Book Shelf – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children’s novel 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 11 months 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.

Young Charlie Bucket is very poor and lives in a small house with his parents and four grandparents. One day, Charlie’s Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka and all the wonderful sweets and chocolates he made. However, the other chocolatiers sent in spies to steal his secret recipes, leading Wonka to close the factory to outsiders. The next day, the newspaper announces that Wonka is re-opening the factory and has invited five lucky children to come on a tour, if they find a Golden Ticket inside a Wonka Bar. The first four golden tickets are found by four unpleasant children: the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the chewing gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the television-obsessed Mike Teavee.

One day, Charlie sees a 50 pence piece buried in the snow. He buys a Wonka Bar and miraculously finds the last golden ticket. The ticket says he can bring one or two family members with him and Charlie’s parents decide to allow Grandpa Joe to go with him.

On the day of the tour, Wonka takes the five children and their parents inside the factory, which is a wonderland of confectionery creations that defy logic. They also meet the Oompa-Loompas, a race of small people who help him operate the factory.

During the tour, the four “bad” children give in to their individual vices and are ejected from the tour in darkly comical ways. Augustus gets sucked up the pipe to the Fudge Room after drinking from the Chocolate River,

With only Charlie remaining in the end, Wonka congratulates him for “winning” the factory. Wonka explains that the whole tour was designed to help him secure a good person to serve as an heir to his business, and Charlie was the only child whose inherent goodness allowed him to pass the test. Wonka then invites Charlie’s family to come and live with him in the factory.

Book Shelf – Matilda

Book Shelf – Matilda

Matilda is a book by British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London, with 232 pages and illustrations by Quentin Blake. It was adapted as an audio reading by actress Kate Winslet; a 1996 feature film directed by Danny DeVito; a two-part BBC Radio 4 programme starring Lauren Mote as Matilda, Emerald O’Hanrahan as Miss Honey, Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Trunchbull and narrated by Lenny Henry; and a 2000 musical.

In a small Buckinghamshire village, Matilda Wormwood, a five-and-half-year-old girl of unusual precocity, whose parents treat her with disdain, resorts to pranks like gluing her father’s hat to his head, hiding a friend’s parrot in the chimney to simulate a burglar or ghost, and secretly bleaching her father’s hair, to get revenge on her parents (particularly her father) for their rude and neglectful manners towards her. Matilda has read a variety of books by different authors, especially at the age of four, when she read many in six months.

At school, Matilda befriends her teacher, Jennifer Honey, who is astonished by her intellectual abilities. She tries to move her into a higher class but is refused by the headmistress, the tyrannical Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Miss Honey also tries to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood about their daughter’s intelligence, but they just ignore her.

Miss Trunchbull also confronts a girl with pigtails called Amanda Thripp and does a hammer throw with the girl. Another boy called Bruce Bogtrotter is caught by the cook stealing a piece of Miss Trunchbull’s cake; she makes him eat all of the cake.

Matilda quickly develops a particularly strong bond with Miss Honey and watches as Miss Trunchbull terrorizes her students with deliberately creative, over-the-top punishments to prevent parents from believing them. When Matilda’s friend, Lavender, plays a practical joke on Miss Trunchbull by placing a newt in her jug of water, Matilda uses an unexpected power of telekinesis to tip the glass of water containing the newt onto Miss Trunchbull.

Matilda reveals her powers to Miss Honey, who confides that she was raised by an abusive aunt after her father’s suspicious death. Her aunt is revealed to be Miss Trunchbull, who appears (among other misdeeds) to be withholding her niece’s inheritance so that Miss Honey has to live in poverty in a derelict farm cottage.

In 2012 Matilda was ranked number 30 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily US audience. It was the first of four books by Dahl among the Top 100, more than any other writer. Time included Matilda in its list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time. Worldwide sales have reached 17 million, and since 2016 sales have spiked to the extent that it outsells Dahl’s other works.