Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

84%

16 Critic Reviews

The book is highly recommended for those who: a)love chocolate like a first-born b)are prone to flights-of-fancy c)will root for the underground, cheering him on as he faces tribulations and emerges victorious in the end.
-Book Review Circle

Synopsis

Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
 

About Roald Dahl

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CHILDHOOD Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and he was the only son of a second marriage. His father, Harald, and elder sister Astri died when Roald was just three. His mother, Sofie, was left to raise two stepchildren and her own four children (Alfhild, Roald, Else and Asta). Roald was her only son. He remembered his mother as "a rock, a real rock, always on your side whatever you'd done. It gave me the most tremendous feeling of security". Roald based the character of the grandmother in The Witches on his mother - it was his tribute to her. The young Roald loved stories and books. His mother told Roald and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures. "She was a great teller of tales," Roald said, "Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten." As an older child, Roald enjoyed adventure stories - "Captain Marryat was one of my favourites" - before going on to read Dickens and Thackeray as well as short-story writer Ambrose Bierce. His father Harald was, as Roald recalled in Boy, a tremendous diary-writer. "I still have one of his many notebooks from the Great War of 1914-18. Every single day during those five war years he would write several pages of comment and observation about the events of the time." Roald himself kept a secret diary from the age of eight. "To make sure that none of my sisters got hold of it and read it, I used to put it in a waterproof tin box tied to a branch at the very top of an enormous conker tree in our garden. I knew they couldn't climb up there. Then every day I would go up myself and get it out and sit in the tree and make the entries for the day." Roald's parents seem to have instilled in him a number of character traits. In Boy, he talks of his father's interest in "lovely paintings and fine furniture" as well as gardening. In spite of only having one arm, he was also a fine woodcarver. Paintings, furniture and gardening would all be passions of the adult Roald Dahl. Similarly, remembering his mother, in Roald Dahl's Cookbook, he recalls "she had a crystal-clear intellect and a deep interest in almost everything under the sun, from horticulture to cooking to wine to literature to paintings to furniture to birds and dogs and other animals." Roald might very well have been describing his adult self. SCHOOL Roald had an unhappy time at school. From the age of seven to nine, he attended Llandaff Cathedral School. His chief memories of this time, as described in Boy, are of trips to the sweet shop. The seeds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were already being sown as young Roald and his four friends lingered outside the shop window, gazing in at the big glass jars of sweets and pondering such questions as how Gobstoppers change colour and whether rats might be turned into liquorice. Sherbert suckers were one of Roald's favourites - "Each Sucker consisted of a yellow cardboard tube filled with sherbert powder, and there was a hollow liquorice straw sticking out of it... You sucked the sherbert up through the straw and when it was finished you ate the liqourice... The sherbet fizzed in your mouth, and if you knew how to do it, you could make white froth come out of your nostrils and pretend you were throwing a fit." Boarding at St. Peter's prep school in Weston-Super-Mare, from 1925-9, proved less of a sweet experience for Roald. He was just nine years old when he arrived at St. Peters and had to contend with the twitching Latin Master Captain Hardcastle, the all-powerful Matron - a dead ringer for Miss Trunchball, who "disliked small boys very much indeed" and the cane-wielding Headmaster. Not surprisingly, Roald suffered from acute homesickness. At St. Peter's, Roald got into the habit of writing to his mother once a week. He continued to do so until her death 32 years later. Later, when his own children went to boarding school, Roald wrote to them twice a week to brighten up the drudgery of their school days. Roald was thirteen when he started at Repton, a famous public school in Derbyshire. He excelled at sports, particularly heavyweight boxing and squash, but was deemed by his English master to be "quite incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper". Whatever else he was forced to endure, there was one huge advantage to going to Repton. The school was close to Cadbury's, one of England's most famous chocolate factories and one which regularly involved the schoolboys in testing new varieties of chocolate bars. Dahl's unhappy time at school was to greatly influence his writing. He once said that what distinguished him from most other children's writers was "this business of remembering what it was like to be young." Roald's childhood and schooldays are the subject of his autobiography Boy. WAR & ADVENTURE At 18, rather than going to university, Roald joined the Public Schools Exploring Society's expedition to Newfoundland. He then started work for Shell as a salesman in Dar es Salaam. He was 23 when war broke out and signed up with the Royal Air Force in Nairobi. At first, the station doctor balked at his height (6ft 6in or 2 metres) but he was accepted as a pilot officer and was trained on the birdplane Gladiator fighters, mainly in Iraq. He then flew to join his squadron in the Western Desert of Libya but crashed en-route. Dahl's exploits in the war are detailed in his autobiography Going Solo. They include having a luger pointed at his head by the leader of a German convoy, crashlanding in no-man's land (and sustaining injuries that entailed having his nose pulled out and shaped!) and even surviving a direct hit during the Battle of Athens, when he was sufficiently recovered to fly again - this time in Hurricanes. Eventually, he was sent home as an invalid but transferred, in 1942, to Washington as an air attaché. It was there that he would meet an important writer who would set him on the path to a new career. THE FIRST CHAPTER: ROALD BEGINS TO WRITE In 1942, during his time in Washington, C S Forester, author of Captain Hornblower, took Roald to lunch. Forester was in America to publicise the British war effort and hoped Roald would describe his version of the war, which Forester would write up for the Saturday Evening Post. Roald chose to write down his experiences. Ten days after receiving the account, Forester wrote back "Did you know you were a writer? I haven't changed a word." He enclosed a cheque for $900 from the Post. The piece appeared anonymously in August 1942 under the title "Shot Down Over Libya". Roald's career as a writer was underway. Roald Dahl's first book for children was not, as many suppose, James and the Giant Peach but The Gremlins, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The story of The Gremlins focused on the mischievous spirits that, according to RAF legend, cause aircraft-engine failures. In the end, the project to make a movie version was abandoned but the book was published. Roald was never very keen on The Gremlins and didn't really think of it as a children's book. Nevertheless, it caught Eleanor Roosevelt's eye and Roald became a not infrequent guest at th
 
