Monday, January 27, 2014


If a journey through a great children’s book is a bit like being a kid in a candy store, then what about a great children’s book filled with magical and mysterious candy? Every Flavor Beans, Everlasting Gobstoppers, Peak Performance Gum… an embarrassment of sugar-filled riches. Of course, some are more magical than others, some more mysterious, some more appealing. So (since Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published 50 years ago this month) we at the Why Not 100 have taken it upon ourselves to rank a bunch of them—from the very best to the very worst (you can decide where that line is drawn).

After all… why not?

You’ll notice, of course, the list is almost entirely dominated by the creations of three authors. That’s because Brandon Mull’s Candy Shop Wars, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Roald Dahl’s delicious masterpiece are brimming with the best magical treats. And maybe some of your favorite, sweetest books didn’t make the list. But like candy, every ranking is inherently a preference. This is ours, starting with what we believe is the ultimate in confectionary wonder:

1. Wonka Bar (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl)

Yes, it’s really just a candy bar. But the notion of five of them—among the millions sold—containing a Golden Ticket that promises entrée into a “world of pure imagination,” not to mention a lifetime supply of chocolate… can you really beat that?

2. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

“A Risk With Every Mouthful!” So goes the advertisement for perhaps the most famous sweet in the wizarding world. It’s the risk that appeals—certainly not the taste. Sure, you can find chocolate or peppermint or coconut or strawberry. But you can also find sardine or liver or ear wax or vomit. Buyer beware.

3. Brain Feed (The Candy Shop War)

Not for human consumption. But if you feed some to an animal, the beast temporarily gains human intelligence, including the power of speech and memory. Dr. Dolittle meets the Candy Man.

4. Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

One stick of gum offering tomato soup, roast beef and baked potato, and a dessert of blueberry pie and ice cream. It would revolutionize dieting—if only Willy Wonka could solve the dessert issue.

5. Peak Performance Gum (The Candy Shop War)

Just like the name says, a stick of this and you’re suddenly unbeatable, whether it’s an arcade or the Olympics. Think of the possibilities…

6. Everlasting Gobstoppers (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

“I am inventing them for children who are given very little pocket money. You can put an Everlasting Gobstopper in your mouth and you can suck it and suck it and suck it and suck it and it will never get any smaller!” Might be heavenly. Might be frustrating.

7. Moon Rocks (The Candy Shop War)

Take a bite and temporarily reduce gravity’s effect by about 92 percent. Weightlessness without the nasty nausea. A high jumper’s ultimate steroid.

8. Fizzing Whizbees (Harry Potter)

A massive sherbet ball sounds tasty itself. But this one also makes you levitate.

9. Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (Harry Potter)

You can fill a room with bluebell-colored bubbles that won’t pop for days. Not good for the balloon business.

10. Spider Bites (The Candy Shop War 2: Arcade Catastrophe)

Just a nibble, and suddenly you’re Spiderman, climbing walls and spitting webs.

11. Magical Candy Cane (The Taste of Snow by Stephen V. Masse)

In the Austrian Alps, a girl is given a “magical candy cane,” but senses negative things happening after she eats it, not recognizing all the positive developments at the same time. In the end, thanks to the candy cane, she finally realizes the importance of being thankful for the good, even amid the bad. Candy as epiphany.

12. Frost Bites (The Candy Shop War)

“They’ll make your body radiate intense cold while you suck on them. Water will freeze in your presence, and you’ll be immune to the effects of heat and fire.” Cool.

13. Crackpot Whistling Sweets (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming)

“They’re really seemed to be something special about Commander Pott’s invention—a little touch of genius,” wrote Fleming in the book upon which the movie was loosely based. In the film, they’re known as Toot Sweets—candies that double as whistles. In the book, Lord Skrumshus pays one thousand pounds for them—enough to buy a car.

14. Ironhide (The Candy Shop War)

A jawbreaker that makes you virtually unbreakable. Did you fall 50 feet onto concrete and glass? Just brush it off.

15. Camouflage Caramels (The Candy Shop War 2: Arcade Catastrophe)

Want to blend in? Eat one of these, and suddenly you’re camouflaged like a chameleon.

16. Toothflossing Stringmints (Harry Potter)

Is it a stroke of genius to invent candy that cleans your teeth, or does it ruin all the fun?

17. Cavity-Filling Caramels (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

See above.

18. Supervitamin-Chocolate (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Supervitamin Chocolate contains huge amounts of vitamin A and vitamin B. Also nearly every vitamin between vitamin C and vitamin Z. The only two vitamins it doesn’t have in it are vitamin S (because it makes you sick) and vitamin H (because it makes horns grow on top of your head).

19. Melting Pot Mixers (The Candy Shop War)

Little balls of chocolate that temporarily alter your race. Might this be the solution for bigotry—temporarily walking in another man’s skin? Or might it be misappropriated and used for nefarious purposes of placing false blame?

20. Swudge Grass (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Imagine playing touch football and stopping for a snack break. “The grass you are standing on, my dear little ones, is made of a new kind of soft, minty sugar that I’ve just invented! I call it swudge! Try a blade! Please do! It’s delectable!”

21. Candy-coated Pencils (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Although it’s only a room hinted at in the original book, it would mean no more chewed-up pencils. Just sugar-high students.

22. Sweet Tooth (The Candy Shop War)

While one of these candy corns is in your mouth, you are a master manipulator—with the right restraint, others will find it difficult to disobey or disbelieve your suggestions. Yes, again, lots of potential for misuse. But pretty awesome.

