Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
|Illustrator||Joseph Schindelman (first and revised US editions)
Faith Jaques (first UK edition)
Michael Foreman (1985 edition)
Quentin Blake (1995 edition)
Ethan Seth (2016 version for Roald Dahl's 100th Birthday)
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (original)
Puffin Books (1995-2006)
|17 January 1964 (US version)
23 November 1964 (UK version)
|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, 3 years later. The book has been 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 1971 and published 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.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Differences between the book and the movies
- 3 Unused chapters
- 4 Reception
- 5 Adaptations
- 6 Editions
- 7 References
- 8 External links
11-year-old 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 a mattress on the floor. One day, Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka and all the wonderful candy he made until the other candymakers sent in spies to steal his secret recipes, which lead to him closing the factory forever. The next day, the newspaper announces that Wonka is reopening the factory and has invited five children to come on a tour, after they find a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. Each ticket find is a media sensation and each finder becomes a celebrity. The first four golden tickets are found by the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the TV-obsessed Mike Teavee.
One day, Charlie sees a fifty-pence coin (dollar bill in the US version) buried in the snow. He then buys himself a Wonka Bar and finds the fifth golden ticket and shows it to his parents. The ticket says he can only bring one family member with him to the factory and Charlie decides to take Grandpa Joe.
After meeting Wonka, the kids and their parents go inside where they meet Oompa-Loompas, a race of small people who help Wonka operate the factory since he rescued them from poverty and fear in their home country of Loompaland. The other kids are ejected from the factory in comical, mysterious and painful fashions. Augustus gets sucked up the pipe after falling into the Chocolate River in the Chocolate Room, Violet blows up into a giant blueberry after sampling an experimental three-course chewing gum meal in the Inventing Room, Veruca is thrown down the garbage chute in the Nut Room after the nut-testing squirrels consider her a "bad nut," and Mike gets shrunk after he tries to be the first person to be sent by television via the Television Room's Television Chocolate Technology. With only Charlie remaining, Willy Wonka congratulates him for "winning" the factory and, after explaining his true age and the reason behind his golden tickets, names Charlie his successor. They ride the Great Glass Elevator to Charlie's house while the other four children go home after their demises (Augustus squeezed thin, Violet all blue in the face, Veruca covered in garbage, and Mike stretched ten feet tall). Afterwards, Wonka invites them to come live with him in the factory.
Differences between the book and the movies
- Charlie hands out newspapers to local shops.
- Mr. Bucket is deceased.
- Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine are Mrs Bucket's parents when in the book they are the parents of Mr Bucket and her parents are Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina.
- A tinker tells Charlie that nobody ever goes in that factory and nobody comes out, but Grandpa Joe tells him the rest of the story. There is no sign of Prince Pondicherry.
- There is no chain connecting the gates together.
- The film is a musical.
- There are no media circuses shown at Veruca and Charlie's Golden Ticket finds.
- Charlie, after he finds the Golden Ticket, bumps into Slugworth who wants to steal the secret formula for the Everlasting Gobstopper. It was later revealed to be a trick. Slugworth was actually Mr. Wilkinson, one of Wonka's workers. It was a test Wonka set up to judge the worthiness of the finders.
- The Oompa Loompas all sing smaller songs, each starting with "Oompa Loompa, Doompa De Do. I have another (on the Augustus Gloop one, they sing "a perfect" instead of "another") puzzle for you. Oompa Loompa, Doompa Da De. If you are wise, you will listen to me."
- The Oompa Loompas all have orange faces and green hair.
- A man in Paraguay faked the finding of the fifth golden ticket.
- In the book, the fake Golden Ticket was passed off as the second ticket before it was exposed. In both films it is passed off as the fifth ticket.
- The boat is not pink or see through and looks nothing at all like a seahorse. It is a normal sailor's boat.
- There are creepy images flashing up during the boat ride.
- Mr. Wonka gives each of the kids a Everlasting Gobstopper in the Inventing Room.