Published August 16, 2007 by Puffin Books. 180 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
All: 16 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 1

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Kelly Atwood on Jan 24 2013

...Charlie is able to get one candy bar and in it is the final Golden Ticket. He joins the other children on the tour of the factory where many strange and wonderful things await them.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Jennifer Palombi on Jul 12 2010

Best. Children's Book. Ever. If you haven't read it already, get busy. If it's been a while... read it again.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Alice Cary on Nov 01 2004

With its roomy layout, easy-on-the-eyes print, and illustrations galore, this edition is perfect for both read-alouds and read-alones. Just grab some candy and turn the pages.

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Tor

Good
Reviewed by Mari Ness on Jan 03 2013

Filled with Dahl’s fury at multiple aspects of contemporary life...the book is both funny and vicious, a deeply imaginative work combining elements of fantasy...and science fiction...

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Nights and Weekends

Good
Reviewed by Deborah Leiter on Dec 09 2015

If you want to truly let your imagination run wild in a way the movie won’t quite let you, listen to the book instead.

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DNA

Good
Reviewed by Shruti Shenoy on Feb 09 2014

It’s been 50 years but this book still has the ability of transporting its young reader into the magical world of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka.

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Bookalicious

Good
Reviewed by Pam on Jan 04 2013

I liked reading this book because Augustus was a funny character and because Mike was small and he became tall. I also liked the ending because it was very happy.

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BookTrust

Excellent
on Jan 14 2015

Roald Dahl's wicked sense of humour is perfectly in evidence in this marvellously imaginative classic story, which has been loved by generations of children.

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Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Good
Reviewed by The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children on Dec 09 2015

...as children delight in this quirky tale, they are also absorbing lessons on a variety of economic concepts, such as poverty.

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Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Good
Reviewed by The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children on Jan 03 2015

Children may think they know the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but chances are they do not realize that they are getting a good dose of economics from start to finish. This book makes a nice addition to most collections, including those used to teach lessons about poverty, competition, consumers, and producers.

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Book Review Circle

Above average
Reviewed by Namratha Kumar on Jan 28 2014

The book is highly recommended for those who: a)love chocolate like a first-born b)are prone to flights-of-fancy c)will root for the underground, cheering him on as he faces tribulations and emerges victorious in the end.

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Laura's Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Laura on Oct 07 2013

The kids were fully engaged with the story and loved the vivid imagery. It was quite the story and so very unique. I enjoyed it as well.

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The Novel Life

Good
Reviewed by Stacy on Jul 23 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of those timeless classics that teaches life lessons through the unique set characters, especially our protagonist Charlie.

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Shelf Awareness

Excellent
on Sep 02 2014

Roald Dahl has converted even the most reluctant readers to his body of work because his books convey a ceaseless belief in children, in their power to absorb life’s experiences and, as long as they remain open-minded, to grow from those experiences.

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Dot Scribbles

Excellent
Reviewed by Dot on Nov 09 2010

What struck me, reading this book as an adult is Roald Dahl's extraordinary use of language. He created some brilliant words which conjure up all kinds of things in the reader's imagination; I really do think he was a genius of children's literature.

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http://owltellyouaboutit.com

Below average
Reviewed by Laura on Apr 09 2014

So, I know this is a classic children’s story, and that means something to a lot of people. I just think there are other great children’s books out there that don’t contain some of the problems in this book.

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Reader Rating for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
90%

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