I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last!
But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life! (source)
For my internship that I had for grad school, I started a monthly program for elementary-aged girls and their favorite adults called Books and Brunch. It's exactly what it sounds like - we meet, eat brunch treats, and discuss a book. While my internship has come to an end since I've graduated, I've been hired by the library part time, which allows me to continue the program. We're meeting on Saturday and the book that the girls chose for August is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It was so fun to revisit this book as an adult. Roald Dahl is, in my opinion, one of the very best children's authors ever, and this book is not only his most well-known work, but, in my opinion, one of his best. As in his other books, Dahl does such a good job of exaggerating his characters' traits and the situations that they experience, so that one HATES the bad characters and LOVES the good. And who wouldn't want to visit Mr. Willy Wonka's famous factory?!
As I read this, I couldn't help but compare this to the 1970s film adaptation. While I love the movie, I do think it's done the book a bit of a disservice. Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka is certainly charming, but he's also kind of scary at parts. The original Wonka as seen in the book is certainly kooky, but he's loveable in ways that Wilder's portrayal (as the screenwriters wrote him to be, not necessarily a performance choice of Wilder's) is not. And, sadly, Wilder's Willy Wonka is the one that I remembered. So it was a joy to revisit the book and discover how wonderful Willy Wonka truly is.
One of my favorite parts of the book was reading the Oompa Loompas' song after Mike Teavee's experience with Wonka's television. If you've forgotten it, it essentially slams television and calls for TVs to be replaced once again with books. As much as I enjoy watching TV, I loved this part of the book, because I do think that kids should be spending less time on TV and other electronics and more time reading. I thought it was interesting that these criticisms of TV existed as early as 1962, when the book was originally published, though. I always assumed that people didn't criticize TV until later - how much later, I don't know - but I thought in the early 1960s people would've been still fairly enamored with the invention and unlikely to criticize it. Clearly, I was mistaken!
I'm so glad that my B&B girls decided to read this book. It had been far too long since I'd read it, and I really enjoyed reading it again. I can't wait to hear what they think of it. Hopefully, I'll remember to do a follow up post this weekend so I can let you all know how our meeting goes!