Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (book cover).jpg
First edition cover of the UK version
Author(s) Roald Dahl
Illustrator Joseph Schindelman (original)
Quentin Blake (1998 editions onwards)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Children's Fantasy novel
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (original)
Penguin Books (current)
Publication date 1964
Media type Print (Hardback, Paperback)
Pages 155
ISBN 0-394-91011-7
OCLC Number 9318922
Followed by Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of the 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 in 1967. The book was 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 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series but never finished it.[1]

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.[2]



The story centers around an average boy named Charlie Bucket, who lives in extreme poverty with his extended family, and his adventures inside the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. Fifteen years prior to the beginning of the story, Willy Wonka opened the largest chocolate factory in the world, but spies stole his recipes, so he eventually closed the factory to the public. Although, it wasn't closed forever and one day he decided to allow five children to visit the factory. Each child will win a lifetime supply of chocolate after the factory tour. The children have to find one of the five golden tickets hidden inside the wrapping paper of random Wonka bars. Augustus Gloop (a boy who eats constantly), Veruca Salt (a girl who is spoiled), Violet Beauregarde (a girl who chews gum all day), Mike Teavee (a boy who loves to watch television), and Charlie Bucket win tickets and visit the factory.

The factory is full of strange and fantastical rooms, including a chocolate-mixing room that looks like a huge garden, where everything is made of candy and there is a chocolate lake in the middle, a research and development room with dozens of complex machines designing new forms of candy, a nut-sorting room with an army of trained squirrels that sort the good nuts from the bad, and a TV studio-like room with a giant "Wonkavision" camera, which can teleport giant bars of chocolate into people's homes through their television. The factory is staffed by small, pygmy-like men called Oompa-Loompas. A pink Viking sugar boat and a special glass elevator (with walls covered in buttons) take the tour group from room to room; the elevator can go "up and down, sideways, slantways, and any other ways you can think of."

"Accidents" happen while on the guided tour. Augustus falls in the chocolate lake and gets accidentally sucked up and taken away to the room where they make the most delicious kind of strawberry-flavoured chocolate-coated fudge. Violet, ignoring Wonka's advice, tries some of his three-course-dinner gum in the R&D department and swells up like a blueberry upon reaching the blueberry pie dessert. Veruca tries to grab one of the trained squirrels that Wonka uses to crack nuts in The Nut Room and is thrown into the garbage chute in the direction of the incinerator (her parents are pushed in soon after). Mike tries to use the Wonkavision machine- a machine that sends chocolate bars via television and allows someone to literally take the bar from the screen- and ends up shrunken to about 6 inches high. Charlie, being the only child left and the one Wonka likes the most, wins the prize: he will one day take over the factory from Wonka, Wonka wanting to pass his factory on to someone else but wanting to choose a child so that he won't have to deal with an adult trying to do things his way rather than learn from Wonka's experience. Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe board the Great Glass Elevator, which bursts through the roof. As they float in the air, they witness the other four children returning home. The pipe has made Augustus thin as a straw, Violet is drained of her blueberry juice but her face is tinged purple, Veruca and her parents are covered with garbage, and Mike is overstretched and is now overtall and extremely skinny. Though the children got punished in accordance to their vices, Wonka does honor the terms of each Golden Ticket holder: a lifetime supply of Wonka candies, as each child and their parents are driving away in a truck full of Wonka chocolate. Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe then travel in the elevator to Charlie's house to fetch the rest of his family.

Lost chapter

In 2005, a very short chapter entitled "Spotty Powder", which had been removed during the editing of the book as it seemed too gruesome for younger readers, was published. The chapter featured the elimination of Miranda Piker, a "teacher's pet" with a headmaster father, allegedly one of several other children who Dahl originally created for the book but had to cut out due to size constraints.

In the chapter, Wonka introduces the group to a new sweet that will make children temporarily appear sick so they can miss school that day, which enrages Miranda and her father. They vow to stop the candy from being sold, 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 they had 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.[3]

Main rooms

There are four main rooms that the tour goes through, losing one child at a time. They pass many other rooms but don't go in.

The Chocolate Room

The Chocolate Room is the first room the group enters. It is said that everything in this room is edible: the pavements, 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 spotty candy cubes. The main icon of the room is the Chocolate River, where the chocolate is mixed and churned by the waterfall, but must not be touched by human hands. 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 send it to other rooms of the factory, such as the Fudge Room as Augustus Gloop is sucked into that pipe after falling into the river while drinking from it. Wonka had an Oompa-Loompa take Mrs. Gloop to the Fudge Room to look for her son.

