Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (disambiguation).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (book cover).jpg
First American edition, 1964
Author Roald Dahl
Illustrator Joseph Schindelman (first US edition)
Faith Jaques (first UK edition)
Michael Foreman (1985 edition)
Quentin Blake (1995 edition)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's fantasy novel
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (original)
Puffin Books (current)
Publication date
  • 1964 (US)
  • 1967 (UK)
OCLC 9318922
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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]


Mr. Willy Wonka, the owner of the Wonka chocolate factory, has decided to open the doors of his factory to five children and their parents. In order to choose who will enter the factory, Mr. Wonka hides five golden tickets in the wrappers of his Wonka chocolate bars. The search for the five golden tickets is fast and furious. Four kids have already found the golden tickets - Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teavee. These kids have flaws of gluttony (Augustus), gum-addiction (Violet), greed (Veruca), and TV obsession (Mike)

A boy named Charlie Bucket lives in poverty in a tiny house with his parents and four grandparents. His grandparents share the only bed in the house, located in the only bedroom. Charlie and his parents sleep on mattresses on the floor. Once a year, on his birthday, Charlie gets one bar of Wonka chocolate, which he keeps over many months. One day, Charlie saw a dollar bill buried in the snow. He decides to use a little of the money to buy himself some chocolate before turning the rest over to his mother. After unwrapping the first bar of chocolate, Charlie decides to buy one more and finds the fifth golden ticket. The next day is the date that Mr. Wonka has set for his guests to enter the factory.

In the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the factory, and also encounter the Oompa Loompas who have been helping Wonka operate the factory. The other kids are ejected from the factory in mysterious and painful fashions. Augustus Gloop falls into the hot chocolate river, while he wants to drink it and he sucked up by one of the pipes. Violet Beauregarde impetuously grabs an experimental piece of gum and chews herself into a giant blueberry. Veruca Salt is determined to be a "bad nut" by nut-judging squirrels who throw her out with the trash. Lastly, the television lover, Mike Teavee shrinks himself into tiny size, and his father has to carry him out in his breast pocket.

With only Charlie remaining, Willy Wonka congratulates him for "winning" the factory and becomes Wonka's successor. They ride the great glass elevator to Charlie's house, and bring the rest of Charlie's family to the factory.

Missing chapters[edit]

As "lost chapters" found reveal, in unpublished drafts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory more than five children got the golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka's secret chocolate factory and the children faced more rooms and more temptations to test their self-control.[4][5]

"Spotty Powder"[edit]

In 2005, The Times revealed a "lost" chapter, titled "Spotty Powder", had been found in Dahl's desk, written backwards in mirror-script (the way Da Vinci wrote his journal).[6] This chapter includes a humourless, smug girl (Miranda Piker) and her equally humourless father (a schoolmaster) who disappear into the Spotty Powder room - where a candy is made that makes red, pox-like spots appear on the children's faces and necks, so they won't have to go to school. This enrages the Pikers, who set out to sabotage the machine, but they are heard making what Mrs Piker interpreted as screams but Mr Wonka assures her (after a brief joke where he claims that headmasters are one of the occasional ingredients) was only laughter. Exactly what happened to them is not revealed in the extract.[4]

"Fudge Mountain"[edit]

In 2014, The Guardian revealed that Dahl had cut another chapter from an early draft of the book, titled "Fudge Mountain". The Guardian reports the now-eliminated passage was "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago."[7][8] In what was originally chapter five in that version of the book, Charlie goes to the factory with his mother – not his grandfather, and the chocolate factory tour, at this point down to eight kids,[9][10] includes Tommy Troutback and Wilbur Rice, who wind up in the Vanilla Fudge Mountain cutting room, due to their own greed. Additionally, reports NPR's Krishnadev Calamur: "The chapter reveals the original larger cast of characters, and their fates, as well as the original names of some of those who survived into later drafts. Dahl originally intended to send Charlie into the chocolate factory with eight other children, but the number was slimmed down to four. The narrator reveals that a girl called Miranda Grope has already vanished into the chocolate river with Augustus Pottle: she is gone forever, but the greedy boy was reincarnated as Augustus Gloop."[11]


Favourable views[edit]

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."[12][13] 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.[14]

A 2004 study found that it was a common read-aloud book for fourth-graders in schools in San Diego County, California.[15] 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.[16]

Accolades for the book include

In the 2012 survey published by SLJ, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience, Charlie was the second of four books by Dahl among the so-called Top 100 Chapter Books, one more than any other writer.[20]

