Chocolate. Plenty of children (and adults) will name it as their favorite treat, so it’s not hard to identify why kids have been drawn to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for decades. But for Ashley, Circulation Clerk at Xenia Community Library, love of the book goes beyond its candy coating.
“Every kid loves chocolate,” she acknowledges. “But his quirkiness was what I loved about Willy Wonka.”
In the book, reclusive chocolatier Willy Wonka opens his factory to five children for a tour. Inside, they find a confectionary wonderland full of stunning edible landscapes, zany machines, and offbeat but amazing inventions.
“Willy Wonka had a creativeness about him,” Ashley says. “He was different from everybody.” That difference inspired her as a child who loved writing and other artistic activities. If a factory owner can come up with chocolate waterfalls, flavored wallpaper, and a glass elevator that can travel any direction and even fly, why can’t a kid?
Ashley also appreciated the contrast between Charlie and the other children who won Golden Tickets for the factory tour. Charlie Bucket was poor but good-hearted, while the other four winners were each monstrous in their own way. “I thought it was cool that Charlie could get into the factory with people who had so much more than he did,” Ashley says. “And I loved how he could impress Willy Wonka in the end.”