- The exploding candy room is not there. Instead, Mr Wonka makes his exploding candy in the Inventing Room.
- The date to come to the factory, is October 1st, in autumn, where in the book it is February 1st in winter.
- Charlie buys his candy from a candy shop, whereas in the book it is a newsagent.
- The candy store owner does not witness Charlie winning the ticket with the bar bought from his shop. In the book and 2005 film the newsagent owner does.
- Children are only allowed to bring one parent to the factory, where in the book, children are allowed to bring one or two.
- Veruca is considered a "bad egg" in the room where geese lay golden eggs, where in the book, she is considered a "bad nut" by the squirrels that work in the nut room. In both the two, she goes down the rubbish chute.
- Charlie and Grandpa Joe drink Fizzy Lifting Drinks. They have a narrow escape with the ceiling fan. They get on their feet again by burping.
- Mr. Wonka, Mike Teavee and his parents and Charlie and Grandpa Joe get to the Television Room by the Wonkamobile, a machine that makes riders feel clean. In the book it is the Great Glass Elevator.
- Mr. Wonka doesn't give Charlie the jackpot prize, saying that he and Grandpa Joe had stolen Fizzy Lifting Drinks, but changes his mood when Charlie returns the Everlasting Gobstopper to him.
- Charlie's birthday is before Veruca finds a golden ticket, but in the book it is after.
- The fates of the four children are not shown after their exits. In the book, Augustus, Mike and Violet are shown as horribly altered and the Salts covered in trash when they emerge from their exits in the factory.
- In the book, Wonka makes more than 200 different types of Wonka Bars, where in the movie he is shown making 4.
- The Golden Tickets are placed on the flat ends of the chocolate bars. In the 1971 the tickets are wrapped around the bars, which is also implied in the book.
- The Golden Tickets are shown being hidden in the Wonka Bars in the opening intro, by Mr Wonka himself.
- Grandpa Joe used to work for Mr. Wonka until he closed his chocolate factory.
- A princess is added to the Prince Pondicherry story.
- Mr. Wonka doesn't put his announcement of the Golden Tickets in the newspapers, he puts it on posters and hangs them in the street.
- Mr. Beauregarde and Mrs. Beauregarde presumably got divorced, and Violet went with her mother.
- Mike Teavee gives the press an explanation on how he found his Golden Ticket. How Mike found his ticket is not revealed in either the book or 1971 movie.
- In the book, a Russian named Charlotte Russe puts up a fake Second Golden Ticket. In the movie, an unnamed Russian puts up a fake Fifth Golden Ticket.
- In the book and the 1971 movie Charlie finds it with the second bar he buys, in the movie from 2005 he opens three bars; he finds the Golden Ticket in a bar bought with the money he found in the street.
- No media circus is shown for Charlie's Golden Ticket find. All the other ticket finders are shown having one.
- Children are only allowed to bring one parent to the factory, where in the book, they are allowed to bring one or two.
- Wonka does a dance for his opening sequence in the book, but in the movie he has a puppet show.
- All the bad children hear their respective Oompa Loompa songs reproaching them for their badness except Veruca. However, Veruca's father hears the song before he goes down the chute (in the book the song comes after) and it makes a clear impression on him; he emerges from the chute much firmer with Veruca.
- The Oompa Loompas make the boat ride on the chocolate like a roller coaster.
- The Nut Room and squirrels are used for Veruca's exit, as in the book.
- The four bad children are shown going home after the visit, as in the book. Mr Salt indicates that he is going to take a firmer line with Veruca in the future. Augustus wasn't squeezed thin by the pipe as he is in the book, but is covered in (and possibly now made of) chocolate himself. Violet was deflated back to her normal size, but her skin is now blue and she is very flexible. Mike was stretched out by the taffy puller and although he's taller than his father, he's not 10 feet tall.
- Mr. Wonka doesn't allow Charlie's family to come to the factory with him at first.