Unfavourable views and revisions[edit]

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. Dominic Cheetham observes that numerous publishers turned down Dahl's book and even Knopf - the original, American publisher - agreed both that the book was in bad taste and books should not be aimed at both children and adults, as was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.[21] 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,[22] although Dahl did revise this later.[21] Cheetham notes that no outcry was raised about the anti-Indian sentiment shown in the "humorous, but belittling" naming of the Indian Prince Pondicherry and the portrayal of the "incredible stupidity in a stereotyped racial icon".[23]

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".[24] Ursula K. Le Guin voiced her support for this assessment in a letter to Cameron.[25] 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. However, despite such criticisms and complaints about the "high-handed way in which Mr Willy Wonka treats other people in the book",[26] Mr. Wonka remains authoritarian, the supposedly tasteless features remain, the violence to the various children remains, and the supposedly dual nature of the intended readership also remains firmly unchanged."[27]

Cheetham has catalogued additional criticisms about the book, including: "General Attitudes to Foreigners", citing the treatment of characters who may be perceived as American (Cheetham, p. 10), in addition to the African and Indian characters noted above; "Employer-Employee Relations" (Cheetham, pp. 10–11); "Human Guinea Pigs" (Cheetham, p. 11); "General Attitudes Towards Class" (Cheetham, pp. 11–12); "The Myth of Noble Poverty" (Cheetham, p. 12); "Attitudes to Children" (Cheetham, p. 12); "Attitudes to Parenthood" (Cheetham, pp. 12–13); and "Alcohol Abuse" (Cheetham, p. 13).[28]

The cover art for Penguin UK's Modern Classics 50th Anniversary Edition of the book (publication date September 2014) has also received substantial criticism for his taste level and age-appropriateness. (See Editions.)


In addition to spawning several sequels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has frequently been adapted for other media, including games, radio, the screen,[29] and stage, most often as plays or musicals for children - often titled Willy Wonka or Willy Wonka, Jr. and almost always featuring 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.[citation needed]

  • Another film version, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, Deep Roy as the Oompa-Loompas, and Geoffrey Holder as the Narrator, 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 book's sequel. Both films heavily expanded the personalities of the four bad children and their parents from the limited descriptions in the book.[citation needed]
  • 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.[32]


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has undergone numerous editions and been illustrated by numerous artists.[36]


50th anniversary cover[edit]

The cover photo of the 50th anniversary edition, published by Penguin Modern Classics for sale in the UK, and aimed at the adult market,[38] has received widespread commentary. Some "absolutely love" the "beautiful" photo of a heavily-made up young girl seated on her mother's knee and wearing a doll-like expression, taken by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello as part of a photo shoot for a 2008 fashion article in a French magazine, for a fashion article titled "Mommie Dearest".[37] But many are critical, even "outraged".[39] In addition to noting that "the image seemingly has little to do with the beloved children’s classic",[40] reviewers and commenters in social media (such as posters on the publisher's Facebook page) have said the art evokes Lolita, Valley of the Dolls, and JonBenet Ramsey; looks like a scene from Toddlers & Tiaras; and is "misleading", "creepy", "sexualized", "grotesque", "misjudged on every level", "distasteful and disrespectful to a gifted author and his work’, "pretentious", "trashy", "outright inappropriate", "terrifying", "really obnoxious", and "weird & kind of paedophilic".[37][41][42][43]

The publisher explained its objective in a blog post accompanying the announcement about the jacket art: "This new image . . . looks at the children at the center of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life".[44] Additionally, Penguin Press's Helen Conford told the Bookseller: "We wanted something that spoke about the other qualities in the book," Penguin Press's Helen Conford told the Bookseller. "It's a children's story that also steps outside children's and people aren't used to seeing Dahl in that way." She continued: "[There is] a lot of ill feeling about it, I think because it's such a treasured book and a book which isn't really a 'crossover book'" As she acknowledged: "People want it to remain as a children's book."

