Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryTitle:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author:  Roald Dahl

Paperback:  176 pages

Published:  1964

ISBN:  0140328696

acquired:  I bought it at our St. Vincent DePaul thrift store.

Challenges:  Welsh Reading Challenge

“I stood there shouting, ‘Burp, you silly ass, burp, or you’ll never come down again!” -Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, page 112

For me, this was either my second or third reading of Roald Dahl‘s children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I remember reading it a few years ago with the kids, but I’m not sure if I read it by myself as a kid.  But whatever the number of reads, it is easy to say this book is fantastic fun… especially to read aloud with a child.  As Mags and I read it, we took breaks at the departure of each child to watch the particular scene from the Tim Burton’s movie adaptation (and occasionally from the Gene Wilder version, as well). 

Most people know the basic premise of the story:  Charlie Bucket and his family are very poor, barely having enough money for food, let alone candy.  Little Charlie gets one chocolate bar a year for his birthday, which is falls a few days after Willy Wonka, greatest candy-maker EVER, announces that he has placed a golden ticket in just FIVE of his candies, and these tickets will grant the winning child and up to two parents entry into his mysterious and fantastic factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate.  Charlie and Grandpa Joe hold out hope that they have just as much chance to get a ticket as anyone, and when the first four tickets are found by beastly, spoiled, selfish children, they almost give up.  But then Charlie spots a dollar bill half buried in the snow, and rushes to buy a couple of Wonka’s Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delights, saving the rest of the money for his family, and finds the ticket in the second bar. 

Roald Dahl creates a world in which children aren’t safe, which I think appeals to kids because they DON’T feel safe.  In their particular position, they’re subject to the whims and fancies of the adults around them and have very little control over their lives.  Readers, particularly young readers, see these over-indulged children who get everything they want which, at first blush, is something most kids would love.  However, as the book progresses, we watch as each child suffers an accident which their own self-centeredness is a direct cause.  Violet rips the meal-in-a-gum from the drawer and chews it, ignoring Wonka’s warnings, and ends up a giant blueberry.  Veruca Salt refuses to take NO for an answer, in fact is inflamed by being told she can’t have one of Wonka’s squirrels, and goes in the nut room to claim one anyone, ending up tossed into the garbage chute by leader of the squirrels who judges her to be a “bad nut”.  In the end it is the considerate and well-behaved Charlie who is rewarded.  Even when Dahl shows the children leaving the factory in one piece, they are still not escaping unscathed, but instead will retain some scarring for the rest of their lives.  Violet, for instance, is still purple, while Mike Teavee has been over-stretched and is now very tall and thin, about whom Wonka makes an almost-callous remark that every basketball team in the country will want him.  I think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could fit in the fable category, as it is a cautionary tale with a lesson.

The best part of this book, in my opinion, was cuddling up with Maggie, who is ten and won’t let me do this much longer.  She’s in her last semester of Elementary school and will, no doubt, be “too cool” to lay in bed, snuggling and being read to by her mom.  Part of the book was also read at the library, which drew attention from a few people, which gave Mags the chance to tell them about the book.  I will always have warm memories of this book, which was even good enough to draw my 15-year-old into the room for her favorite part, which is the quote I included.  For all these things, and for making me fee like a kid again while reading it, I give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 5 out of 5 candy stars :-)

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This book is my first book read for The Welsh Reading Challenge 2010.  Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales, which is part of the Cardiff cosmopolitan area.  Roald Dahl day is September 13th, his birthday, every year. Check out The Official Roald Dahl website where you can learn more about the author, his books and even play games.  Mags and I did the Wonkanator, a math game, and the “find the differences” game for a while this morning before she left for school, taking the book with her.

The Sunday Salon Is Closed? Oh, Noooz!

The Sunday Salon.com

Okay, before you get too excited, it’s NOT the whole thing that’s closed or closing, The Sunday Salon is just closed for new membership.

Let me explain.

