Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
First American edition, 1964
|Illustrator||Joseph Schindelman (first US edition)
Faith Jaques (first UK edition)
Michael Foreman (1985 edition)
Quentin Blake (1995 edition)
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (original)
Penguin Books (current)
|Followed by||Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator|
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964 and in the United Kingdom by George Allen & Unwin in 1967. The book was adapted into two major motion pictures: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. The book's sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, was written by Roald Dahl in 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series but never finished it.
The story was originally inspired by Roald Dahl's experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays. Cadbury would often send test packages to the schoolchildren in exchange for their opinions on the new products. At that time (around the 1920s), Cadbury and Rowntree's were England's two largest chocolate makers and they each often tried to steal trade secrets by sending spies, posing as employees, into the other's factory. Because of this, both companies became highly protective of their chocolate-making processes. It was a combination of this secrecy and the elaborate, often gigantic, machines in the factory that inspired Dahl to write the story.
The story revolves around a poor young boy named Charlie Bucket born to a penniless, starving family. He resides with both his paternal and maternal grandparents who are bedridden. Along with Charlie's mother and father, they dwell in a dilapidated, tiny house. Charlie is fascinated by the universally-celebrated chocolate factory located in his hometown owned by famous chocolatier Willy Wonka. His Grandpa Joe often narrates stories to him about the chocolate factory and about its mysterious proprietor, and the mysteries relating to the factory itself; how it had gone defunct for years until it mysteriously re-opened after Wonka's secret sweet recipes had been discovered (albeit no employees are ever seen leaving the factory).
Soon after, an article in the newspaper reveals that Willy Wonka has hidden a Golden Ticket in five chocolate bars being distributed to anonymous locations worldwide, and that the discovery of a Golden Ticket would grant the owner with passage into Willy Wonka's factory and a lifetime supply of confectionery. Charlie longs for chocolate to satisfy his hunger and to find a Golden Ticket himself, but his chances are slim (his father has recently lost his job, leaving the family all but destitute) and word on the discovery of the tickets keeps appearing in various news articles read by the Bucket family, each one going to self-centred, bratty children: an obese, gluttonous boy named Augustus Gloop, a spoiled brat named Veruca Salt, a record-breaking gum chewer named Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teavee, an aspiring gangster who is unhealthily obsessed with television. Eventually, Charlie finds a ticket of his own.
The children, once at the factory, are taken to the Chocolate Room, where they are introduced to Oompa Loompas, from Loompaland, who have been helping Wonka operate the factory. While there, Augustus falls into the chocolate and is sucked up by a pipe and eliminated from the tour. They are soon taken to the Inventing Room, where Violet chews a piece of experimental gum, and blows up into a blueberry; she is the second child rejected from the tour. After an exhausting jog down a series of corridors, Wonka allows them to rest outside of the Nut Room, but refuses them entry. Veruca, seeing squirrels inside, demands one from Wonka, but when she is refused, she invades the Nut Room, where the squirrels attack her, judge her a bad nut and throw her down the garbage chute. Likewise with her parents, who go in to rescue her. They go on the Great Glass Elevator to the Television Room, where Mike accidentally shrinks himself to a few inches tall using a teleporter Wonka invented, and is the last to be eliminated from the tour.
Charlie, being the last child left, wins the prize - the factory itself. Wonka had distributed the Golden Tickets to find an heir, and Charlie was the only one who passed the test. Together they go to Charlie's house in the glass elevator and take the whole family back to the chocolate factory to live out the rest of their lives.
A fan of the book since childhood, film director Tim Burton states, "I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults." In a 2006 list for the Royal Society of Literature, author J. K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books) named Charlie and the Chocolate Factory among her top ten books every child should read.
A 2004 study found that it was a common read-aloud book for fourth-graders in schools in San Diego County, California. A 2012 survey by the University of Worcester determined that it was one of the most common books that UK adults had read as children, after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; and The Wind in The Willows.
Accolades for the book include
- New England Round Table of Children's Librarians Award (USA, 1972)
- Surrey School Award (UK, 1973)
- Millennium Children's Book Award (UK, 2000)
- Blue Peter Book Award (UK, 2000)
- The Big Read poll conducted by the BBC listed the book at number 35 of the "nation's best-loved novels" (UK, 2003)
- National Education Association "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children" based on a poll (USA, 2007)
- School Library Journal "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time based on a poll (USA, 2012)
Although the book has always been popular and considered a children's classic by many literary critics, a number of prominent individuals have spoken critically of the novel over the years. Children's novelist and literary historian, John Rowe Townsend, has described the book as "fantasy of an almost literally nauseating kind" and accused it of "astonishing insensitivity" regarding the original portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas as black pygmies, although Dahl did revise this later. Another novelist, Eleanor Cameron, compared the book to the sweets that form its subject matter, commenting that it is "delectable and soothing while we are undergoing the brief sensory pleasure it affords but leaves us poorly nourished with our taste dulled for better fare". Ursula K. Le Guin voiced her support for this assessment in a letter to Cameron. Defenders of the book have pointed out it was unusual for its time in being quite dark for a children's book, with the "antagonists" not being adults or monsters (as is the case for most of Dahl's books) but the naughty children, who receive sadistic punishment in the end.