The New Yorker describes what it calls this "strangely but tellingly misbegotten" cover design thusly:"The image is a photograph, taken from a French fashion shoot, of a glassy-eyed, heavily made-up little girl. Behind her sits a mother figure, stiff and coiffed, casting an ominous shadow. The girl, with her long, perfectly waved platinum-blond hair and her pink feather boa, looks like a pretty and inert doll—" The article continues: "And if the Stepford daughter on the cover is meant to remind us of Veruca Salt or Violet Beauregarde, she doesn’t: those badly behaved squirts are bubbling over with rude life." Moreover, writes Talbot, "The Modern Classics cover has not a whiff of this validation of childish imagination; instead, it seems to imply a deviant adult audience."[38]


  1. ^ Martin Chilton (18 November 2010) The 25 best children's books The Daily Telegraph
  2. ^ "Repton School 'helped inspire Dahl' to write Charlie". BBC. 12 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Bathroom Readers' Institute. "You're My Inspiration." Uncle John's Fast-Acting Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader. Ashland: Bathroom Reader's Press, 2005. 13.
  4. ^ a b June, E. Alex (30 August 2014). "Lost Chapter of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Released". 
  5. ^ Jones, Miracle Jones (2 February 2009). "'Spotty Powder,' the Lost Chapter from Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (And reprint of the full, original text of "Spotty Powder")". The Fiction Circus. 
  6. ^ "The secret ordeal of Miranda Piker". The Times. 23 July 2005. 
  7. ^ "Willy Wonka chapter missing 50 years reveals grisly end: Greedy boys disappear in fudge-cutting room". Daily Mail. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Maev (29 August 2014). "Lost chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory published (Chapter with more characters and Quentin Blake illustration deemed 'too wild' for British children appears for first time)". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ Dahl, Roald (29 August 2014). "A previously unpublished chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (The Vanilla Fudge Room is from an early draft of Roald Dahl's most famous novel. With new illustrations by Quentin Blake)". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ June, E. Alex (August 30, 2014). "Lost Chapter of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Released". 
  11. ^ Calamur, Krishnadev (September 1, 2014). "NPR: 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' gets new chapter for 50th anniversary". 89.3 KPCC. 
  12. ^ Paul A. Woods (2007) Tim Burton: A Child's Garden of Nightmares p.177. Plexus, 2007
  13. ^ Tim Burton, Mark Salisbury, Johnny Depp "Burton on Burton". p.223. Macmillan, 2006
  14. ^ Charlotte Higgins. "From Beatrix Potter to Ulysses ... what the top writers say every child should read". the Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Fisher, Douglas et al. (2004). "Interactive Read-Alouds: Is There a Common Set of Implementation Practices?" (PDF). The Reading Teacher 58 (1): 8–17. doi:10.1598/rt.58.1.1. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "Top ten books parents think children should read". The Telegraph. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Previous Winners of the BILBY Awards: 1990 – 96" (PDF). The Children's Book Council of Australia Queensland Branch. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "BBC - The Big Read". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  19. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Bird, Elizabeth (7 July 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Cheetham, Dominic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Versions and Changes. Tokyo: Sophia University. pp. 2–3. 
  22. ^ John Rowe Townsend. Written for Children!. Kestrel Books. 1974.
  23. ^ Cheetham, Dominic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Versions and Changes. Tokyo: Sophia University. p. 8. 
  24. ^ Cameron, Eleanor (1972). "McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I". The Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2008. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ Cheetham, Dominic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Versions and Changes. Tokyo: Sophia University. p. 3. 
  27. ^ Cheetham, Dominic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Versions and Changes. Tokyo: Sophia University. p. 7. 
  28. ^ Cheetham, Dominic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Versions and Changes. Tokyo: Sophia University. 
  29. ^ Symon, Evan V. (January 14, 2013). "10 Deleted Chapters that Transformed Famous Books". 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ "Willy Wonka company information". Careers In Food. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  32. ^ "Alton Towers Theme Park, Staffordshire". The Guardian. July 8, 2006. 
  33. ^ "The Golden Ticket". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  34. ^ a b "Official: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to Play Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; Begins May 18". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  35. ^ "West End Winners". Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  36. ^ Galindo, Brian (March 8, 2013). "The Evolution Of "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" Book Covers". BuzzFeed. 
  37. ^ a b c d e "Publisher defends 'creepy' Roald Dahl book cover". BBC News. 8 August 2014. 
  38. ^ a b Talbot, Margaret (August 29, 2014). "Cultural Comment: Meant For Kids". The New Yorker. 
  39. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (August 15, 2014). "What divisive ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ cover says about books and readers". Washington Post. 
  40. ^ Kim, Eun Kyung (August 7, 2014). "Creepy New Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Book Cover Confuses Readers". Today. 
  41. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (August 15, 2014). "What divisive ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ cover says about books and readers". Washington Post. 
  42. ^ Kim, Eun Kyung (August 7, 2014). "Creepy New Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Book Cover Confuses Readers". Today. 
  43. ^ "Anger over 'sexualised' cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  44. ^ "Exclusive: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". August 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]