Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was written to entertain Dahl’s disabled son Theo, was a phenomenal commercial success. Critic Elaine Moss wrote in The New York Times Book Review that the work “is the funniest children’s book I have read in years; not just funny but shot through with a zany pathos that touches the young heart.” The Chinese edition included the largest number of printings of any book at the time.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was illustrated by Joseph Schindelman. Schindelman was later replaced by Quentin Blake. Dahl’s book agent was Ann Watkins, who had represented Dahl in his earlier work and who would remain his representative throughout the rest of his career.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of an impoverished child, Charlie Bucket, who lives with his parents and four grandparents, and who is allowed to buy a candy bar once each year on his birthday. One day Charlie uses money found in the street to buy a candy bar and in doing so wins a trip to the candy bar’s manufacturer, the factory of Willy Wonka, an eccentric town figure who has not been seen in years.
Entering the factory with five other ch...
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...olent master. Cameron also decried the book as showing a “phony presentation of poverty” and objected to the sadistic overtones of the punishments to which the children are subjected. Cameron and Dahl engaged in several heated debates in print over the nature of the book.
In response to the charges of racism, Dahl changed some of the text, and several of the illustrations were changed for subsequent editions. The new version describes the Oompa-Loompas as having long golden-brown hair and white skin and coming from Loompaland, a fictional country, instead of Africa. The new version was introduced in 1973.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory won the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians Award in 1972 and the Surrey School Award in 1973. In 1973, Allen & Unwin published a U.K. edition of the book that featured the changes made to the revised U.S. edition.
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