- Mr. Wonka has a troubled relationship with his father, since his father was a dentist.
- The house is put in the Chocolate Room, in Wonka's factory, which becomes Charlie's factory.
Various unused and draft material from Dahl's early versions of the novel have been found. In the initial, unpublished drafts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory nine golden tickets were distributed to tour Willy Wonka's secret chocolate factory and the children faced more rooms and more temptations to test their self-control. Some of the names of the children cut from the final work include:
- Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside, and Terence Roper (who overindulge in Warming Candies)
- Elvira Entwhistle (lost down a trash chute, renamed as Veruca Salt)
- Violet Glockenberry (renamed Strabismus and finally Beauregarde)
- Miranda Grope and Augustus Pottle (lost up a chocolate pipe, combined into the character Augustus Gloop)
- Miranda Mary Piker (renamed from Miranda Grope, became the subject of Spotty Powder)
- Marvin Prune (a conceited boy)
- Wilbur Rice and Tommy Troutbeck, the subjects of The Vanilla Fudge Room
- Herpes Trout (renamed Mike Teavee)
"Spotty Powder" was first published as a short story in 1973. In 2005, The Times reprinted "Spotty Powder" as a "lost" chapter, saying it had been found in Dahl's desk, written backwards in mirror writing (the way Leonardo da Vinci wrote his journal). This chapter describes Spotty Powder, which looks and tastes like sugar, but causes bright red pox-like spots to appear on faces and necks five seconds after ingestion, so children who eat Spotty Powder do not have to go to school. The spots fade on their own a few hours later. After learning the purpose of Spotty Powder, the humorless, smug Miranda Piker and her equally humorless father (a schoolmaster) are enraged and disappear into the Spotty Powder room to sabotage the machine. Soon after entering, they are heard making what Mrs Piker interpreted as screams. Mr Wonka assures her (after making a brief joke where he claims that headmasters are one of the occasional ingredients) it was only laughter. Exactly what happened to them is not revealed in the extract.
In an early draft, sometime after being renamed from Miranda Grope to Miranda Piker but before "Spotty Powder" was written, she falls down the chocolate waterfall and ends up in the Peanut-Brittle Mixer. This results in the "rude and disobedient little kid" becoming "quite delicious." This early draft poem was slightly rewritten as an Oompa-Loompa song in the lost chapter, which now puts her in the "Spotty-Powder mixer" and instead of being "crunchy and ... good [peanut brittle]" she is now "useful [for truancy] and ... good."
"The Vanilla Fudge Room"
In 2014, The Guardian revealed that Dahl had cut another chapter ("The Vanilla Fudge Room") from an early draft of the book. The Guardian reported the now-eliminated passage was "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago." In what was originally chapter five in that version of the book, Charlie goes to the factory with his mother (instead of his grandfather, as originally published). At this point, the chocolate factory tour is down to eight kids, including Tommy Troutbeck and Wilbur Rice. After the entire group climbs to the top of the titular fudge mountain, eating vanilla fudge along the way, Troutbeck and Rice decide to take a ride on the wagons carrying away chunks of fudge. The wagons take them directly to The Pounding And Cutting Room, where the fudge is reformed and sliced into small squares for retail sale. Wonka states the machine is equipped with "a large wire strainer ... which is used specially for catching children before they fall into the machine" adding that "It always catches them. At least it always has up to now."
The chapter dates back to an early draft with ten golden tickets, including two for Miranda Grope and Augustus Pottle, who fell into the chocolate river prior to the events of "Fudge Mountain". Augustus Pottle was routed to the Chocolate Fudge Room, not the Vanilla Fudge Room explored in this chapter, and Miranda Grope ended up in the Peanut Brittle Room.