23. Rainbow Drops (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Suck them, and you can spit in six different colors.

24. Chocolate Frogs (Harry Potter)

The bad news: There’s really nothing appetizing about a sweet that acts like a frog. The decent news: They come with collectable cards of witches or wizards. The good news: Chocolate serves as an antidote for the chilling effect produced by contact with dementors and other nightmarish forms of Dark Magic.

25. Peppermint Toads (Harry Potter)

These toad-shaped peppermint creams have all the unsettling amphibious qualities of chocolate frogs (“hop realistically in the stomach!”) without the anti-dementor benefits.

26. Wriggle-Sweets (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Dahl mentioned these in passing—sweets that “wriggle delightfully in your tummy after swallowing.” So yes, Rowling borrowed a bit.

27. Shock Bits (The Candy Shop War)

Chew on this: The ability to eat some candy, then send electrical shocks to ward off potential attackers. But the potential for misuse is high. Imagine a world filled with candy lovers with itchy Taser fingers.

28. Jelly Apples (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

They grow on taffy trees in the Chocolate Room.

29. Gummysaurus Rex (The Candymakers by Wendy Mass)

Mass’s book mentions everything from Neon Yellow Lighting Chew and Icy Mint Blobs to High Jumping Jelly Beans and Oozing Crunchorama. But the Gummysaurus Rex is 13 inches tall and touted as “the world’s largest commercially sold gummy dinosaur.”

30. Exploding Bon-bons (Harry Potter)

Well, it depends who’s eating one. Rowling may have borrowed this from Dahl’s “Exploding Candy for Your Enemies.”

31. Proxy Dust (The Candy Shop War)

Sprinkle some of the powder onto a doll, then swallow the rest. Suddenly, you’re seeing through the eyes of the doll, as if your mind was inside its head. Good for burglars and Bride of Chucky fans.

32. Sugar Pumpkins (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Pumpkins filled with sugar cubes instead of seeds—a problem for pumpkin seed lovers.

33. Luminous Lollies (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Dahl mentions them as being for “eating in bed at night.” Glow-in-the-dark suckers. And by that, we mean the folks who buy them.

34. Blood-flavored Lollipops (Harry Potter)

For vampiric taste buds only.

35. Cockroach Clusters (Harry Potter)

Real cockroaches inside.

36. Eatable Marshmallow Pillows (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Another edible—er, eatable—delight hinted at in the book. Great until you get the night sweats.

37. Pepper Imps (Harry Potter)

A tiny black candy that allows you to show off for your friends by breathing fire. Great. But here’s hoping they don’t make you gassy.

38. Flame Outs (The Candy Shop War)

Pepper Imps but more lethal. Put one in your mouth and create a searing ball of fire. “Never chew more than one at a time. Never use one indoors, or you may very well incinerate yourself along with your target.” Wonderful.

39. Lickable Wallpaper (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

The book insists it’s “for nursery walls.” But really, is that a good idea?

40. Ice Mice (Harry Potter)

Here’s a recipe for insanity: Eat some candy, then hear your teeth chatter and squeak.

41. Sun Stones (The Candy Shop War)

These have the opposite effect of Moon Rocks. They increase the pull of gravity. You can’t move. But not in an I-ate-too-much good way.

42. Canary Cream (Harry Potter)

They look harmless enough—like your ordinary custard cream. But then you eat some and you’re suddenly transfigured into an enormous canary. Yes, the effect is short-lived. But still, not an aftertaste to which we’d aspire.

43. Mint Jujubes (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

The sole purpose seems to be to give the eater green teeth for a month, something the Weasley twins might have concocted. In fact…

44. Ton-Tongue Toffees (Harry Potter)

The Weasley twins spent six months developing these—toffee imbued with an engorgement charm. They make a person’s tongue swell up to ten times its normal size.

45. Whisker Cake (The Candy Shop War)

It makes hair grow at an unusual rate, going from zero to Wookie in 60 seconds. Exponential Rogaine.

46. Hair Toffee (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Much the same problem as above.

47. Dizzy Fizzer (The Candy Shop War)

Looks and taste like root beer. Except that it makes amber foam froth from every orifice, “geysering from every available opening.” And it makes you dizzy. Nice.

48. Mirror Mints (The Candy Shop War)

At first blush, how awesome—a candy that allows you to move through mirrors, to the place where reflections reside. You don’t need to breathe, eat or drink, and you’re linked to every mirror in the world, viewing the outside world from inside. But upon reflection (pun intended), it’s creepy (a voyeur’s paradise) and dangerous (if you don’t have another Mirror Mint to get you back, you’re stuck there. Forever.)

49. Turkish Delight (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)

The White Witch offers Edmund Pevensie his favorite starch-and-sugar sweet, and it proves highly addictive, allowing her to trick him into betraying his family: “… for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.” Narnia’s version of crack.

50. White Fudge (The Candy Shop War)

The Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe’s version of Turkish Delight, only it also makes the eater lethargic and forgetful.

51. Clean Slate (The Candy Shop War)

Eat one, and your memory is permanently erased. Like a neuralyzer from Men in Black. But your WHOLE memory. “Those who consume it retain their language abilities, but lose all the specifics of their identity.”

52. Acid Pops (Harry Potter)

Apparently, they burn a hole right through your tongue. So ends the list.


  1. I was singing "Toot Sweets, Toot Sweets" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as I read this; glad to see it included! What an exhaustive list! I am not familiar with The Candy Shop War but think I may have to look it up . . .

  2. Nicely done list.

    Harry Potter took Cockroach Cluster from Monty Python though ...