Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) is a children's book by British author Roald Dahl. This story of the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric candymaker Willy Wonka is often considered one of the most beloved children's stories of the 20th century.
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 and 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.
The story follows a young boy from a poor family, Charlie Bucket, whose life is turned around when he wins one of the five coveted places on a tour of a world-famous, clandestine factory, that produces chocolate and other assortments of candy, owned by the eccentric Willy Wonka.
His grandparents, particularly Grandpa Joe, are fantastic storytellers and tell Charlie about the chocolate factory's history: how it was closed and how all its workers were fired when Willy Wonka believed they were spying on behalf of rival candy-makers. Though Willy Wonka told his workers that he would close the factory forever, he mysteriously reopened it some time later. No one knows who works for him now.
Although the book has always been popular, over the years a number of prominent individuals have spoken critically of the novel. Children novelist and literary historian John Rowe Townsend
has described the book as "fantasy of an almost literally nauseating kind" and accusing 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 candy that forms 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
(as is the case even for most of Dahl's books) but the naughty children.
There are four main rooms that the tour goes through, losing one child at a time.
The Chocolate Room
is the first room that the tour goes through. It is said that everything in this room is edible: the sidewalks, the bushes, even the grass
. There are trees made of taffy that grow jelly apples, bushes that sprout lollipops, mushrooms that spurt whipped cream, pumpkins filled with sugar cubes instead of seeds, jelly bean stalks
, and even spotty candy cubes. The main icon of the room is the Chocolate River
, where the chocolate is mixed and churned by the waterfall. Willy Wonka
proclaims, "There is no other factory in the world that mixes its chocolate by waterfall." Pipes that hang on the ceiling come down and suck up the chocolate, then sends it to other rooms of the factory, such as the Fudge Room
. Augustus Gloop
was even sucked up by one.
The Inventing Room
The Inventing Room
is the second room that the tour goes through. Mr. Wonka states that all of his ideas are simmering and bubbling in this room, and that ol' Slugworth would give his false teeth to stay five minutes inside. This room is home to Willy Wonka
's new, and still being tested, candies such as Everlasting Gobstoppers
, Hair Toffee
, and Wonka's greatest idea so far, Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum
. This candy is a three course dinner all in itself, "Tomato Soup", Roast Beef & Baked Potato
, and the dessert, Blueberry Pie and Ice Cream
. However, once the chewer gets to the dessert, the side effect is that they turn into a giant Blueberry
. Violet Beauregarde
is turned into a Blueberry
Violet is taken to the Juicing Room
. The tour then leaves the Inventing Room
The Nut Sorting Room
The Nut Sorting Room
is the third room on the tour. This room is where Wonka uses trained squirrels to break open good walnuts for use in his sweets. All rotten/unripe walnuts are thrown down a rubbish chute which leads to a incinerator.Veruca Salt
wants a trained squirrel but is thrown down the rubbish chute when she attempts to grab a squirrel. Her parents are also thrown down after her.
The Television Room
The Television Room
is home to Wonka's latest invention, Television Chocolate
, where they take a giant Wonka Bar
and shrink it, then send it to a television. Mike Teavee
then shrinks himself. He is then taken to the Taffy Puller
Other rooms, hinted at but not visited, are listed below in alphabetical order. Each is given the name of the product it contains, which is presumably made or extracted there.
- '"Butterscotch And Buttergin"'
- '"Candy-Coated pencils for Sucking"'
- '"Cavity-Filling Caramels– No more dentists"'
- '"Coconut-Ice Skating Rinks"'
- '"Cows that give Chocolate Milk"'
- '"Eatable Marshmallow Pillows"'
- '"Exploding Candy for your Enemies"'
- '"Fizzy Lemonade Swimming Pools"'
- '"Fizzy Lifting Drinks"'
- '"Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days"'
- '"Invisible Chocolate Bars for Eating in Class"'
- '"Lickable Wallpaper for Nursery Walls"'
- '"Luminous Lollies for Eating in Bed at Night"'
- '"Magic Hand-Fudge– When you hold it in your hand, you taste it in your mouth"'
- '"Mint Jujubes for the Boy Next Door– They'll give him green teeth for a month"'
- '"Rainbow Drops– Suck them and you can spit in seven different colours."'