Also, there is a boat that is operated by Oompa-Loompas which takes the tour on a Chocolate River Ride.

The Inventing Room

The Inventing Room is the second room that the tour goes through. This room is home to Wonka's new—and still insufficiently 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, containing, "Tomato soup, roast beef and baked potato, and blueberry pie and ice cream". However, once the chewer gets to the dessert, the side effect is that they turn into a giant "blueberry." This happens to Violet Beauregarde after she rashly grabs and consumes the experimental gum. Violet is subsequently taken to the Juicing Room so that the juice can be removed from her immediately. The tour then leaves the Inventing Room.

The Nut Room

After an exhausting jog down a series of corridors, Wonka allows the party to rest briefly outside the Nut Room, though he forbids them to enter. This room is where Wonka uses trained squirrels to break open good walnuts for use in his sweets. All bad walnuts are thrown down in a garbage chute which leads to an incinerator that is lit every other day. Veruca Salt desperately wants a squirrel, but becomes furious when Wonka tells her she cannot have one. She tries to grab a squirrel for herself, but it rejects her as a "bad nut" and an army of squirrels haul her across the floor and throw her down the garbage chute. Wonka assures her father that she could be stuck on top of the garbage chute and they quickly enter the Nut Room. As Mr. Salt leans over the hole to look for Veruca, the squirrels rush up behind him and push him in.

In the 1971 film version, the nut sorting room is an egg room, with large geese laying golden chocolate eggs. The sorting mechanism is the same, but Veruca places herself on the mechanism while trying to get a goose.

However in the 2005 film version, it had followed the original storyline with Veruca wanting a squirrel and being rejected and thrown down a garbage chute to the incinerator that is lit every Tuesday. Lucky for Veruca and her father, Wonka is told by by an Oompa-Loompa that the incinerator is broken allowing three weeks of rotten garbage to break their fall.

The Television Room

The Television Room is home to Wonka's latest invention, Television Chocolate, where they take a giant bar of Wonka chocolate and shrink it, then send it through the air in a million pieces to appear in a television. The bar can be taken from the screen, and even consumed. At Wonka's behest, Charlie takes the newly shrunk bar (Mike believes the bar is just an image on a screen). Mike Teavee is amazed at this new discovery, and attempts to send himself through television, resulting in him being shrunk down to be no more than an inch high. Wonka suggests that he be put through the Gum Stretcher, where he tests the stretchiness of gum. He also planned to give him vitamins, notably Vitamin Wonka, which will make his toes as long as his fingers "so he can play piano with his feet". The Oompa Loompas escort the Teavee family to the Gum Stretcher.

In the 1971 and 2005 film versions, Mike Teavee is stretched by the Taffy Puller. In the 1971 version, Mike's mother accompanies him to the factory, while his father accompanies him in the 2005 film. In the latter film, the consequence of his restoration is shown, as he is ridiculously tall, but stretched impossibly thin.

Other rooms

Other rooms, mentioned 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 in Class -
  • Cavity-Filling Caramels - "No more dentists!"
  • Coconut-Ice Skating Rinks -
  • Cotton Candy Sheep - In the 2005 film, the Wonkavator heads pass a room where pink sheep are being sheered of their wool. Willy Wonka just quoted "I'd rather not talk about this one."
  • Cows that give Chocolate Milk -
  • Devils Drenchers to set your breath alight -
  • Eatable Marshmallow Pillows -
  • Exploding Candy for your Enemies -
  • Fizzy Lemonade Swimming Pools -
  • Fizzy Lifting Drinks - This was included in the 1971 film. This room had Charlie and Grandpa Joe drinking the concoction that nearly caused them to be chopped up by fan blades at the top of the room, but they escaped by burping repeatedly until they were safe on the ground. Subsequently, this was the event that nearly caused Charlie to be expelled from the contest, though they didn't find out until after the tour.
  • Fudge Mountain - This is where the Oompa-Loompas mine chocolate fudge in the Mountain
  • Glumptious Globgobblers - "All the perfumed juices go squirting down your throat"
  • Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days -
  • Invisible Chocolate Bars for Eating in Class -
  • Lickable Wallpaper for Nurseries - Featured in the 1971 film. When Veruca Salt criticizes Wonka for making up a "Snozzberry" flavour, he tells her "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."
  • Luminous Lollies for 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!"
  • Pishlets for children who can't whistle -
  • Rainbow Drops - "Suck them and you can spit in seven different colors!"
  • Rock-Candy Mine - "10,000 feet deep!"
  • Scarlet Scorchdroppers - "Makes the person who sucked them feel as warm as toast"
  • Square Candies that Look Round -
  • Stickjaw for Talkative Parents -
  • Strawberry-Juice Water Pistols -
  • Toffee-Apple Trees for Planting out in your Garden -
  • Wriggle-Sweets that Wriggle Delightfully in your Tummy after Swallowing -

The 2005 film also included a Puppet Hospital and Burn Clinic as well as the Administration Offices (where the female Oompa-Loompas work) when the Great Glass Elevator passes by them.


