Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chapter Books A to Z: C is for Charlie Bucket

"Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop! The great big, greedy nincompoop!" That line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory always set us off into tirades of laughter. My patient Montessori kindergarten teacher just kept on reading, even as we were muttering the lines under our breaths. We repeated it on the playground. I chanted it at home. But it was only one fleeting moment in the magical world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Yes, the first time I heard this book was when I was a mere five years old. My Montessori kindergarten teacher also read to us Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator that year. These two Roald Dahl books that both feature Charlie Bucket as their main character are a classic part of kid lit that should be shared for generations to come. Even as a kid, I could think of people who were similar to each one of the characters. And sadly, as a teacher, I still see them as adults. There is a part of you that always hopes that by reading books about spoiled brats, parents may get a clue, but no. We still have the whiny Veruca Salts who get everything they want by throwing a tantrum. The Augustus Gloops continue to stuff themselves with junk food (although that is slowly changing). I still see some loud Violet Beauregardes who yell and chomp on their gum. And the Mike Teavees of this world have expanded to include kids with DVD players in their cars and who take over their parents iPads and iPhones.

Charlie Bucket is the kind of kid we should all aspire to be. He comes from a large family that cares for each other. The four grandparents live under the same leaky roof as the parents and Charlie. They work hard to scrimp and save for just barely enough to eat. They may get frustrated, but they appreciate the gifts that they do receive. Charlie is sincere and trustworthy. He tries to follow the rules, even if he messes up here and there. He is just a very sweet kid. I was always kind of attached to him.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is definitely not as entertaining, to me, as the first book. In this sequel, they end up up in Outer Space, battling the Vermicious Knids. It is definitely darker than the first book. But I still remember listening with rapt attention. Barb was an excellent reader.

I have tried to read these books to my Montessori Extended Day students. They usually recognize the first book from the movies. The second book rarely goes over quite as well. But it is still worth an attempt. 

What was your favorite Roald Dahl book?

1 comment:

  1. I love Roald Dahl, and Charlie has always been a favorite of mine. I think I loved the chocolate factory and all the candy more, though, haha. I also liked the elevator a lot, although the vicious knids kind of creeped me out in the second book. I think it's harder for kids to get into the second book now because it's more dated by the whole "space race" theme (but we still don't quite have a space hotel...)

    Matilda was another favorite because of her love of books. And every time I eat chocolate cake, I think of the gigantic cake that one kid had to eat at that assembly and imagine eating the whole cake by myself. I could probably do it, too.