Charlie in the White House: Roald Dahl’s unwritten sequel

I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that there was to be a third book in Roald Dahl’s Charlie series, titled Charlie in the White House. It would’ve furthered the story started in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and continued in the considerably-less-well-known Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

It’s unknown what Charlie in the White House would’ve been about, beyond the obvious implied in the title. In Glass Elevator Charlie and Willy Wonka rescue an American space hotel overrun by Vermicious Knids (among other things; the scariest and therefore best part of the book comes when one of Charlie’s grandparents takes too many age-reversing pills and has to be rescued from Minusland, a gloomy underworld inhabited by the Gnoolies), and in recognition of their feat they’re invited to visit the White House by President Lancelot R. Gilligrass, a buffoon in the thrall of his strict nanny.

Presumably Willy Wonka would’ve mindfucked Gilligrass a little more in Charlie in the White House but Dahl only wrote one chapter, which is apparently on display in the Roald Dahl Museum in England. Unfortunately they don’t have said chapter available on their website – a shame, since there must be a tonne of adults out there with fond Charlie memories (like me!) who’d love to know what Dahl had in store for him next. Maybe next time I’m in England I’ll pop in and ask to have a quick read.

(Pictured: the Glass Elevator cover I had as a child. Probably the only Dahl book I owned that wasn’t illustrated by Quentin Blake.)


Sam Downing


12 thoughts on “Charlie in the White House: Roald Dahl’s unwritten sequel

  1. Oh, I'd totally forgotten about this book. I had a copy with the exact same cover and everything. But it was really one of my least-liked Dahl books (hence repressing its memory until now, I guess). My favourite Dahl books were (in no particular order): The Twits, Esio Trot, The Enormous Crocodile, Matilda and Boy. I was shit scared of both The BFG and The Witches, and just plain didn't like James and the Giant Peach for some reason I can't remember.

  2. It would have been interesting to see how Mr Wonka squares off with that strict nanny. Would she have met his match in him? Or would he have met his match in her?

  3. Great to have this post. Particularly  on a children’s book and roald dahl . Maybe we could leave out the gratuitous  language given that kids maybe reading it, and also in the spirit and celebration of words  let us use beautiful  words .

  4. Charlie In The White House Chapter 1 By Roald daul Discoved By George Back

    The President of the United States was standing on the lawn of The White House. He was surrounded by all the most important people in the country. They were wearing their best clothes and there was an air of tremendous excitement everywhere. The President himself was gazing anxiously at the sky. He was searching for the helicopter which was due to arrive at any minute. This helicopter, as everyone knew, was bringing to The White House the eight brave astronauts who only a few hours before had rescued an American spaceship when it was attacked by a swarm or Vermicious Knids.So, standing on the lawn were:The President of the United States, Lancelot R Gilligrass, the most powerful man on earth.The Vice-President, Miss Tibbs, a gigantic and fearsome lady of eighty-nine who had been the President’s nanny when he was small.Then we had the President’s Inner Cabinet. This consisted of five men. They were the President’s closest advisers and they were all immensely powerful. Together with the President and Vice-President, these five men ran the country. They were:The Chief of the Army: General Horsebrass, who was wearing so many medal-ribbons they covered not only the front and back of his tunic but ran all the way down his pants as well.The Chief of the Navy, Admiral Tarbuncle, who was all at sea on land.The Director of Sewage and Garbage Disposal, the Honourable I. M. Ponky, who was standing all by himself because nobody wanted to come too close to him, even downwind.The Director of Public Relations and Bamboozlement, Wilbur G Pocus, known as Hocus to his friends.The co-ordinator of Hi-Fi and Hearing Aids, Mr. Bugsy Tape, who was hiding in a hollow tree and recordng every word that was spoken on The White House lawn.There were lots of other famous and important people there, but there isn’t room to mention them all. (The Unfinished End)

  5. Someone probably is trying to finish it for Dahl. But much would depend on how well he had planned it out beyond the first chapter and what synopsis he left, particularly for the ending. Otherwise the writer’s imagination will have to fill the blanks as best they can. Or it may be too incomplete to finish, as was the case with Herge’s unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art.

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