Although the book has always been popular and considered a children's classic by many literary critics, a number of prominent individuals have spoken critically of the novel over the years. Children' novelist and literary historian, John Rowe Townsend, has described the book as "fantasy of an almost literally nauseating kind" and accused it of "astonishing insensitivity" regarding the original portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas as black pygmies,[4] 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".[5] Ursula K. Le Guin voiced her support for this assessment in a letter to Cameron.[6] 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 or monsters (as is the case even for most of Dahl's books) but the naughty children, who receive sadistic revenges in the end. A fan of the book since childhood, film director Tim Burton states; "I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults".[7][8]


  • Blue Peter Book Award (UK 2000)
  • Millennium Children's Book Award (UK 2000)
  • New England Round Table of Children's Librarians Award (USA 1972)
  • Surrey School Award (UK 1973)


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 30 June 1971 and distributed by Paramount Pictures (Warner Bros. is the current owner), the film had an estimated budget of $2.9 million. The film grossed only $4 million and, while it passed its budget, was still considered a box-office disappointment. However, as was noted in an article entitled; "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: From Inauspicious Debut to Timeless classic", exponential home video and DVD sales, as well as repeated television airings, the film has since developed into a cult classic.[9] Concurrently with the 1971 film, a line of candies was introduced by the Quaker Oats Company in North America, Europe, and Oceania that uses the book's characters and imagery for its marketing. Presently sold in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the candies are produced in the United States, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil, by Nestlé.[10]

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.

Another film version, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and directed by Tim Burton, was released on 15 July 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 million worldwide with an estimated budget of $150 million. It was distributed by Warner Bros. 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 back-story. Both films, likewise, heavily expanded the personalities of the four "bad" children and their parents from the limited descriptions in the book. A video game based on Burton's adaptation was released on July 11, 2005.

This book has adapted frequently for the stage, most often as plays or musicals for children, and a radio production for BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s. These are often titled Willy Wonka or Willy Wonka Jr. They almost always feature musical numbers by all the main characters (Wonka, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Violet, etc.). Many of the songs are revised versions from the 1971 film. A new professional musical is currently under development and is expected to premiere in 2011 in London.[11]

The Estate of Roald Dahl also sanctioned an operatic adaptation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory called The Golden Ticket. The Golden Ticket was written by American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock. The Golden Ticket has completely original music and was commissioned by American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson - Producing Artistic Director, and Felicity Dahl. The opera received its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 13, 2010, in a co-production with American Lyric Theater and Wexford Festival Opera.[12]

On 1 April 2006, the British theme park, Alton Towers, opened a family boat ride attraction themed around the story.[13] 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 enter one of two glass elevators, where they join Willy Wonka as they travel the factory, eventually shooting up and out through the glass roof.


See also

Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film)


  1. ^ Martin Chilton (18 Nov 2010) The 25 best children's books The Daily Telegraph
  2. ^ Bathroom Readers' Institute. "You're My Inspiration." Uncle John's Fast-Acting Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader. Ashland:Bathroom Reader's Press, 2005. 13.
  3. ^ "The secret ordeal of Miranda Piker". London: Times Online. 2005-07-23. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  4. ^ John Rowe Townsend. Written for Children!. Kestrel Books. 1974.
  5. ^ Cameron, Eleanor (1972). "McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I". The Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-27 
  6. ^ Le Guin, Ursula K. (April 1973). "Letters to the Editor (on McLuhan, Youth, and Literature: Part I)". The Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-27 
  7. ^ Paul A. Woods (2007) Tim Burton: A Child's Garden of Nightmares p.177. Plexus, 2007
  8. ^ Tim Burton, Mark Salisbury, Johnny Depp Burton on Burton Macmillan, 2006
  9. ^ Kara K. Keeling, Scott T. Pollard Critical approaches to food in children's literature p.221. Taylor & Francis, 2008
  10. ^ "Willy Wonka company information". Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  11. ^ Sam Mendes Sweet On 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' And Focus Feature 'On Chesil Beach' With Carey Mulligan
  12. ^ The Golden Ticket American Lyric Theater
  13. ^ Alton Towers Theme Park, Staffordshire The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2011

External links

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