Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author: Roald Dahl

Price: $16.95

Extract

Extract

In the evenings, after he had finished his supper of watery cabbage soup, Charlie always went into the room of his four grandparents to listen to their stories, and then afterwards to say good night.

Every one of these old people was over ninety. They were as shrivelled as prunes, and as bony as skeletons, and throughout the day, until Charlie made his appearance, they lay huddled in their one bed, two at either end, with nightcaps on to keep their heads warm, dozing the time away with nothing to do. But as soon as they heard the door opening, and heard Charlie's voice saying, 'Good evening, Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine, and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina,' then all four of them would suddenly sit up, and their old wrinkled faces would light up with smiles of pleasure – and the talking would begin. For they loved this little boy. He was the only bright thing in their lives, and his evening visits were something that they looked forward to all day long. Often, Charlie's mother and father would come in as well, and stand by the door, listening to the stories that the old people told; and thus, for perhaps half an hour every night, this room would become a happy place, and the whole family would forget that it was hungry and poor.

One evening, when Charlie went in to see his grandparents, he said to them, 'Is it really true that Wonka's Chocolate Factory is the biggest in the world?'

'True?' cried all four of them at once. 'Of course it's true! Good heavens, didn't you know that? It's about fifty times as big as any other!'

'And is Mr Willy Wonka really the cleverest chocolate maker in the world?'

'My dear boy,' said Grandpa Joe, raising himself up a little higher on his pillow, 'Mr Willy Wonka is the most amazing, the most fantastic, the most extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen! I thought everybody knew that!'

'I knew he was famous, Grandpa Joe, and I knew he was very clever . . .'

'Clever!' cried the old man. 'He's more than that! He's a magician with chocolate! He can make anything – anything he wants! Isn't that a fact, my dears?'

The other three old people nodded their heads slowly up and down, and said, 'Absolutely true. Just as true as can be.'

And Grandpa Joe said, 'You mean to say I've never told you about Mr Willy Wonka and his factory?'

Never,' answered little Charlie.

'Good heavens above! I don't know what's the matter with me!'

'Will you tell me now, Grandpa Joe, please?'

'I certainly will. Sit down beside me on the bed, my dear, and listen carefully.'

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News

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10 Jul 2014
National Biography Award shortlist announced
The State Library of NSW has announced the shortlist for the National Biography Award, which recognises ‘the continuing importance and value of life writing’. Congratulations to Gideon HaighThe winner will be announced on 4 August at an event at the State Library of NSW, which coincides with the beginning of the library’s Biography Week. Read more about the prize and Biography Week events here.

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