The book was first made into a feature film as a musical titled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart, produced by David L. Wolper and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, character actor Jack Albertson as Grandpa Joe, and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket. Released on 30 June 1971, the film had an estimated budget of $2.9 million but grossed only $4 million and was considered a box-office disappointment. Exponential home video and DVD sales, as well as repeated television airings, resulted in the film subsequently becoming a cult classic. Concurrently with the 1971 film, a line of candies was introduced by the Quaker Oats Company that uses the book's characters and imagery for its marketing.
Another film version, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and directed by Tim Burton, was released on 15 July 2005. It starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, Deep Roy as the Oompa-Loompas, and Geoffrey Holder as the Narrator. The film was a hit, grossing about $470 million worldwide with an estimated budget of $150 million. The 1971 and 2005 films are consistent with the written work to varying degrees. The Burton film greatly expanded Willy Wonka's personal back-story borrowing many themes and elements from the sequel. Both films heavily expanded the personalities of the four bad children and their parents from the limited descriptions in the book. A video game based on Burton's adaptation was released on 11 July 2005.
The BBC produced an adaptation for Radio 4 in the early 1980s and the book has frequently been adapted for the stage, most often as plays or musicals for children. These are often titled Willy Wonka or Willy Wonka Jr. They almost always feature musical numbers by all the main characters (Wonka, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Violet, Veruca, etc.). Many of the songs are revised versions from the 1971 film. A musical based on the novel called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical premiered at the West End's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 2013 and officially opened on 25 June. The show is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka.
The Estate of Roald Dahl sanctioned an operatic adaptation called The Golden Ticket. It was written by American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock. The Golden Ticket has completely original music and was commissioned by American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson (producing artistic director), and Felicity Dahl. The opera received its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on 13 June 2010, in a co-production with American Lyric Theater and Wexford Festival Opera.
On 1 April 2006, the British theme park, Alton Towers, opened a family attraction themed around the story. The ride features a boat section, where guests travel around the chocolate factory in bright pink boats on a chocolate river. In the final stage of the ride, guests enter one of two glass elevators, where they join Willy Wonka as they travel around the factory, eventually shooting up and out through the glass roof.
- ISBN 0-394-81011-2 (hardcover, 1973, revised Oompa Loompa edition)
- ISBN 0-87129-220-3 (paperback, 1976)
- ISBN 0-553-15097-9 (paperback, 1980, illustrated by Joseph Schindelman)
- ISBN 0-14-031824-0 (paperback, 1985, illustrated by Michael Foreman)
- ISBN 1-85089-902-9 (hardcover, 1987)
- ISBN 0-606-04032-3 (prebound, 1988)
- ISBN 0-89966-904-2 (library binding, 1992, reprint)
- ISBN 0-14-130115-5 (paperback, 1998)
- ISBN 0-375-81526-0 (hardcover, 2001)
- ISBN 0-060-51065-X (audio CD read by Eric Idle, 2002)
- ISBN 0-375-91526-5 (library binding, 2003)
- ISBN 0-14-240108-0 (paperback, 2004)
- ISBN 0-8488-2241-2 (hardcover)
- ISBN 0-14-131130-4 (2001, illustrated by Quentin Blake)
- Martin Chilton (18 November 2010) The 25 best children's books The Daily Telegraph
- Bathroom Readers' Institute. "You're My Inspiration." Uncle John's Fast-Acting Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader. Ashland: Bathroom Reader's Press, 2005. 13.
- Paul A. Woods (2007) Tim Burton: A Child's Garden of Nightmares p.177. Plexus, 2007
- Tim Burton, Mark Salisbury, Johnny Depp "Burton on Burton". p.223. Macmillan, 2006
- "From Beatrix Potter to Ulysses ... what the top writers say every child should read". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2012
- Fisher, Douglas, et al. (2004). "Interactive Read-Alouds: Is There a Common Set of Implementation Practices?". The Reading Teacher 58 (1): 8–17. doi:10.1598/rt.58.1.1. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Top ten books parents think children should read". The Telegraph. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "BBC - The Big Read". BBC. April 2003, Retrieved 20 April 2013
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- Bird, Elizabeth (7 July 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse No. 8 Production" blog. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- John Rowe Townsend. Written for Children!. Kestrel Books. 1974.
- Cameron, Eleanor (1972). "McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I". The Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
- Le Guin, Ursula K. (April 1973). "Letters to the Editor (on McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I)". The Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
- Kara K. Keeling; Scott T. Pollard (15 December 2008). Critical Approaches to Food in Children's Literature. Taylor & Francis. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-0-203-88891-9. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- "Willy Wonka company information". Careers In Food. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Official: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to Play Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; Begins May 18". Broadway World. Retrieved 5 September 2012
- The Golden Ticket American Lyric Theater
- Alton Towers Theme Park, Staffordshire The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2011