5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

July 23, 2014 Book Review, reviews 17

5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Published by Puffin Genres: Children
Pages: 155
Source: complimentary review copy


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of those timeless classics that teaches life lessons through the unique set characters, especially our protagonist Charlie.  Charlie has every problem in the world it seems like between not enough food, inappropriate clothing and a house way to small for a family of seven.

He has always inspired me – both the movie version that I saw many many years ago and the novel that I’ve only just recently read.  Charlie shows that hope and optimism spring eternal.  While he had nothing – not enough food, heat, shelter, and certainly not chocolate from the beloved Willy Wonka Factory – Charlie maintained his sense of hope.  We don’t hear of him complaining about his grumbling tummy while the kids around him are opening their daily chocolate bars nor does he bemoan the cold while watching others who are bundled to their ears walking into the candy store.

Five Life Lessons We Can Learn From Charlie

There’s No Room for Envy.  Although Charlie has every right to be jealous of all the other children around him according to modern-day standards, we don’t see him comparing himself to those more fortunate nor do we get the sense that he does so.  Charlie is a good, sweet, loving boy.  Jealousy would simply muck that up and makes a good person become all icky.  Instead, Charlie focuses on himself and his family.  That’s one lesson I keep reminding myself to live by, especially in the blogosphere when someone always has more ____ {stats, reviews, followers, clout and Klout, more, more, more}.  As long as I focus on myself then I don’t get caught up in the envy cycle.

Love One Another.  Charlie is the absolute delight of his family.  He shares his annual birthday chocolate and always spends evenings soaking up the stories from his grandparents.

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 Georgiana,” then all four of them would suddenly sit up, and their wrinkled old faces would light up with smiles of pleasure.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Spend Quality Time With Family.  In this crazy busy world we get so caught up in it is way too easy to forget there are those in our lives who want and need our undivided attention.  Just as our children need a parent’s attention, parents also need attention from their children.  Although I am an adult with grown children of my own, I am reminded that I need to spend more time with my mom, just one-on-one.

Keep that Child’s Sense of Wonder.  Watching my grandson get so excited about holding a fuzzy caterpillar reminds me to see the joy and beauty with awe-like fascination.  Being a grown-up means bills, responsibility, bills, jobs, bills. . .did I mention bills?  It’s so easy to forget or lose that sense of wonder.  Spend time with a toddler in nature for an hour and you’ll get a sense of that awe once again.  Every week when I keep The Little Monkey I’m reminded.

Gratitude is a Most Beautiful Thing.  Charlie is grateful.  He cherishes the birthday chocolate he receives yet still tries to share with his family.  When Willy Wonka gives Charlie a bar of chocolate his gratitude is palpable.  Gratitude goes such a long way.  Look at Charlie – he was so grateful for one bar of chocolate that he ended up with a whole entire chocolate factory!

Have I missed any lessons Charlie taught us?

 Share with me in the comments your favorite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Lesson!

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head on over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more!  For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book.   Then join From Left to Write on July 24th as we discuss all things Willy Wonka!  As a book club member, I received a copy for review purposes.



17 Responses to “5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

    • Stacy

      Awww such a good one! especially in this age of entitlement! Thanks so much for your encouragement and help this past week when my site crashed! You are such a dear bloggy friend that I truly treasure. Thank you!!!

  1. ally

    I love the idea of positive lessons learned from Charlie, rather than what I usually take, the truly horrible lessons learned from the rest of the Golden Ticket crew. So pleased that you included the impact of family here, the idea of their central role in Charlie’s life. Simply wonderful.

    • Stacy

      Thanks Ally! I try to keep a positive spin on things and Charlie made it easy! I’m not certain that I know any child with as sweet a disposition as Charlie, but he does give us a model to strive toward!

  2. Becky

    A few years ago, I asked my students to reflect on this book. One of my gifted 3rd graders wrote about a lesson she had learned, that through faith, all things are possible. She talked about Charlie having enough faith to reach into a television set to retrieve a candy bar, about Grandpa Joe having faith in himself to get out of a bed he had not gotten out of in years, and about Mr. Wonka having faith that somewhere in the world there was a child who would be able to keep the spirit of the factory alive. She compared the example of Charlie reaching into the television to the faith we need to have in order to survive in this world…faith to reach out and venture into the unknown (like her mom did by taking the three children and walking away from an abusive husband and father), faith to reach out and follow our hopes and dreams wherever they may lead (like her older cousin did when she packed up and moved to New Mexico to pursue a career in art), and faith to reach out and ask for help (like her mother did when they were thrown out of their apartment and had no where to go).

    This little girl used to carry this book with her. She used to call it her “chocolate Bible” because it showed her how to live her life. 🙂

    • Stacy

      awww Becky your story brought me to tears! What a beautiful inspirational little girl you were teaching. I’m kind of guessing that she was somewhat inspired and empowered by her teacher 😉

      I love that your student honed in on the faith aspect of Charlie, Grandpa Joe and Willy Wonka. It sounds like she saw faith in action on several different levels. I remember my favorite teacher in the whole world introduced me to A Wrinkle in Time at just the time in my life when I needed an unlikely hero such as Meg. It was at that moment that I discovered how a book could be my confidante, best friend, escape and inspiration. You most likely will never be forgotten by your “chocolate Bible” – carrying student. Thank you so so much for sharing this with me.
      Stacy recently posted…5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMy Profile

  3. James Brunt

    I don’t remember much from the book, but the original movie reenforces children to listen to adults when they tell you no. It also serves as a reminder to parents that they are sometimes responsible for their children’s actions and the consequences of those actions.

  4. Victoria

    It makes me cry the movie its so emotional we all want to be wealthy in this world but somrtimes things turn out not that way and we get jelouse for stupid reasons i mean lile why be green with envy when really the things in your life right now is good the only thing you really need in this world is family you font need money all you need is love remember this family will always be there for you dont try to run away or grow up too fast cause life is too short you have to live with joy in your life i mean i know we want to grow up fast im 13 and im growing up way to fasf my family said this dont grow up to fast because you’ll all the joy in your life when you are older you will look back and say i wish i can turn back time just dont depart too fast or move too fast cause family needs you without you they will be lost and its better to be young then be old well thats all

    • Samuel

      Hi Victoria, well said.. at 13, that reflection is truly matured. What you believed will be diluted when you get older but don’t ever let that happen.. With blessings..

    • Stacy Millican

      so very true! Hope you have a good family to enjoy the holidays with! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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