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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Desserts -- More Engaging Story Than the Movie Provides, 13 Aug 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Penguin Young Readers (Graded Readers)) (Paperback)
Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of her picks.
Since many people have seen the movie and not read the book, let me briefly compare them. The book creates more of a contrast between want and plenty. Charlie Bucket and his family are literally starving to death in the book. The book is also more of a moral tale, along the lines of Dickens. Some of the satire is much more wickedly funny as well. For example, each time something happens to one of the other children in the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas sing a very witty, satirical song to emphasize the lesson . . . not unlike a Greek chorus.
If you don't know the story, Willie Wonka is a regular candy magician. He has made a chocolate ice cream that doesn't melt even when out in the sun all day. He can make a gumball that never melts in your mouth, so you never have to buy another. He has candy balloons that you can blow up, and then eat.
But his competitors sent spies into his factory and stole his secrets. So he fired all of his employees and closed the factory. Then, one day it started up again behind a locked gate. But no one ever came in or went out. You could see small shapes behind some of the windows. The candy comes out each day from a hole in the wall all packed and addressed for the post office.
Suddenly, Willie Wonka announces that the children who are the holders of five golden tickets (hidden in five of his candy bars) will be allowed a one day tour of the factory. Everyone wants one!
Augustus Gloop lives on candy. His mother isn't surprised when he gets a ticket because he always eating candy.
Miss Veruca Salt is spoiled and her parents are rich. Her father bought 100,000 candy bars and had the people in his factories open all the wrappers until they found one.
Miss Violet Beauregard is a world champion gum chewer, and has been working on the same piece for 3 years now.
Mike Teavee never leaves his television, and likes to shoot at the screen with his 8 toy pistols.
Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who lives next to the factory. His father has just lost his job. He gets one candy bar a year for his birthday. Alas, the candy bar did not have a ticket in it. Feeling sorry for him, his grandfather gives Charlie his last 10 cents. That doesn't do it either. What now?
Inside the Chocolate Factory is a world better than Oz. Every child will love to hear about its wonders. Every parent will feel terrific for reading about these amazing features and sharing them. If you are like me, you will especially like the INVENTING ROOM.
After you finish enjoying this story with your child, I suggest that you talk about what you can do to help poor children. After all, Willie Wonka only helped one. There are lots more out there. I guess he wanted each of us to have our chance to help.
The next time you are in the mood for a dessert, imagine that you can have one of Willie Wonka's amazing delights! It'll feed your imagination while keeping your waistline right where it is.
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