This is a joint book and movie review written by Bookwi.se Contributor Emily Flury with Jack, a fifth grade student.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a novel by Roald Dahl that is about a magical factory of sweets and surprises. Willy Wonka sends out five golden tickets in chocolate bars to invite five kids to his factory. The five children consist of one that eats too much candy, one that is constantly chewing gum, one that is a spoiled brat, one that watches too much television and Charlie, who is a sweet boy from a poor family. During their visit, the children tour the factory and get to see all different kinds of amazing ingredients and inventions.
We liked the book a lot because there are a lot of fun songs and funny jokes in the book. The Oompa Loompa’s songs were really great because they were fun poems with an excellent beat. Dahl included a lot of weird characters and strange events. Willy Wonka was described in a way that made him seem cool and funky. We especially liked the chocolate room with the river made entirely of chocolate. Every detail made us feel like we were there. It was fun to imagine eating the grass just as the kids did. Our only complaint is that Dahl did such a good job of making the other kids into bad nuts that it got annoying at times.
While we liked the book, we didn’t like the movie as much as the book. We watched the newer Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version that came out in 2005. There was a lot about the movie that was similar to the book, such as the Oompa Loompa songs, and a lot of the dialogue was taken directly out of the book. But, because Tim Burton was the director, he had to take a children’s story and give it a darker side. For example, at the beginning of the tour in the factory, there were some animatronic seemingly happy dolls that caught on fire and melted in front of the astonished children and their parents. There were also some unnecessary additions to the movie, such as Violet was a karate champion and very competitive in the movie, whereas in the book she simply was known for chewing gum all day long. And, Tim Burton gave Willy Wonka a very strange back-story where we discovered that he had some daddy issues. In spite of the changes between the book and the movie, the movie really is very close to the book, even more so than the older Gene Wilder movie, released in 1971. However, we both prefer the older movie over the newer one because it is more fun to watch.
For both a fifth grader and an adult, the book was fun to read and good for the imagination. We would recommend the book to other third, fourth and some fifth graders, especially those that like to read and love to eat chocolate. For parents trying to get their kids interested in reading chapter books, this book is very manageable as the chapters are short and concise.
Jack is a fifth grader who likes to read especially about exotic cars. Jack enjoys finding books that interest him and watching the movies that go with the books.