HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Puffin, reprinted in 2007
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (published in 1972 by Alfred A. Knopf Inc.; republished in 2007 by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). At the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Buckett, who has just won a whole chocolate factory from Willy Wonka the eccentric candy maker, is flying through the sky in a great glass elevator along with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Buckett, his grandparents, Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine, and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina, and Mr. Wonka. They visit the world’s first space hotel, but the astronauts who are shuttling the staff to the hotel, and everyone on earth watching the proceedings, including President of the United States Lancelot R. Gilligrass, think that the glass elevator is a space capsule carrying aliens. Then when Charlie and the others land on the space hotel, they find that it has been invaded by real aliens. Who are the invaders? Where did they come from? Will Charlie and his friends escape or will they be gobbled up by the aliens?
Roald Dahl has written some good books and some not-so-good ones. James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr. Fox are all right but nothing to write home about. The Vicar of Nibbleswick is not among my favorites. And Mathilda is one with which I definitely have some objections. However, I really liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a fun story that also illustrated some good principles. Sequels are seldom as good as the originals, and that is the case here. It seems as if Dahl was pressed to provide a follow-up and did so without a real cohesive theme. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is certainly not a bad book, and most kids will probably like it. A few common euphemisms (heck, golly, gee) occur; the phrase “O my lord” is used once as an interjection; the Nanny-Vice-President sings of the President, “I used to sit him on the pot and wait for him to wee;” and there is a reference to drinking gin. Otherwise, it is a somewhat silly children’s tale, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it is a bit disconnected and lacks much of the charm of its predecessor.