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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is a children's book by British author Roald Dahl. A sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it continues the story Charlie Bucket and chocolatier Willy Wonka as they travel in the Great Glass Elevator

It was published in 1972.

Unlike its predecessor, this book has never been adapted to film. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) disappointed Dahl to the point that he refused to have the sequel made into any other media.


The story picks up immediately where the previous book left off, with Charlie and his whole family aboard the flying Great Glass Elevator, en route to the Chocolate Factory which Mr. Wonka intends to give to Charlie. The height to which the Elevator ascends frightens Charlie's family sending the Elevator in the wrong direction. As a result, the Elevator goes into orbit, where Wonka docks them at a Space Hotel. Grandma Georgina was very stubborn so she grabbed Mr Wonka by his coattails and she yanked him backwards.

In the White House, President Lancelot R. Gilligrass, Vice President Elvira Tibbs, the president's best friend, chiefs, and the U.S. Cabinet see the Elevator dock with the Space Hotel, and fear it contains hostile agents of a foreign or extraterrestrial government, while the space shuttle containing the hotel staff and three astronauts approaches the Space Hotel. On the Hotel, Wonka and the others hear the President address them across a radio link as Martians, and Wonka therefore teases Gilligrass with nonsense words and grotesque poetry. In the midst of this, the hotel's own elevators open, revealing five gigantic amoeba-like monsters, which change shape: each forming a letter of the word 'SCRAM'. Recognising the danger, Mr. Wonka orders everybody off the Space Hotel. These shape-changers, Mr. Wonka tells the others, are predatory extraterrestrials called Vermicious Knids, waiting in the Space Hotel to consume its staff and guests. Mr. Wonka also explains that the Knids have tried to invade Earth and consume its inhabitants like they have done with many other planets but they have two weaknesses, one is that they cannot invade Earth due to the atmosphere protecting the planet, and that Knids foolish enough to attempt this get burnt up in the sky, which are often thought of as shooting stars. The other weakness of the Knids is that they are show-offs, and could not resist signaling their victims with the word "SCRAM" prior to their attempt to eat Charlie, Wonka. and Charlie's family.Upon the Elevator's departure, the staff and astronauts go aboard, and the Knids consume twenty-four of the staff, while the others escape. The Knids dive-bomb the shuttle, destroying the rockets, cameras, and radio antenna, apparently stranding the occupants in space. Seeing all this from the Great Glass Elevator, Charlie suggests that he and his companions tow the shuttle back to Earth, as Wonka had anticipated such an event and made the Great Glass Elevator impervious to Knid attacks, or "Knidproof". Wonka pilots the Elevator into range, whereupon Grandpa Joe connects the two vessels by means of a steel cord. The Knids change into living segments of a towing line, with which to capture the two spacecraft, while a single Knid wraps his body around the Elevator to provide an anchor for this operation; whereupon Willy Wonka returns the Elevator to Earth, and the Knids are incinerated in the atmosphere. At the right moment, Mr. Wonka releases the shuttle, which floats safely home. The Elevator then crashes back down through the roof of the chocolate factory, but thanks to Mr. Wonka's expert piloting, the hurtling Elevator perfectly engages inside another of the same shafts that it had exited from in the first book, and rolls smoothly downward to a normal stop inside the factory.

Despite Charlie's urging, and Mr. Wonka's intention for Charlie's family to help him with the factory's operations, Grandma Georgina, Grandpa George, and Grandma Josephine still refuse to leave their bed. Wonka gives them a rejuvenation formula, called 'Wonka-Vite'. The three bedridden recipients take much more than they need, and they each lose eighty years. Grandpa George reverts to one year old, Grandma Josephine three months, and Grandma Georgina - who was only seventy-eight years old - vanishes altogether, having become "minus two". Charlie and Mr. Wonka journey in the Great Glass Elevator to 'Minusland' (a limbo containing those subject to Grandma Georgina's transformation, discovered by Mr. Wonka when his initial experiments to create Wonka-Vite were too powerful), Minusland is also populated by vicious monsters called Gnoolies that turn people and Minuses into more Gnoolies by biting them. There Mr. Wonka restores her with 'Vita-Wonk', a sprayable compound that makes people older. Upon her return, Grandma Georgina has become 358 years old, and her memory entails a long history beginning with the voyage in the ship Mayflower. Mrs. Bucket is shocked at having such a mother with such an Adamiac age. When Georgina wishes to return to her rightful age of 78, Mr. Wonka creates a serum of fourteen Wonka-Vite pills. This has an effect of seeing Georgina go through many points of history, such as the American Revolution {"Yorktown's surrendered; those dirty Brits!}. the War Between the States {"Gettysburg, we got 'em, General Lee's on the run!"} and more recent events until she is back to her proper age. Mr. Wonka and Charlie see about returning Josephine and George to their proper ages, though Georgina is hestiant. Charlie explains that this liquid form of Vita-Wonk is more controlled; they had to use aerosol in her case as she was a Minus. Georgina sure hopes so, remarking she does not want a "20,000 year old caveman" for a husband. The babies are returned to their appropriate ages.

Immediately afterwards, the Oompa-Loompas tell Mr. Wonka that Marine One has landed near the factory and give him a letter from President Gilligrass, in which he says that that radar tracked the Glass Elevator to Wonka's factory, making Gilligrass see that Wonka was responsible. The President congratulates the occupants of the Great Glass Elevator for saving 136 people and invites them as the guests of honour to the White House for dinner. Charlie and Grandpa Joe say goodbye to the three other grandparents, saying their bed cannot fit in Marine One, so they have no choice but to decline the invitation, which is all for the best as they are too tired to handle life anyway. However, Grandmas Josephine and Georgina, as well as Grandpa George leap out of bed and frantically board along with the rest, not wanting to miss out on this chance. Charlie remarks how their adventures have only "just begun", but then the grandparents realize, too late, that they cannot show up to the White House in their pyjamas! Wonka solves this when they come near a big city and asks Marine One to touch down on the roof of a department store, where he pays for the grandparents to get attired in appropriate eveningwear.

Unfinished sequel[]

A follow-up to the book was planned, called either Charlie in the White House or Charlie Meets the President. Charlie's family and Willy Wonka are invited by President Gilligrass to have dinner at the White House, as thanks for rescuing the Space Shuttle from its attack by the Vermicious Knids. However, Dahl only completed the first chapter, which is on display at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden.



  1.  Bishop, Tom (11 July 2005). "Willy Wonka's everlasting film plot"BBC News. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  2. Jump up ^ Chilton, Martin (18 November 2010). "The 25 best children's books"The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  3. Jump up ^ "Charlie in the White.".