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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Original book cover of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator with illustrations by Joseph Schindelman
Author Roald Dahl
Illustrator Joseph Schindelman (1st US edition)
Faith Jaques (1st UK edition)
Michael Foreman (2nd edition)
Quentin Blake (3rd edition)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Fantasy
Children's novel
Science Fiction
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 159
ISBN ISBN 0-394-82472-5 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 314239
LC Class PZ7.D1515 Ck3
Preceded by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Followed by Charlie in the White House (unfinished)

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is a children's book by British author Roald Dahl. It is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, continuing the story of young Charlie Bucket and eccentric candymaker Willy Wonka as they travel in the Great Glass Elevator.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1972, and in the United Kingdom by George Allen & Unwin in 1973.

Unlike its predecessor, a film version of this book has never been produced. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) disappointed Dahl to the point that he refused to have a film version produced.[1] Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have announced that they have no intention of producing a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory although elements from Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator are seen at the end of the film.

Dahl had intended to write a third book in the series but never finished it.[2]


  • Plot summary 1
  • Sequel 2
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • Editions 4
  • References 5

Plot summary

The book commences with the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Willy Wonka has just given Charlie the ownership of his chocolate factory, and they crash through the roof of Charlie's family's house in a flying Elevator to inform his family of the good news. Charlie's grandparents (except Grandpa Joe, already mobile) after twenty years in bed, refuse to leave it, and the bed is carried in the Elevator itself. At a critical moment during the return trip to the factory, a panicking Grandma Josephine draws Wonka from the controls, and the Elevator is sent into an extra-atmospheric orbit, wherein it circles the Earth until Wonka sees the chance to link it with the newly launched Space Hotel'U.S.A.': a luxurious hotel with 500 rooms commissioned by the United States government.

In the White House, President of the United States 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, Wonka orders everybody off the Space Hotel. These shape-changers, Wonka tells the others, are predatory extraterrestrials called Vermicious Knids, waiting in the Space Hotel to consume its staff and guests. Wonka also explains that the Knids have tried to invade Earth and consume its inhabitants like they have done with many other planets (Mars, Venus and the Moon, among others) but are always incinerated because of the atmosphere protecting the planet.

Upon the Elevator's departure, the staff and astronauts go aboard, and the Knids consume 24 of the staff, while the others escape. Capable of flying in space at improbable speeds, the Knids dive-bomb the shuttle's engines and hull, destroying the rockets, the cameras, and the radio antenna, apparently dooming the occupants to a lifetime stranded in space. Seeing all this from the "Knidproof" Great Glass Elevator, Charlie suggests that he and his companions to tow the shuttle back to Earth. In agreement, Wonka pilots the Elevator into range, whereupon Charlie's 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, Wonka releases the shuttle, which floats safely home. The Elevator then crashes into the chocolate factory.

Though requested by Charlie, his grandparents Georgina, George, and Josephine still refuse to move out of their bed, and Wonka prescribes a

Upon the arrival of messengers, the Oompa-Loompas give Wonka a letter from President Gilligrass, congratulating the occupants of the Great Glass Elevator on saving the lives of the shuttle astronauts and hotel staff and inviting them as the guests of honor to a White House dinner. The grandparents therefore leap out of bed and join Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Wonka, and Charlie's parents to enter the helicopter sent to obtain them.


A follow-up to the book was planned, called Charlie in the White House. 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. Dahl only wrote the first chapter, which is on display at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre[3] in Great Missenden, where Dahl had lived between 1954 and his death in 1990.

Awards and nominations


  • ISBN 0-141-80780-6 (audio CD read by Eric Idle)
  • ISBN 0-375-91525-7 (library binding, 2001)
  • ISBN 0-394-92472-X (library servings, 1972)
  • ISBN 0-375-81525-2 (hardcover, 2001)
  • ISBN 0-670-85249-X (hardcover, 1995)
  • ISBN 0-394-82472-5 (hardcover, 1972)
  • ISBN 0-14-240412-8 (paperback, 2005)
  • ISBN 0-14-131143-6 (paperback, 2001)
  • ISBN 0-14-038533-9 (paperback, 1997)
  • ISBN 0-14-037155-9 (paperback, 1995)
  • ISBN 0-14-032870-X (paperback, 1988)
  • ISBN 0-14-032043-1 (paperback, 1986, illustrated by Michael Foreman)
  • ISBN 0-14-030755-9 (paperback, 1975)
  • ISBN 0-04-823106-1 (board book, 1973)


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