Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
Puffin Modern Classics edition
ISBN13: 9780375815263 Softcover, $6.99
I'm back! And I'm leading off with a mini-review of a book that has instantly become a favorite in our household This was the first chapter book of the summer in my unofficial reading program with my kids. We read 2 chapters a night for 15 days... and shared a chocolate bar while we did. Good times.
The Description (from IndieBound): What happens when the five luckiest children in the entire world walk through the doors of Willy Wonka’s famous, mysterious chocolate factory? What happens when, one by one, the children disobey Mr. Wonka’s orders? In Dahl’s most popular story, the nasty are punished and the good are deliciously, sumptuously rewarded.
The Review: I rarely review books that have reached "classic" status the way Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has, but I must discuss it a bit here simply because this is the best children's book that I have read with my young ones thus far. My kids are 5 and 7 and both of them loved every second of this story. They were thoroughly engaged from page one and couldn't wait to get back to it every night. The combination of bratty little villain kids in such a magnificent world as Willy Wonka's factory, along with the funny little Oompa Loompas and imaginative scenes made this a perfect kids' read. They couldn't wait to find out how the next bad kid was going to get what was coming to him (or her)... and they were equally excited to see how things were going to turn out for little Charlie Bucket in the end. Each crazy invention in Wonka's factory seemed to spark their imagination more than the one before. In other words... this story is pure magic for children. The thing that I appreciated was that the book was littered with funny quotes and moments that kept me, as an adult reader, as thoroughly entertained as the kids were. The Oompa Loompa songs in particular were a highlight for me. As anxious as my kids were to find out what was going to happen to the next kid, I was more anxious to see how the Oompa Loompas were going to immortalize the moment in song.
As an aside... When we had finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we had a movie night at our house and watched "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (the Gene Wilder movie). Afterward, I heard my kids having a surprisingly thoughtful discussion about how the movie differed from the book. Talk about music to a book-loving mother's ears! I am so happy that our summer reading started with this book. It couldn't have been a better choice.
The Bottom Line: Best. Children's Book. Ever. If you haven't read it already, get busy. If it's been a while... read it again.