Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Last night Brent asked what I was working on.  “A novel unit for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I answered.  He said, “That was a book before it was a movie?”  I just looked at him, blankly.  Sometimes I forget the difference in regular street knowledge and teacher knowledge.  “Of course it was a book before it was a movie!” I answered, “Don’t you remember reading it as a kid?”  Brent shook his head so I checked the copyright on the book.  It was written in 1964, over a decade even before my older man was born.  “A classic!” I told him.

There’s something extra special about writing a novel unit for a book I loved as a kid.  I found myself rereading passages, both as I relived the way I pictured them 20 years ago and in awe of how exactly they planned the original movie to match the book (think Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp).  This may very well be THE most fun children’s book to read and then watch the movie adaptation for—it’s just delightful the way the characters and setting were brought to life to life so accurately 40 years ago without the benefit of computer technology.

This novel unit finishes off a set of Roald Dahl units that I plan to use in my own classroom in April for a Roald Dahl author study.  I simply love Roald Dahl.  None of his books are necessarily my very favorite stand-alone children’s book, but he IS my favorite all-around children’s author.  He was a creative genius, plain and simple and his books are rich with inspiring and heart-warming themes. 

It’s always different to study a book as an adult than it was when I was younger, and this time I was struck by the fact that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a whole lot more than Oompa-Loompas and chocolate rivers.  It’s about hope and a mind-blowing turn of events for a boy named Charlie Bucket whose life had seemed hopeless.  As Willy Wonka told Charlie in the last chapter,  You mustn’t despair!  Nothing is impossible!” (p. 152)  Let this classic novel remind you…

(20% off in my TPT store through Saturday)

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