Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I'm having a very Willy Wonka week as I've just read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl to my four-year-old son and he absolutely loved it. And really what's not to love? The fascinating Willy Wonka, a contest to find golden tickets hidden in chocolate bars, the lovable Charlie and Grandpa Joe, oompa-loompas, a super cool factory and chocolate and candy galore! My son is completely enthralled and he's begging for us to read it all over again. In his own words "this is a FANTASTIC book! So how come it doesn't have a Caldecott medal?" I just had to smile when he made that comment and I quickly answered, "well, not all fantastic books win awards you know." I later found out that the book did win several prizes years after it was published.
Dahl's writing is creative and delightfully delicious. He was inspired by his memories of Cadbury chocolates during his school days. The famous chocolate company frequently sent test packages to school children and asked for their opinions. He dreamed of creating a new kind of sweet and he certainly invents some amazing ones in this book. Hot ice cream for cold days, gobstopper candies that never run out of flavour, chewing gum that gives you a three course meal and fizzy lifting drinks!
I've bought some actual Willy Wonka candies such as Gobstoppers and Nerds and shown my son snippets of the film with Gene Wilder. I just loved that magical movie when I was a kid. One of the best things about having children is that we get to live out all our favourite things from our own childhood. I remember I used to be scared of the oompa-loompas but actually they're not frightening at all and there are so many little lessons in their funny songs. Here's a sample of lyrics from musical numbers in the film:
What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?
Eating as much as an elephant eats
What are you at getting terribly fat?
What do you think will come of that?
“What do you get from a glut of TV?
A pain in the neck and an IQ of three
Why don’t you try simply reading a book?
Or can you just not bear to look?”
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-da
Given good manners, you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do