Children’s books are always fun to read, whether as an adult or child. They have enjoyable stories that are easy to read, imaginative and engaging. Recently I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, did you know that this was actually the first book in a two book series – the Charlie Bucket series? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory saw Charlie winning a golden ticket for a magical and wonderous tour of the famous Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory and ultimately seeing him win the famous factory. Now Charlie is back to continue his adventure in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the hilarious sequel to the original classic story.
As already mentioned, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the second book in the Charlie Bucket series. It was first published in 1972, eight years after its predecessor. In the first book, we saw Charlie hovering over the town in a glass lift (as it was called in that book) and winning control of the chocolate factory when Willy Wonka retires. In the Great Glass Elevator, Charlie is back in the lift, or elevator as it is now, to move in to the factory and learn how to run it so he is ready to take over the running of the factory. But it doesn’t go as smoothly as that, in fact, things go wrong before he even gets into the factory.
Charlie Bucket is stuck in a lift with his parents, both sets of grandparents and Willy Wonka. It is not just any old lift as it is not in or attached to a building. It is now an elevator as it has elevated out of the building and into the sky. Charlie, his family, and Mr. Wonka embark on a wild adventure in a flying glass elevator that takes them to outer space, back to the chocolate factory and then on to home of the President of the United States of America, The White House!
With Willy Wonka and his amazing inventions and eccentricities nothing is ever straightforward. After picking up Charlie’s family and a bed, to get back into the chocolate factory they first must ride the elevator up to get enough speed to come down, but a button is late being pushed and they end up in outer space on their way to a new Space Hotel. Along the way, they encounter vicious aliens called Vermicious Knids, a paranoid President of the United States, and some more wacky inventions that have unexpected side effects.
Overall, what a story! Snorting Snozzwangers! as Mr Wonka would say, I enjoyed this more than its predecessor. It is packed with Dahl’s trademark humour and wit mixed with his weird and wonderful imagination and his Gobblefunk language.
Roald Dahl creates a world where the absurd can and does happen, making for a captivating story. With quirky and memorable characters, especially Mr. Wonka, the egg-shaped shape changing Knids, a Paranoid President and grumpy grandparents who are on the wrong end on Wonka’s ageing pills it is a hilarious story that will keep the reader engaged, enthralled and entertained. The plot is fast-paced and unpredictable, with twists and turns you won’t see coming. Just watch out for the Gnoolies! And as with its predecessor it also has some moral lessons about greed, selfishness, and gratitude, but in an unstated and subtle way.
And I can’t forget to mention the fantastic and funny illustrations by the wonderful Sir Quentin Blake, they are delightful and add to the charm of a brilliant story.
Roald Dahl has written a sequel that I think is funnier than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a perfect example of his creative genius. Children age 7+ will adore the story, as will many adult readers that like a fun story and a good laugh.
RRP: £7.99 (Paperback) / £3.99 (Kindle)