also read aloud Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White and loved it as well. I highly recommend both as read alouds for young audiences. Regardless of your kids ages, I can’t speak highly enough of reading aloud to them! Find books that your family loves and start reading together.

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What is your favorite Roald Dahl book?
What are some of your favorite read alouds with the kids in your life?

8 thoughts on “[Charlie and the Chocolate Factory]: A Review

  1. Pingback: [The Candymakers]: A Review – greenish bookshelf

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  3. This is one of my favorite children’s books, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed reading it with your kids! I just rewatched the movie, and while I love Gene Wilder’s portrayal and the children are fantastic (Charlie and Veruca especially) I’ve always hated the fizzy lifting drinks scene. It’s silly and out of character, and calls into question the entire ending. My DVD had some great interviews with the actors and directors, and I was happy to learn they worked closely with Dahl on the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so fun to revisit the film. I agree. That scene doesn’t work for me too. And having just read the book, you’re right–it’s totally out of character for both Grandpa Joe and Charlie. I did read that Dahl wrote the screenplay which is neat. Always glad to hear that authors are involved in movie adaptations of their own books!

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