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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Not up to the original, but entertaining.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some sly satire on the American politics of the 1970's, but on the whole nothing too overt or negative. The sequel does lack the timelessness of the first, however.

Positive role models

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  fame is back, and he is just as good as ever.

Violence & scariness

Battles with aliens, some deaths. The creepy aliens might frighten some very young children.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book has vividly described, highly whimsical events, accompanied by clever sketches, but the story is a pale shadow of the original. It has highly descriptive -- and, at times, invented -- language, and references to the Cold War.

What's the story?

When we last saw Charlie, at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he was sailing through the sky with his family in Willy Wonka's Great Glass Elevator. At the beginning of this sequel, the flying Elevator accidentally hurtles into outer space, where a Commuter Capsule is shuttling its passengers to the Space Hotel U.S.A.

The Capsule's astronauts mistake the Elevator's passengers for aliens. But there are real aliens inside the Space Hotel--slimy Vermicious Knids. Mr. Wonka, Charlie, and his family escape just in time, but some of the Capsule's passengers not so lucky--several of them are killed. For a while, it looks like the aliens will get them all. But Mr. Wonka uses the Great Glass Elevator to get everyone safely back to earth, where the President, a bit of a buffoon, invites them to the White House.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This zippy tale is enjoyable enough, but it doesn't live up to the promise of Roald Dahl's first tale of Charlie Bucket's adventures with Willy Wonka. The main problem is that the story just isn't as timeless as the first. Surely adults will recognize the sly satire of the American space program and the Cold War of the early '70s, but children probably won't.

What is timeless, though, is Dahl's irreverent wit and irrepressible imagination. Children will be charmed when Mr. Wonka uses bad nonsense poetry to convince astronauts and the gullible authorities back on Earth that he is an alien invader. Readers will also be thrilled by the real aliens, the inventively named Vermicious Knids, who are horrifyingly stretchy egg-shaped creatures with disgusting "greenish-brown skin of a shiny, wettish appearance." If your children haven't come across Charlie and the Chocolate Factory yet, make sure they read it first.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about aging. What do the grandparents learn from their experience with Wonka's pills?

Book details

Author:Roald Dahl
Illustrator:Quentin Blake
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1972
Number of pages:176

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Adult Written byWahm2boys April 9, 2008

VIOLENT INDEED.. WRITER WENT OVERBOARD..

Aliens that kill the naughty kids.. Not a good read or lesson to teach any child or adult for that matter.. Leave this book at the store...
Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008

ITS THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD

Teen, 14 years old Written byCaesar_12219 April 9, 2008
This may be a book that you would take the trouble taking out of a library, but to be frank, it really isn't worth spending the money on. It gives the sense that Dahl is just trying to build on the previous book and have it piggyback on its fame, but it just lacks the color and character of the earlier book.