I remember as a kid being quite disappointed by this book, having so thoroughly loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now I can see why I wasn't that thrilled with this second one. I wasn't into anything smacking of sci-fi or space travel as a kid. There were probably a few exceptions, but I mostly steered clear of those books. This book is weird. It's almost two books merged into one. The first 92 pages or so is somewhat of a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for kids. It's that weird and off the wall, with the same kind of matter-of-fact absurdity. Willy Wonka could stand in for Zaphod Beeblebrox, Charlie would be Arthur Dent, and Grandmas Josephine and Georgina could co-star as Marvin the pessimistic robot. I don't know who would be Ford Prefect, though. Maybe Grandpa Joe? The rest of the book after they crash back into the Chocolate Factory is a completely different story about pills Willy Wonka has invented that can add to or subtract from your age. It's all very clever, but it lacks the charm and magic of the first book. At the end when Dahl brings the two story lines back together, it seems like an afterthought, like an "oops, better tie everything together and end this thing." There are some very funny moments in the book, most having to do with word play, but they seem to be written for grown-ups rather than for children. The humor and subtext is just too subtle for kids.