Wednesday 31 January 2024

Wonka: The Story before the Chocolate Factory by Sibeal Pounder (Penguin Random House, Australia) PB RRP $19.99 9780241618134

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Wonka is inspired by Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This book is based on the screenplay Wonka by Simon Farnably & Paul King (story by Paul King).

Sibeal Pounder is the author of the bestselling Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series. The Secret of Platform 13 is his first standalone novel. His latest book tells the wondrous story of how Willy Wonka came to be the world’s greatest inventor, magician, and chocolate-maker.

Charlie lost his mother at a young age: she is the one who gave him the desire to create the best chocolate in the world. Charlie sets sail on the seas for seven years gaining knowledge before arriving at the world-famous Galeries Gourmet determined to open the best chocolate shop in the world. However, a trio of jealous chocolatiers are determined to destroy Charlie and his dream. He is tricked into a lifetime of drudgery inside a washhouse where he makes friends with others who have been banished, too. With their help, Charlie is determined to fulfil his chocolate destiny.

Pounder has written a story that has the same magic and feel as the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The voice and characterisation of Charlie is great, and Pounder uses word play and language that sings. Willy and Noodle stand by the gargantuan steel door to the vault. There is wonder, humour and the use of wondrous imagination to create a fantasy world that is both believable and magical. Chocolate is the main theme throughout from the beginning to the end.

Willy walks back to the wash house, his mind whirring as always. There is a new chocolate idea or two bouncing about in there, along with a pressing problem to solve.

The names of the three villainous chocolatiers have child appeal - Slugsworth, Fickelgruber and Prodnose. The book's pace ensures the reader wants to keep turning the pages to learn more. The ideas are unique and take the reader on a chocolate journey that’s enthralling and entertaining.

Wonka: The Story before the Chocolate Factory is a wondrous 336 page read for children aged 8 to 13 years told with great humour and attention to detail. Readers of the original story will also love this book. I can see children, parents, teachers, and librarians gravitating towards it, especially as there is a movie about the book, too. For those that want to escape the world for a while, this book will do the trick.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.