'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' celebrates its 50th birthday

Anniversary celebrations by the book's publisher, Penguin for Young Readers, will include a National Golden Ticket Sweepstakes, through which five children will be able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of Dylan's Candy Bar.

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is by Roald Dahl.

Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“Charlie,” which tells the story of a sweet young boy who wins a national contest and is granted the opportunity to tour the candy factory owned by the mysterious Willy Wonka, has twice been adapted into film: once in a musical version starring Gene Wilder that was released in 1971, and then in a 2005 adaptation starring Johnny Depp.

The book’s publisher, Penguin Young Readers Group, will be celebrating the milestone all year, with one aspect of the celebration reflecting Charlie’s Golden Ticket win. The publisher is pairing with Dylan’s Candy Bar and the nonprofit organization First Book to create the National Golden Ticket Sweepstakes. Five winners will get to go behind the scenes just like the characters of “Charlie” did and Penguin will make a donation to First Book every time someone enters.

Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren said “Charlie” was a major influence on her when she was creating her stores.

“They’ll get to go behind the scenes, be part of our taste testing, co-host a birthday party, merchandise the sales floor, and fill the candy bins,” Lauren said of the winners in an interview with Publishers Weekly. “It will be a real hands-on experience."

$5,000 worth of books will be donated to the winners’ school libraries as well and the winners will get two round-trip New York City tickets and tickets to see Broadway’s “Matilda: The Musical.”

The contest will begin on April 1.

Penguin is making trivia, counter displays, and other decorations available to stores who want to celebrate the milestone as well. 

In addition, anniversary versions of “Charlie” in both hardcover and paperback are now available.

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