Roald Dahl Series Blog: (Book Examination of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)


Ah yes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Who doesn’t have some connection to this book? Personally I watched the first film made about the book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory before I read the book, but it got me interested in reading both this, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Welcome once again to my book examination series as part of my Roald Dahl Blog posts for this month. Today we will be looking at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate factory was written by Roald Dahl in 1964, becoming another massive success behind his other work at the time, James and the Giant Peach. The book was inspired by Dahl’s personal experiences as a child in school, where candy companies like Cadbury and Rowntree would send samples to schools to get feedback for their products. These companies at the time were very competitive, often trying to steal the secrets from each other in order to gain further success. All this became further inspiration for Dahl to write the story.

The writing began in 1961, and was said to go through many drafts; one of which was there was to be ten children instead of the five we have come to know, and candies that did not make it into the story like one that can help children be sent home from school by making them appear as if they have some form of chicken pox, and scene where the children visit fudge mountain and two children are sent to the fudge cutting room for not following the rules and being selfish. Interesting isn’t it? I wouldn’t mind reading about that scene.

The book itself is widely known around the world being sold in close to 55 languages, selling over 20 million copies, and it was turned into two major feature films (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 1972, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005).

Charlie and the Chocolate factory too has won at least a few major awards, including the New England Round Table for Children’t Librarians award in 1972, the Millennium Children’s Book Award and Blue Peter Book Award in 2000.

Onto the book itself, we have our hero, Charlie Bucket, who lives in a poor household with his Mother, Father, and grandparents (Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, and Grandpa Georgina). The family does not have much to live on, as the father, Mr. Bucket only makes a meagre living as a man who puts the caps on toothpaste in a factory. One of the few pleasures Charlie has is of the stories his Grandpa Joe tells him about the marvellous chocolate factory not far from their house, owned by the mysterious Mr. Wonka.

One day news breaks that Mr. Wonka has placed five golden tickets in select Wonka bars all over the world, and those who find one will win a tour of the factory which no outsider has ever seen, and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie, while wanting this more than anything does not see much hope in winning. The only chocolate he gets is on his birthday, and as he begins to see the first four tickets being one, the prospect of winning looks grim.

The first four are one by an interesting cast of characters, each who’s personality would make a unique reflection all on its own. Think about it, how many of these types of children have you met in your life? Each child reflects a trait in people that show what we don’t want to raise our children to have Augustus Gloop (Gluttony, an overweight child who does nothing but eat), Veruca Salt (Greed, a selfish little girl who gets everything she wants no matter how she acts), Violet Beauregarde (A girl who does nothing but chew gum all day in an obnoxious manner, constantly bragging about it), and Mike Teavee (A lazy child who does nothing with his days but watch T.V).

However, Charlie’s luck does take a turn for the better. Since his father lost his job at the factory, the family is more hungry than ever. Charlie finds some money in the street and uses it to buy two Wonka Bars, and one has the golden ticket! He runs home to tell his family the good news and since he can only take one adult with him, he takes his Grandpa Joe since he feels it will mean the most to him.

The rest of the story takes us on a wonderful journey through the factory, with each child learning a lesson about their selfish ways, and having Charlie win an even greater prize than chocolate, a new lease on life for him and his family.

The story has touched millions of hearts, including my own. Now let’s look at some ways we can use this in a classroom.

Classroom Connections: (Primary/Junior Level 3-6)

Just recently I finished a project that can connect science and this book together. As we know this book involves candy making, and one of things you learn in science is about changes of state. I found a way, inspired by the book, to look at the science of candy making as part of a book study on this novel. As a teacher, there a number of experiments that you can do with you class. Three of which I recently used including two involving Skittles, and one with expanding gummies. I will link all these down below. You try out these experiments, discuss your findings, and ask why are these changes happening. If I change the water will that make a difference? What is it in the candy that makes these changes? What about the process of caramelization or making fudge? The possibilities here are endless!

Candy Projects

More Candy Ideas (Science Sparks)

Other ideas can be as I mentioned before, doing a character study on each of the children and even the adults. How does what they do contribute to the story?  Is there a moral attached to each child?

Creative writing can flourish in a book like this. If your student was in the factory, what would they do? What would they be like?  Could they be the candy maker? What candy would you invent? What would it look like, taste like, smell like? You can go on forever with the writing prompts and possibilities for literacy.

For drama, have students act out their favourite scenes from the book, or make up a different ending to the story where they win the contest. What would they do? Would they change the factory? What about the Ooopa Loopas?

I will attach more teaching resources below. If you have any ideas or resources you would like to share please comment or message me and I will be sure to add them!

Next on our Book Examination Series: Fantastic Mr. Fox


Lesson Plans/Ideas:

Lesson Plans (Roald Dahl Website) (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Internet4Classrooms (Resource list for Lesson Plans)

Varsity Tutors

TES (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Factory plans/notebooks)

Resources Used in this Post:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Summary

About Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl Awards





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