Stock up now! The end of chocolate is nigh.
The ancient Chocolati tribe of Easter Egg Island worshipped chocolate, but they also prophesied that the 66th cycle of Cacao-Cacao will bring about the Chocopocalypse. Jennifer “Jelly Welly” Wellington lives with her poor but lovingly wacky parents and grandmother in Chompton-on-de-Lyte, the chocolate center of the world. Although chocolate is about to disappear forever, there’s a new chocolate shop in town. Its owner, Garibaldi Chocolati, claims to offer the best chocolate in the world, but Jelly discovers it’s truly awful. Who is this man dressed like a Victorian big-game hunter who sells terrible chocolate? Jelly and her grandmother are on the trail. Gender roles are slightly subverted: Gran was a scientist; Dad does the sewing; and Mum works long hours to make ends meet. Everyone appears to be white, however, and colonialist and Orientalist themes run deep. Chocolati claims to be descended from a tribe of the same name who celebrated summer solstice by “eating lots of chocolate, drinking lots of tropical concoctions, and generally dancing like there was no tomorrow,” while the sultan of Swang, who embodies the stereotype of the extravagantly rich Arab ruler, pays $5 billion for a bit of chocolate.
Callaghan’s debut possesses many similarities to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and will likely find a place among readers who enjoy Dahl’s humor. (chocolate facts) (Fantasy. 7-12)