- '"Square Sweets that Look Round"'
- '"Stickjaw for Talkative Parents"'
- '"Storeroom Number 54; All the Creams– Dairy Cream, Whipped Cream, Coffee Cream, Clotted Cream, Vanilla Cream, and Hair Cream"'
- '"Storeroom Number 71; Whips– all Shapes and Sizes"'
- '"Storeroom Number 77– All the Beans, Cacao Beans, Coffee Beans, Jelly Beans, and Has Beans"'
- '"Strawberry-Juice Water Pistols"'
- '"The Rock-Candy Mine"'
- '"Toffee-Apple Trees For Planting in Your Garden– All Sizes"'
- '"Wriggle-Sweets That Wriggle Delightfully in your Tummy after Swallowing"'
- '"Spotty Powder- Gives you temporary chicken-pox to miss school"'
Responding to criticisms from the NAACP, Canadian children's author Eleanor Cameron, and others for the book's portrayal of the Oompa Loompas as dark skinned and skinny African pygmies working in Wonka’s factory for cacao beans, Dahl changed some of the text, and Schindelman replaced some illustrations (the illustrations for the British version were also changed). This new version was released in 1973 in the USA. In the revised version the Oompa Loompas are described as having funny long golden-brown hair and rosy-white skin. Their origins were also changed from Africa to fictional Loompaland.
In 2005, a short chapter which had been removed during the editing of the book circulated, entitled "Spotty Powder". The chapter featured the elimination of Miranda Piker, a "teacher's pet
" with a head master
Wonka introduces the group to a new candy that will make children temporarily appear sick so that they can miss school that day, which enrages Miranda and her father. They vow to stop the candy from being made, and storm into the secret room where it is made. Two screams are heard, and Wonka agrees with the distraught Mrs. Piker that they were surely ground into Spotty Powder, and were indeed needed all along for the recipe, as "We’ve got to use one or two schoolmasters occasionally or it wouldn’t work." He then reassures Mrs. Piker that he was joking. Mrs. Piker is escorted to the boiler room by the Oompa-Loompas, who sing a short song about how delicious Miranda's classmates will find her.
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 worldwide on June 30, 1971 and distributed by Paramount Pictures
, the film had an estimated budget of $3 M. The movie grossed only $4 M and was considered a box-office flop. Stories concerning author Roald Dahl's immense dissatisfaction with this film are legendary; in fact, he was so unhappy that he refused to ever watch the completed film in its entirety.
Another film version, entitled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and directed by Tim Burton, was released on July 15, 2005; this version starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. The Brad Grey production was a hit, grossing about $470 M worldwide with an estimated budget of $150 M. It was distributed by Warner Bros. this time. The 1971 and 2005 films are consistent with the written work to varying degrees. The Burton film in particular greatly expanded Willy Wonka's personal backstory. Both films likewise heavily expanded the personalities of the four "bad" children and their parents from the limited description in the book.
It has also been produced by Swedish Television as still drawings narrated by Ernst-Hugo Järegård.
Concurrently with the 1971 film, a line of candies was introduced in North America and Oceania that uses the book's characters and imagery for its marketing. Presently sold in in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the candies are produced in the United States, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Brazil, by Nestlé.
In 1985, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game was released for the ZX Spectrum by developers Soft Option Ltd and publisher Hill MacGibbon.
On July 11, 2005, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game was released for the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo's Game Boy Advance, and Windows PC by developers Backbone and High Voltage Software and publisher 2K Games.
On 1 April 2006, the British theme park Alton Towers opened a family boat ride attraction themed around Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. 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 will enter one of two glass elevators where they will join Willy Wonka as they travel the factory, eventually shooting up and out through the glass roof.
Awards and nominations
- 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)
- ISBN 0-394-81011-2 (hardcover, 1973, revised Oompa Loompa edition)
- ISBN 0-87129-220-3 (paperback, 1976)
- 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 0-375-91526-5 (library binding, 2001)
- ISBN 0-14-240108-0 (paperback, 2004)
- ISBN 0-8488-2241-2 (hardcover)