"The Warming Candy Room"
The Warming Candy Room is dominated by a boiler, which heats a scarlet liquid. The liquid is dispensed one drop at a time, where it cools and forms a hard shell, storing the heat and "by a magic process ... the hot heat changes into an amazing thing called 'cold heat.'" After eating a single warming candy, one could stand naked in the snow comfortably. This is met with predictable disbelief from Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside, and Terence Roper, who proceed to eat at least one hundred warming candies each, resulting in profuse perspiration. The three boys and their families discontinue the tour after they are taken to cool off "in the large refrigerator for a few hours."
"The Children's-Delight Room"
Roald Dahl originally planned for a child called Marvin Prune to be included in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl submitted the excised chapter regarding Marvin Prune to The Horn Book Review in the early 1970s. Rather than publish the chapter, Horn Book responded with a critical essay by novelist Eleanor Cameron, who criticised Dahl's worth as a human being.
Although it was believed that Horn Book never returned the chapter, Marvin Prune's chapter is actually available, but it has not yet been published. "The Children's-Delight Room" was reworked into "Spotty Powder". It is present in two versions. One features the workers from "The Vanilla Fudge Room" but also include "tiny whispery voices" who sing the songs after each child's exit, and Charlie with his mother and father. The second version features Grandpa Joe, Charlie's grandfather, who is present in the final book, and the Oompa-Loompas. In the version with the voices, the voices actually sing two songs, a two verse type one found in "The Vanilla Fudge Room", plus a longer one like the type that is found in the final book. Like Miranda, Marvin loves school and suffers the same fate as her—supposedly getting ground into powder.
A fan of the book since childhood, film director Tim Burton wrote: "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)
- Read Aloud BILBY Award (Australia, 1992)
- Millennium Children's Book Award (UK, 2000)
- Blue Peter Book Award (UK, 2000)
- The Big Read, rank 35 in a survey of the British public by the BBC to identify the "Nation's Best-loved Novel" (UK, 2003)
- National Education Association, one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children" based on a poll (USA, 2007)
- School Library Journal, rank 61 among all-time children's novels (USA, 2012)
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.
Although the book has always been popular and considered a children's classic by many literary critics, a number of prominent individuals have spoken unfavorably 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 in later editions. 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 wrote in support of this assessment in a letter to The Horn Book Review, saying that her own daughter would turn "quite nasty" upon finishing the book. Roald Dahl responded to Cameron's criticisms by noting the classics she had cited would not be well received by contemporary children.
In addition to spawning several sequels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has frequently been adapted for other media, including games, radio, the screen, 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.
- The book was first made into a feature film as a musical, titled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), 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. 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's subsequently becoming a cult classic. Concurrently with the 1971 film, the Quaker Oats Company introduced a line of candies whose marketing uses the book's characters and imagery.
- The BBC produced an adaptation for Radio 4 in the early 1980s.
- In 1985, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game was released for the ZX Spectrum by developers Soft Options Ltd and publisher Hill MacGibbon.
- 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, Philip Wiegratz as Augustus Gloop, 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.
- A video game, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory based on Burton's adaptation, was released on July 11, 2005.
- 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.
- 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.
- A musical based on the novel, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 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, with new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and stars Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka. The production broke records for weekly ticket sales. Coincidentally, Hodge was also the voice of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory audiobook, as part of a package of Roald Dahl CDs read by celebrities.
- In October 2016, Variety reported that Warner Bros has acquired the rights to the Willy Wonka character from the Roald Dahl Estate and is planning a new movie centered around the eccentric character with David Heyman producing with the Dahl Estate manager Michael Siegel; Kevin McCormick is executive producing and Simon Rich is penning the script while Courtenay Valenti and Jon Gonda are overseeing the project for the studio.
- A direct-to-video animated crossover film called Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will be released in 2017.
The novel has often been subject to many parodies, often specifically to the 1971 film.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dee Dee win a Golden Diskette to win a trip to tour Professor Hawk's factory, similar to what happens in the book.
