genre: children's literature
Do you know Charlie Bucket? He and I go WAY back. I didn't read the book until late elementary school, but I'm sure I became familiar with this character before I even started school. MAN how I wanted to have lickable wallpaper in my room and romp through a candy garden. And now here I am as an adult, reading aloud this cherished story to my own 7 year old son. Time does fly.
And he loved it, like I knew he would. Who can resist the pull of the poor boy, the outcast, who suddenly rises above all the other children in the world to win a Golden Ticket to visit Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? This story is pure genius, from the mysterious back story to Charlie's lovable family to the factory itself: a menagerie of pleasures that float behind the eyes like so many sugar plums.
The bizarre factory workers, the Oompa Loompas? I love them in the movie, but their song lyrics do get long and dull. Forgive me Mr. Dahl, I skipped the vast majority of them to keep the story going. It really is a great read-aloud beyond that, though, with crazy Wonka and his outbursts, and especially the antics of all those spoiled and greedy children. It's a book that makes for some great discussion about what kind of children we DON'T want to be. And in the end, we see that honesty and humility are characteristics that could hand us the world. This book should probably just be a staple of every childhood.