When I started The Welsh Reading Challenge, it was my first book challenge, and I was doing it out of a love for my own heritage as well as giving myself a prod to read those books I’ve really been wanting to, but just not done it.  I hadn’t really expected very many people to join in, though I wasn’t closed to it.  So when a few people joined in, I got excited.  I looked around at everyone else’s challenges, especially those who were finishing up with their firsts and starting their second ones, so I could glean from their experiences.  One thing that was mentioned by a couple was that having a separate blog just for the challenge was a preferable way to keep the challenge better organized and thereby easier to navigate for participants.  So during Bloggiesta I decided to take the big step and give the challenge it’s own space to live and flourish.

I’ve been working on the challenge’s blog and adding pages and content, as well as beginning to get some offers for prizes (Thanks Ceri at Americymru!).  It’s been a bit of a reading distraction as I’ve been hunting up titles for the suggested reading page and worked a bit on a Welsh culture page called “Hiraeth” (which actually took a lot of reading and exploring).  Even when I have been trying to read, my mind drifts to the challenge and ideas for the blog to make it more fun (Pam at Bookalicio.us made the delicious suggestion of having a Welsh movie mini-challenge and we could sit around and drool over Ioan Gruffudd among others -what others? After she invoked the name of Mr. Fantastic, I was like Homer for donuts!  Mmmm… Ioan.. nom-nom-nom!), as well as informative.  It’s a labor of a lot of love, and even if no one else enjoys it, I do.

So when I thought about how to do a weekly wrap post to let everyone know what books were read with links to reviews and other Welsh-related stuff, I thought immediately about The Sunday Salon.  It’s a great weekly meme that many bloggers participate in, and the posts are linked through the site, yahoo tubes, as well as tweeted.  I jumped out of bed and ran the five steps to the computer to sign The Welsh Reading Challenge up!

Imagine my shock when I read this message:

as of January 3, 2010, we won’t be accepting new members in the Salon.

You see, apparently this fabulous meme has grown to over 500 blogs and is more than YahooPipes can handle.  LOL!  How fantastic is that?  To think that, right now all over the world, more than 500 people are at this moment writing a post like this one, or thinking about what they’re going to write, or reading other SundaySaloner’s posts after publishing their own.  I don’t know if The Sunday Salon is the largest meme on the Internet, but it’s amazing no matter what.

So what do you think?  Do you participate in The Sunday Salon?  How does it make you feel to know it’s closed?

Welsh Reading Challenge Blog is Up!

The Welsh Reading Challenge 2010 blog is now online and ready to go :-)

I’m so excited!  It is, of course, NOT done… are they ever done?  But I think it’s ready to receive visitors :-)

I’m fairly pleased with the theme, a nice green and red coloring that goes well with the Welsh flag and our challenge button.  I’m open to suggestions on what more I can do with it, so feel free to let me know.

The Welsh Reading Challenge 2010

The Welsh Reading Challenge blog is open for business!

Also, I need a Mr. Linky, but the site hates me.  I paid for the gold subscription so I can make my own meme, since the Mr. Linky blog said I had to for WordPress… or something.  All I want is a nice, EASY, challenge to manage so I can spend as much time reading and researching for it without having to spend to much time learning GEEK.  I suppose that’s the wish of most book bloggers.

There’s a suggested reading page for titles that I’ve found, plan to read myself, or have been otherwise suggested but not necessarily reviewed.  There’s a separate page for the reviews, of which there are none at the moment, but I expect at least one soon… Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl isn’t taking Mags and me very long to read ;-)

I’ve also included a call for Welsh material in the “Contact Me” widget, and I made a dedicated email account just for the challenge in expectation of a flood of offers :-D  Okay, I hope… am optimistic… or just want to keep the challenge stuff separate from my regular reading and email.  I get a bunch of junk in it, and would hate to accidentally delete something good. 

Feel free to suggest anything else I might have missed, especially since it is my first challenge.  I’m open to all the help I can get!

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