- Futurama spoofed Wonka's factory in "Fry and the Slurm Factory," in which it is the factory for a beverage named Slurm instead of chocolate and is run by creatures known as the Grunka-Lunkas.
- The 1971 film was spoofed in the Family Guy episode "Wasted Talent," which features Peter getting a trip to Pawtucket Pat's brewery for finding a silver scroll in his beer. The Pawtucket Patriot brewery also has Chumbawumbas similar to the Oompa-Loompas that sing their song when one of the winners, Joe, isn't allowed in the factory due to his disability. Pat sings a song named "Pure Inebriation" and the inside of his factory is very similar to Wonka's. Peter and Brian are kicked out after sampling Perma-Suds beer, similar to Charlie and Grandpa Joe sampling the Fizzy-Lifting Drinks in the film. Two of the winners also bear a striking resemblance to Charlie and Grandpa Joe.
- The 1971 film has been spoofed multiple times in Robot Chicken. One of the skits shows a different backstory of Wonka kidnapping and torturing the Ooompa-Loompas to do his bidding. Another skit shows the Oompa-Loompas planning out the songs for the kids in a board room. A brief segment shows an Oompa-Loompa putting his penis through a hole in the edible wallpaper room and Grandpa Joe mistakes it for a carrot. One clip shows Wonka selling an Oompa-Loompa to the Salts. One skit implies Wonka only gave Charlie the factory to take the blame for what happened to the other children and suffer the punishment given to him by the court.
- CollegeHumor had the five children from the 1971 film take a tour of the Apple Factory in "Charlie and the Apple Factory," which had Steve Jobs replacing Wonka and Bill Gates as Slugworth.
- How It Should Have Ended did a short that depicts an alternate version of 1971 film, in which everyone leaves because of the scary tunnel ride.
- Newspaper and web comic The Perry Bible Fellowship parodies the novel and films in a strip entitled "The Golden Ticket". The strip is drawn in the style of Quentin Blake ("with apologies") and depicts a boy finding a golden ticket in a packet of sausages. He and a group of other children and their parents subsequently encounter a Wonka-like figure, who takes them on a tour of his slaughterhouse.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has undergone numerous editions and been illustrated by numerous artists.
- 1964, OCLC 9318922 (hardcover, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., original, first US edition, illustrated by Joseph Schindelman)
- 1967, ISBN 9783125737600 (hardcover, George Allen & Unwin, original, first UK edition, illustrated by Faith Jaques)
- 1973, ISBN 0-394-81011-2 (hardcover, revised Oompa Loompa edition)
- 1976, ISBN 0-87129-220-3 (paperback)
- 1980, ISBN 0-553-15097-9 (paperback, illustrated by Joseph Schindelman)
- 1985, ISBN 0-14-031824-0 (paperback, illustrated by Michael Foreman)
- 1987, ISBN 1-85089-902-9 (hardcover)
- 1988, ISBN 0-606-04032-3 (prebound)
- 1992, ISBN 0-89966-904-2 (library binding, reprint)
- 1995 (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
- 1998, ISBN 0-14-130115-5 (paperback)
- 2001, ISBN 0-375-81526-0 (hardcover)
- 2001, ISBN 0-14-131130-4 (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
- 2002, ISBN 0-060-51065-X (audio CD read by Eric Idle)
- 2003, ISBN 0-375-91526-5 (library binding)
- 2004, ISBN 0-14-240108-0 (paperback)
- ISBN 0-8488-2241-2 (hardcover)
- 2011, ISBN 978-0-14-310633-3 (paperback), Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, cover by Ivan Brunetti
- 2014, (hardcover, Penguin UK/Modern Classics, 50th anniversary edition)
- 2014, (hardcover, Penguin UK/Puffin celebratory golden edition, illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake)
- 2014, (double-cover paperback)
50th anniversary cover controversy
The cover photo of the 50th anniversary edition, published by Penguin Modern Classics for sale in the UK and aimed at the adult market received widespread commentary and criticism. The cover is a 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." In addition to writing that "the image seemingly has little to do with the beloved children’s classic", 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."
