Mr. Bucket reads a declaration by Mr. Wonka in the newspaper. After ten years of mystery, he is inviting five children to tour his factory. He will be their tour guide. Furthermore, at the end of the tour, each child will leave the factory with a lifetime supply of Wonka goodies. The five invitations to his factory are hidden within five Wonka chocolate bars in the form of golden tickets. The tickets may be anywhere that Wonka candy bars are sold, and they are the only means of entry into the factory. Mr. Wonka closes his declaration by wishing everyone good luck.
Grandma Josephine is too ill to respond. Grandma Georgina thinks Mr. Wonka is crazy, Grandpa George is amazed, and Grandpa Joe is incredibly excited, claiming that Wonka is a genius. His golden ticket scheme will raise chocolate bar sales around the world. Grandpa Joe plants the seed in Charlie’s mind that he could find one of the golden tickets, though Charlie assumes it would be nearly impossible. Grandma Georgina reminds Charlie that he has as much chance as anyone of finding a golden ticket when he receives a chocolate bar on his upcoming birthday. Grandpa George quickly contradicts his wife, explaining that Charlie only gets one bar a year and the winners will be children who can afford endless bars of chocolate.
A newspaper article tells the Bucket family that Augustus Gloop, a tremendously fat little boy, has found the first ticket. The town in which Augustus lives throws a parade in his honor. His mother explains to the newspaper how proud she is of her son. She explains that Augustus was bound to find a ticket because of his gigantic appetite. After all, eating is his hobby, which Mrs. Gloop defends as being better than being a hooligan or playing with toy guns. She also explains that Augustus would not eat so much unless he needed the nourishment. Charlie’s grandmothers respond to the article with disgust. After Augustus finds the first ticket, the entire world becomes preoccupied with finding the remaining four tickets. Stories abound of parents and children alike searching for the tickets. Mothers buy chocolate bars by the dozen, children destroy their piggy banks, and one gangster even robs a bank in order to get money to buy chocolate bars. A Russian woman claims to find the second ticket, but it turns out to be a fake. An English scientist creates a machine to determine whether a golden ticket exists within a bar of chocolate without unwrapping it, but while demonstrating the machine he inadvertently steals a gold filling from a duchess’s mouth.
The second ticket is found on the day before Charlie’s birthday. The newspaper reports that the finder is a girl named Veruca Salt. Her father is the wealthy owner of a peanut shelling factory, which is the key to Veruca’s find. After Veruca demands a golden ticket of her father, he demands that all of his employees stop shelling peanuts and begin shelling candy bars until someone finds a golden ticket for his daughter. Mr. Salt purchases truckloads of candy bars and his employees unwrap them every day and every night. Veruca gets more and more angry with each day that passes, throwing temper tantrums and demanding her ticket. On the fourth day of the candy bar shelling, one of Mr. Salt’s employees finally unwraps a golden ticket, which Mr. Salt uses to coax a smile from his daughter. Grandma Josephine and Grandma Georgina remark what a hideous girl Veruca must be. Even Charlie thinks Mr. Salt’s behavior is unfair. Grandpa Joe explains to Charlie that Mr. Salt spoils Veruca and that nothing good comes from spoiling a child. Mrs. Bucket calls Charlie to bed, reminding him that tomorrow is his birthday and that he will get his own chocolate bar to unwrap. Grandpa Joe asks Charlie to unwrap the bar in front of his grandparents.
Dahl continues to distinguish Grandpa Joe from the other grandparents by infusing him with even more positive qualities. The other grandparents are all old and stodgy, and none of them engages Charlie the way Grandpa Joe does. Grandpa Joe’s reaction to Mr. Wonka further differentiates Grandpa Joe from the others. Whereas the other grandparents think Mr. Wonka is crazy for sending out his golden tickets, Grandpa Joe thinks Mr. Wonka is a genius. Both Charlie and Grandpa Joe feel a childlike reverence for Mr. Wonka.
Chapters 5 and 6 establish the darker side of children while also highlighting the culpability of parents for their children’s shortcomings. Dahl describes Augustus Gloop as an enormously fat child and subtly attributes Augustus’ size to his mother’s incompetence. Mrs. Gloop mistakenly thinks her son’s enormous appetite is caused by his desire for nutrients. Her deficient parenting results in Augustus’s obesity. Similarly, Veruca Salt is a miserable brat, but her father feeds her demanding nature. Mr. Salt explains to reporters that he chooses to put all of his considerable resources into finding a golden ticket for his daughter in order to appease her. The implication is that if these parents did not overly indulge their children, they would be much better off and much happier people.