I don’t normally get my industry news from Scholastic, but the first I’d heard of a “long-lost chapter” in a children’s classic came from the newsprint order form my 8-year-old brought home from school. It advertised “The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets,” a posthumous collection of stories by Roald Dahl, including “a long-last chapter and the original ending" from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
You could have knocked me down with a Wonka bar as I searched for details. There aren’t many early reviews, but one on The Stir confers high praise: “Scrum-diddly-umptious.”
Even the main selling point, the missing chapter titled “Spotty Powder,” has been re-found for a while. The Times of London published this version in 2005. But I’m still ordering the book – for myself, not just my son. I have to know what this “original ending” is about, and, besides, a dose of Dahl is a treat for all ages.
I tore through all Dahl’s books when I was my son’s age, and it wasn’t until I began reading to my children that I realized I had missed one of his best, “The BFG,” published in 1982. Thin short story selections such as “The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me” keep appearing, though to my mind nothing beats “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More,” a collection equally appropriate for children or adults.
Another new look at Dahl is probably best limited to the grownups. An authorized new biography, “Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl,” explores his “dark personal story” and reveals him as “a raging bully,” according to Mediabistro. By that description, I’m not sure I want to know more. From an excerpt here, though, the book appears authoritative and compassionate. I’ll pick it up, too (though not from Scholastic), and doubtless learn more about Dahl than his old report cards would show.
Rebekah Denn blogs at eatallaboutit.com.