20 Bad Books To Give To Young Kids

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13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Yeah, this one is a bit of low-key hanging fruit. Even if you’ve only ever seen the movie, you know there’s a lot of weird stuff going on. Remember that scene in the tunnel where everyone’s convinced that Willy Wonka might just murder them all? It doesn’t help that the general conceit of the story revolves around a deeply odd single man who runs a candy factory.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the book is even more menacing. Roald Dahl (who wrote many fine books that, while meant for children, are still pretty scary) wrote the book version in 1964.

Many of the plot points remain in the 1974 film version, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The protagonist, Charlie Bucket, is stalked by a man who turns out to be an employee of Wonka. The “bad” children – Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop, and Mike Teavee – all still manage to meet ominous fates. And it still turns out that Wonka, childless and alone, has created the contest as a way to find his heir.

Oddly enough, the book is little gentler on the less successful kids. Dahl makes sure that we know they’re still alive, though greatly altered. Violet remains bright purple, for instance, and August is squeezed thin by his journey through a pipe.