Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is a book and a movie (Gene Wilder) that I have found memories of when I was a child.
Charlie is about a child who has nothing and wins everything. He first gets the coveted golden ticket. He gets a lifetime supply of chocolate and a tour of the magical chocolate factory, led by the wacky Willy Wonka. We know from the beginning that Charlie Bucket is our hero and that the other children have severe character faults that make them undeserving of the chocolate. We cheer the downfall of the naughty children, hoping Charlie will make it to the end. (*spoiler: he does!*)
“Spoilers” throughout the rest of this post.
A few months ago, I started talking about Charlie every time I got in an elevator with Raisin, my almost three-and-a-half year old.
“Charlie has an elevator that goes into the sky!” I’d say.
Naturally, he wanted to hear about Charlie, so we gave reading chapter books a try once again. Last summer, I read him a few, but he really didn’t have much patience, and we only got through a page a day, or so.
This time, Raisin was hooked on the chapter book. He loved it! As we read each night before bed, he’d sit with eyes open wide, full attention.
“Mommy,” he said near the beginning of the book. “I want Charlie to find a Golden Ticket.”
Later, he’d ponder each night, “How will Charlie get out?”
I’d finish a chapter and he’d be quick to say, “More! More! Read more!”
And then we watched the movie (the Gene Wilder version) and he sat transfixed the entire time. I don’t think he moved a muscle for the entire movie. He wasn’t even scared at the tunnel part (which always scared me as a kid).
I have decided not to include pictures of my son on this blog, or his real name, but I did really want you to hear from him how much he likes the story of Charlie. Here is a podcast (less than two minutes) in which he tells you a little about the book. There are some spoilers for the book and the movie.
I didn’t realize how hard he is to understand until I listen to this! Good luck on that.
Also, for the record, I didn’t realize he had such an understanding of the “bad” children. He’s very quick to say here that it’s about “bad” children. I think watching the movie helped him see how “bad” Veruca was. When she first appeared in the movie, he said, “Mommy, I don’t like her.”
Toward the end of the recording, he goes on a tangent telling a story and I wasn’t sure what he was saying. I think he was talking about Augustus Gloop going up the pipe, or maybe talking about Grandpa Joe and Charlie burping to get down from the bubbles. He then humors me by saying, “My name is Raisin.” (We’d practiced and he kept saying “My name isn’t Raisin! It’s ____!” So I didn’t think he “got” it.)