Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Book Summary

Charlie lives in poverty with his parents and grandparents, existing on cabbage soup, until he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime--the chance to visit Willy Wonka's secret, magical chocolate factory. 

The sequel to this book is called Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (scroll down for more details about that book).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book cover
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Book Review

This classic book tells a story about a sincere, good person in a unique situation in a world full of selfish people.  Like many of this author's characters, the child is the true hero, even when adults are behaving badly.  The moralizing against laziness and greed is tempered with playfulness and humor.  As an extra bonus, the book is teeming with great vocabulary words, particularly in the strings of synonyms when the exuberant Mr. Wonka speaks.

Although later versions of this book were edited to remove some disrespectful references to the Oompa Loompas who work in Mr. Wonka's factory, there is still injustice on this point worthy of discussion. For example, is it ethical to remove a group of people from their home and force them to do experiments and labor for you in exchange for chocolate? Although the book is a fantasy, this point - like the house elves in Harry Potter and Becky's treatment in A Little Princess - is something that will likely concern some modern readers, and be an issue to widen perspectives for others.

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Mr. Wonka is the most amazing, the most fantastic, the most extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen!"

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

In this sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the book begins with the understanding that Mr. Wonka will be giving his factory to Charlie. Charlie's entire family is welcome to live in the factory, including his four grandparents--three of whom have not gotten out of bed for many years.  An accident sends the factory's elevator and everyone in it into outer space. Mr. Wonka, Charlie, and his family must deal with space creatures, the U.S. government, and each other.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Family Relationships
  • Risk-Taking
  • Imagination
  • Behaving with Manners (Etiquette) and with Ethics
  • Poverty and Wealth

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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