Aside from Greek Myths, which technically has chapters, the first – and in my opinion, best – chapter book I remember reading as a kid was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If Roald Dahl books didn’t form the backbone of your book collection when you were a child, I feel a little bad for you because all of them ruled.Charlie has everything a kid could want: mindless creepiness, a totally sympathetic main character, a balls-out fantastic grandparent, a cast of smug asshole children that the main character is better than without even really doing anything, midgets, and candy. Plus, there were the awesome snide songs sung by the Oompa-Loompas, god bless ’em.
As an added bonus to how fucking great Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was, you then have to add in the original movie version Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, just watch the boat scene:
Mother of god. Even at seven I knew whoever came up with that could afford the good shit from his dealer. And Gene Wilder? Perfect. Observe:
Let’s ignore the fact that it is unbelievably creepy and manipulative to adopt a kid to run your chocolate factory to make sure they’ll never do anything a way you don’t like and focus on the fact that Gene Wilder is the only person who could have pulled off the disturbing, bipolar, and insane character that is Willy Wonka. Too perfect.
I’m very grateful that my teachers and parents adored Roald Dahl, because I’m convinced my life would have been a lot poorer without books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and James and the Giant Peach. I also wouldn’t have nearly as twisted a worldview, which is another gigantic plus in the Dahl column. The only word of advice I can offer is never, ever watch the remake movie with Johnny Depp. There’s absolutely no comparison.