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." 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."
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- Sturrock, Donald (2010). Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 495–499. ISBN 978-1-4165-5082-2. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- Cameron, Eleanor (October 1972). "McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I". The Horn Book Magazine. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
And this leads me once more to Eudora Welty before I go on to a certain children’s book I have in mind, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Knopf). [...] I was compelled to go back once again to her fine little monograph Place in Fiction. In this small book Miss Welty sets forth her belief not only in the power of place in any created work but in the ways in which place exerts control over character portrayal, of how exceedingly important is explicitness of detail and a steady lucidity and uncompromise of purpose. She speaks further of how place has deeply to do with three kinds of goodness in fiction: the goodness and validity of the raw material, the goodness of the writing, and the goodness of the writer himself, his worth as a human being. And this worth is always mercilessly revealed in his writing, because there we discover his roots or lack of them, the place where he stands, his point of view or lack of it.
[...]Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (together with Charlotte’s Web [Harper]) is probably the book most read aloud by those teachers who have no idea, apparently, what other books they might read to the children. Charlie, again along with Charlotte’s Web, is always at the top of the best sellers among children’s books, put there by fond aunts and grandmothers and parents buying it as the perfect gift, knowing no better. And I do think this a most curious coupling: on the one hand, one of the most tasteless books ever written for children; and on the other, one of the best. We are reminded of Ford Madox Ford’s observation that only two classes of books are universal in their appeal: the very best and the very worst.
[...] [Charlie] is like candy (the chief excitement and lure of Charlie) in 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. I think it will be admitted of the average TV show that goes on from week to week that there is no time, either from the point of view of production or the time allowed for showing, to work deeply at meaning or characterization. All interest depends upon the constant, unremitting excitement of the turns of plot. And if character or likelihood of action — that is, inevitability — must be wrenched to fit the necessities of plot, there is no time to be concerned about this either by the director or by the audience. Nor will the tuned-in, turned-on, keyed-up television watcher give the superficial quality of the show so much as a second thought. He has been temporarily amused; what is there to complain about? And like all those nursing at the electronic bosom in McLuhan’s global village (as he likes to call it), so everybody in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is enclosed in its intoxicating confines forever: all the workers, including the little Oompa-Loompas brought over from Africa and, by the end of the book, Charlie and his entire family.
- Paul A. Woods (2007) Tim Burton: A Child's Garden of Nightmares p.177. Plexus, 2007
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Eleanor Cameron’s remarks on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the Horn Book may draw some fire upon her; it’s always perilous to do anything to a bestseller but adulate it. My response to her October article is one of relief and hearty thanks. It is good to have an accurate diagnosis of one’s vague feelings of unease, and to find that somebody else — especially a gentle and perceptive critic — has been feeling a bit queasy too.
That Mr. Dahl’s books have a very powerful effect on children is evident. Kids between 8 and 11 seem to be truly fascinated by them; one of mine used to finish Charlie and then start it right over from the beginning (she was subject to these fits for about two months at age 11). She was like one possessed while reading it, and for a while after reading she was, for a usually amiable child, quite nasty. Apparently the books, with their wish-fulfillment, their slam-bang action, and their ethical crassness, provide a genuine escape experience, a tiny psychological fugue, very like that provided by comic books.
- Dahl, Roald (February 1973). ""Charlie and the Chocolate Factory": A Reply". The Horn Book Magazine. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
I would dearly like to see Mrs. Cameron trying to read Little Women, or Robinson Crusoe for that matter, to a class of today’s children. The lady is completely out of touch with reality. She would be howled out of the classroom. She also says, “I should like to travel up and down the country going to elementary schools and saying to all the teachers: Find out about the good children’s books.” I myself would like very much to hear what the teachers’ replies would be if the patronizing, all-knowing Mrs. Cameron ever tried to do this.
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