The number of positive reviews (4 or 5 stars) that have previously been posted for this book really surprises me. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a true children's classic which weaves a fantastic and magical tale, adding in a few lessons along the way, that so many children love. In contrast, this book tends towards bland, disjointed, drawn out and unremarkable. In my experience it is a significant disappointment for children (or adults) expecting a genuine continuation to the Chocolate Factory story.
The story follows on immediately from the end of the Chocolate Factory, with the book covering two very different story lines in sequence. The Elevator in space, and then the return to the Chocolate Factory. While each of these ideas could have opened up so many opportunites, Roald Dahl - for once - sadly seems to have been devoid of any real imagination and both story lines are claustrophobic and tedious. The Elevator in space revolves around a U.S Space Hotel (making fun of the US Space Program, President, Chinese etc. along the way); the return to the Chocolate Factory around the Wonka-Vite pill and it's affects.
The book does have its positive moments, and there are a few laughs to be had, but all in all there is little that could justify a recommendation. It is, in my view, the weakest of Roald Dahl's work by a long way. If this were a music album, it would be "for collectors only".
Apparently Dahl completely rewrote Charlie And The Chocolate Factory after his nephew read a draft and said, "Unlce Roald, I don't like it at all." If only he had read the draft of this...
Three stars - it's okay and nothing more.