This year marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Puffin Books is honoring the special occasion in a multitude of ways, including a new edition of Dahl’s delicious children’s novel, a Golden Ticket sweepstakes, and the release of a new title, Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory: The Complete Story of Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket, and Roald Dahl’s Greatest Creation. What lies between the pages of Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory is a wonderful look back on the creation, adaptation, and cultural impact of Dahl’s Willy Wonka and his magical and mysterious chocolate factory that is sure to be devoured by both Wonka fanatics and those who only occasionally encounter an everlasting gobstobber.
Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory really could not be more complete or delicious if Wonka designed it himself. This book is an interesting and enlightening bounty of knowledge filled with chunks of heartwarming and heartbreaking personal moments in Dahl’s life, the adaptation of his work, and the enduring impact it has had on our culture. Author Lucy Mangan is our tour guide through the years of Wonka history and does an excellent job of giving the historical facts and moments a flavor that is not only “easily digestible,” but delectable and light enough that readers will find themselves “gobbling” up the work in large chunks (or perhaps consuming the whole thing in one sitting!). Mangan is clearly a devoted fan of Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and its many adaptations and forms and manages to assemble almost everything a fan could desire for Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, including excerpts and notes fro Dahl’s early drafts, special focus on both film versions of Dahl’s book, an entire section on the actual Wonka sweets produced and sold, a foreword by Sophie Dahl (granddaughter of Roald Dahl), and much, much more.
Here are just a few particularly yummy morsels from Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory:
– The enduring duo of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake. Along with the story of Dahl and Blake joining forces in Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, the new 50th anniversary edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features illustrations by Blake and Dahl.
– Gene Wilder wasn’t the first choice for Wonka. In fact, the first and most seriously considered contender was Tony Award-winning Broadway star Joel Grey, who has appeared in everything from Cabaret to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Apparently, he was a little too short for the film version of Wonka.)
– Mike Teavee Pushed Wonka’s Buttons. Apparently, 11-year-old Paris Themmen took a “method” approach to his role as the abrasive Mike Teavee in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. When asked about his young co-stars, Wilder said, “Four of them are wonderful, and one of them I’m going to throw through a window tomorrow.” In the end, Themmen certainly delivered a rendition of Mike Teavee that has lasted through the decades.
– Civil rights and the Oompa-Loompas. The civil rights movement and concerns of racism in regards to the book’s description of Oompa-Loompas and their “employment” by Wonka led to several changes to their appearance and story prior to the 1971 film.
Final Verdict: Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory is scrumptious in every possible way that it could and should be. Wonka super fans will be overjoyed, and casual readers will find it a charming, heartfelt journey through the creation and release of one of the world’s most cherished pieces of children’s literature. You will not be disappointed!