- Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory: The Complete Story of Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket, and Roald Dahl’s Most Famous Creation by Lucy Mangan
Guardian columnist Lucy Mangan channels the irreverent and energetic wit of Dahl himself in this comprehensive exploration of the fifty-year-old but still enormously popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (BCCB 4/65). She draws on everything from personal memory to interviews and memoirs to the history of chocolate to literary criticism, then uses them to highlight Dahl’s writing process, the controversies, the transfer of the book to stage and screen, its interpretation by illustrators, and its many appearances throughout popular culture. Some of her chapters are accessible enough to appeal to middle school, while her thoughtful analysis of the differences in appeal between the 1971 film and Tim Burton’s remake and her witty send-up of the critical reception and literary theory surrounding the book will impress readers with some literary sophistication as well as affection for Dahl. Her whimsical authorial interjections as well as her own rejection of pompous dismissals of Dahl’s achievement ally her firmly with those who are and those who once were child readers, and the many photographs, international book covers, and reprinted illustrations are golden tickets to a museum quality history of the book. Her many opinions about the nature of children’s literature in general have an outlaw feel that will appeal to tweens and teens, and her joyful devotion to Dahl’s project makes literary research itself seem downright scrumdiddlyumptious.