Posted in general and welcome, popular authors, Roald Dahl

Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!

September 13th marks the birthday of one of the world’s most popular authors – Roald Dahl – and a day of literary celebration to remember his wonderful stories.I doubt children’s literature would be basking in such a marvellously modern Golden Age had it not been for Dahl’s contributions. While stories had been funny and even satirical before his books hit the shelves, perhaps they had never dared be so dark. When Dahl’s books were first published, many literary professionals didn’t approve of his plots, of hisΒ  horrendous (but hilarious) comeuppance to his villains, of the power he gave to his child heroes/heroines. But, by golly, the children lapped it up… and still do.

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Holly and I discussed Roald Dahl’s books today. We’ve read everything he has written for children, except The Witches, which Holly cannot bring herself to read or listen to. It frightens her too much. I have read it and enjoyed it but can understand her fear – Dahl blends the terrifying witches so skilfully into a ‘real’ world that it just seems too plausible that they could be lurking somewhere.

Fantastic favourites

We talked about our favourites while walking today. Holly’s is The BFG, because it was the first book she had ever read by him and she loved the language that was so particular to it, such as snozzcumbers, and the way that the BFG talks, with things being ‘left not right’ instead of wrong or right.

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Matilda is my favourite of Dahl’s. I loved how she overcame her neglectful parents and used her brains and talents to get the life she not only wanted but deserved. The portrayal of her family’s stupidity is wickedly humorous and Mrs Trunchbull must be one of the best villains around. How Matilda uses her skills, in a kind of Stephen-King’s-Carrie way, is original and has the reader cheering on.

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Whizzpoppingly wonderful

I asked Holly if there were any books she wasn’t so keen on. Interestingly we both chose Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Despite the fact we both liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory we just felt the sequel never matched the magic of the original. It seemed a little too surreal and lacking in the ingredients that make a Roald Dahl book so easily identifiable.

‘However,’ Holly remarked, ‘Even though I wasn’t so keen on that, I didn’t dislike it. I don’t think I dislike any of his books. They’re just too good.’

So Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl, and Happy Roald Dahl Day to you all. We hope you have a whizzpopping time!

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If you want to find out more about this great writer, why not visit the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre?

Over to you!
What’s your favourite Roald Dahl book? Please let us know!



Childtastic Books started out as a collaborative blog, written by me and my young daughter Holly. Now she's nearly a teen, she's off doing exciting and new things but I am still here, reading, writing and reviewing books for children and young adults of all ages. I miss her input but I hope she will pop in from time to time to do some guest posts! A little about me - I have just finished an MA in Children's Literature from the University of Roehampton (result pending, eeek) and am a part-time primary school librarian. The other part of my time is spent writing and editing, my own work and others, and I am waiting for my first non-fiction book to be published - a teacher resources pack for Handa's Surprise. I welcome comments and love to hear from visitors to this blog. Please note though that, because of time constraints, it is rare that I can read and review books from self-published authors. I receive so many requests and feel badly about not being able to keep up with them all. Thanks for visiting! Sam

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!

  1. Oh, and we love George’s Marvellous Medicine the best! It is so deliciously dark and funny that it sends us into fits of laughter every time we read it!! I also love that in Dahl’s books, children get a bit of revenge on unkind adults.


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