Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Have you seen it? The new one? The Johnny Depp one?

I've seen it at least three times now. I like this movie. I love the beginning sequence. I love the music. I love the pink dragon boat. I thought that the characterizations of the kids were spot-on. And I loved what the inside of the factory looked like.

Didn't so much like Johnny Depp's characterization of Willy Wonka though. I thought he took it a bit too far. I also didn't love the Oompa Loompas—though they were a definite improvement over the orange “Oompa Loompa doopity Doop” things of years past. (We aren't even going to talk about what a nauseatingly disgusting experience that movie was for me!) I loved that they used the actual words from the songs in the books for the songs in the movies. I also didn't so much love the back story stuff—all that dentist father stuff. It seemed a bit contrived. . .maybe because it was.

But I'm pretty hard to please on this one. See, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is comfort food for me. It's a thick slice of home made bread with melted cheese on top set next to a bowl of home made tomato soup. It's part of my psyche, actually.

From the time I was old enough to remember to sometime in my early teenage years my mother would sit in the hallway by our room and read to us at bedtime. She always started with simplified scripture stories and then she would read something more fun. The girls would lay in bed and the boys (who slept downstairs) would sit at the top of the stairs and listen.

She read all sorts of books but I only remember two specific titles. James and the Giant Peach (Bump! There goes Aunt Spiker!) and, you guessed it, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Yup, my mom loved Road Dahl.) We probably had this book read to us once a year. That makes it that I've heard it aloud at least 12 times. My mom also didn't just read, she read! Voices. Made up melodies to all songs. Voice cadences. Up and Down. It was a feast for our ears. You see, my mom's an artist—oil painting to be exact. I think that she put her desire to create pictures into the words she was reading. She did Willy Wonka's high flutey voice and Augustus Gloop's gluttony. We heard it all, from silly Oompa Loompa songs to the whoosh of the great glass elevator. It was fun.

My mom's not going to be around much longer. Her health is not great. She's come to terms with her eventual demise. I have not. I don't want her to leave. I want her to sit with my kids and read them Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with all the voices. I want her to be able to hold my kids on her lap and read them Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss. But these days are rapidly ending. She's still on her feet and reading, and yet I sense that it's not going to be much longer. 10 years at most. (Funny, how that time frame seems so short now!)

But I want my kids to experience this, and so, a few months ago, I got a book out and started reading to my kids, complete with voices and silly songs. The best I can do is pass on to my kids what my mom gave me--A love of books and some memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Bet you can't guess what book I started with. . .
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12 Responses
  1. Kimberly Says:

    I actually didn't know this about you! Have you seen Jo Beaufoix's recent post about Roald Dahl? Kind of spook reading both of your posts in the space of a few days.

    For me, it was Danny, Champion of the World. =)

    And I totally agree with your view of the movie.

  2. I totally agree with what you said about the movie. I love Johnny Depp. How could he have gone so wrong?

  3. Emily Says:

    I was not as lucky as you, I discovered Roald Dahl after a trip to the Library. My first was the BFG, and I too was hooked. I made up the voices in my head, and I can just imagine your mother reading to you and your siblings. A beautiful picture you have painted, and as you have stated, a tradition that will continued. A good one.
    Once spring/summer get here, and we get rid of the 'germs', I would love to take your kids so you can have some quality time with your mom. Please take me up on the offer...

  4. Melanie J Says:

    Yeah, the joy of reading has finally taken hold of my nine-year-old. It took years but now he really enjoys it and every night as a family we read aloud "The Sea of Monsters" by Rick Riordan. I know these read-alouds will be one of the memories that we all look back on with the most fondness.

  5. Abra Says:

    So Sorry to read about your mom. I couldn't even imagine, and I think I would miss most about my mother witticisms.
    I love Charlie and The Chocolate Factory,and I also LOVE Johnny Depp. I think he plays such diverse characters, and be a Drama Junkie, I totally would pick the roles he has picked too - because they are so fun. I thought the dentist thing was bit over the top too... but after I watched the movie a few times, I grew to love and appreciate his depiction of Willy Wonka. It did take me a few views though - and I miss the old Oompa Loompa song, even though the words were different, it was a little more catchy... but yes, Good Movie overall!

  6. Linda Says:

    Charlie was the first book that I read to Loren that wasn't a picture book. He loved it. And we've continued with lots of fun books. And tons of Roald Dahl. I guess the love was passed down! We're currently reading George's Marvelous Medicine - which has a really great grandma voice! I love it. It's so fun to read. She's half english and cackly and old and moldy and high-pitched. So fun. One of these days I'll have to get back to Charlie so Adelle can have the experience.

    And for the record, I think that mom is going to live until she's a million. She always gripes, but when she's out here you should see her. She's a different lady! :)

    Love you tons!!!

  7. I haven't seen the movie with Johnny Depp, and I really like him ... so maybe I will pass.

    Maybe you should audio record (or even video record) your mom reading these books. What a treasure to have!

  8. charrette Says:

    I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too! I have yet to see a movie that can do justice to that book...and frankly, the Johnny Depp character kind of gave me the creeps in the trailer so I skipped the movie.

    But the book my mom used to read to us was a fantasy saga written n the 1930s called Thunder Cave. Amazing. Same thing -- voices, accents, made-up melodies. I do believe that's how children come to love books.

  9. I love that you've taken on doing this same thing the same way your mom did for your own kids. It's such an honor to repeat such a gift.

    I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too. I'm with Charrette, I couldn't do the Depp one because he creeped me out!

    I can still remember getting chocolate bars as a kid and pretending I had found the golden ticket. :)

  10. Bluestocking Says:

    I remember these two books. I liked them both. Did you realize that James and the Giant Peach has been on the Banned Book List?

  11. Laine Says:

    I love CATCF too!! Read it to my kids recently, and it's so weird, it's awesome! They were wide-eyed. We'll definitely read it again. :)

    I love you D!

  12. Linda Says:

    I will say to all of you who are passing on the movie that you're really missing out. Even with Johnny Depp being a little weird(although I really loved him in this show) the movie is soooo great that it's worth it all. You should really give it a try!