Now that Margaret likes chapter books I’ve been having a lot of fun reading out loud to her. Most recently we finished Elizabeth Enright’s “The Saturdays”. The library didn’t have “The Four Story Mistake”, the next book in the series, so this I have been reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to her.
I never liked the movies of Charlie, and now as I read it I can see why. The 1970s version had a corporate espionage theme going on, where the kids are instructed to steal an everlasting gobstopper for a Bad Guy “or else”. So that makes the movie about greed and temptation. The book, on the other hand, is actually about how horrid some kids are and how the parents spoil them, and now that I am a parent that makes me smile. I love the way Charlie’s grandparents hear the stories of the children who have found golden tickets and are horrified at what little brats the kids are.
I’m almost sorry that Charlie is so poor (“no matter how quickly his father screwed the tops on the toothpaste tubes he never got paid any more money”). It equates good with poverty and bad with money, and while all too often children of privilege are indeed spoiled, it’s fortunate that not all are.
It’s also interesting that both Charlie and the Melendy series (“The Saturdays” etc.) are about kids without money. I’d forgotten about all of the signs that the Melendys have little money–the water stain on the ceiling of the playroom, and the finicky coal furnace that nearly kills them all from coal gas, to name just two. The reality is both Charlie Bucket and the Melendys are living rich lives. I think this is a lesson that comes at a good time for us all.
There are other favorites from my youth that I’m hoping to read to Margaret: the stories about the Moffat family (also set during WWII), and the Edward Eager magic series. I like Roald Dahl, though I need to watch that the stories are not too dark, so I’m thinking “Danny the Champion of the World” would be a nice one of Dahl’s. The fun part is picking out a book, being told by Margaret that she’s not interested in it, and reading just enough to suck her in.