Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reading Roald Dahl

I don't think anyone's childhood would be the same without Roald Dahl. His stories have captivated a countless number of children's imaginations and continue to do so. It is one of my goals before my 30th birthday that I read all of Roald Dahl's children's books to my two boys and this post was originally going to be about E's reaction to several of the books. But I thought it would more fun to also look at the films, the story centre and museum and of Roald Dahl himself today.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - I can't remember which happened first, watching the classic film of the movie with Gene Wilder or reading the book. I'm thinking it was probably the film. It's one of my absolute favourite movies though, so of course, it must have inspired me to read the book? I'm not sure if that's how it went, but it doesn't matter. Either way, I fell in love with this story.

I was very eager to share Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my two boys. They both loved it too. I remember E being very disappointed in the early parts of the book when Charlie opens that first chocolate on his birthday and finds he didn't get the Golden Ticket. The look on poor E's face. But he ended up loving the descriptions of the chocolate factory so much that we promised to take him and the Littlest to Cadbury World, so that he too could see the inside of a large chocolate factory.

I really love how much of this story is just part of popular culture .. because it's still popular. I paid an exorbitant amount the other day to buy a chocolate bar with a chance of winning a golden ticket. I love that there are places you can go to like the Roald Dahl Story Centre and Museum where you can learn more about Roald Dahl and her stories and his inspirations. I think I just love Roald Dahl and hope that reading these books to my boys my enthusiasm and passion for them will spread to them.

Matilda - I think despite the popularity of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (with its two film adaptations and all!) Matilda has always been my favourite Roald Dahl book. How can it not be, as I related so well to Matilda's character?! A book-obsessed little girl? Say no more, I'm sold.

I'm remember watching the film version of the book with my family when I was a little girl. I think I loved that as much as I loved the film. Sitting together with a huge bowl of popcorn and watching a film all together. It was such a small thing, but it really made me happy. And it's a fun and funny story.

E was pretty shocked by it at first. All of Principal Trunchbull's meanness didn't sit very well with him. But he loved Matilda's ability to move things with her mind and the final bit of the story, when Matilda gets her happy ending was a huge hit.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox - I have to be honest, I mostly just read the major Roald Dahl books when I was younger. Charlie, Matilda, BFG, James. So I missed out on lots of great books, and The Fantastic Mr Fox was one of them.

It only really came to my attention that I'd never read the book when the film version came out. And the film version of The Fantastic Mr. Fox with George Clooney voicing the lead role is now one of my favourite ever films. There's just so much brilliance going on, it's almost unbelieveable.

And E ADORES the film. He thinks it's hilarious and could watch it non-stop. This is actually the first book of Roald Dahl's we read together because I really wanted his love of the film to translate into love for the book. And I think it worked. E obviously noticed that there are differences between book and film, but it didn't seem to bother him at all.

Of course, we've watched the film adaptations, we've read the books. We went to Cadbury World over the half-term. And over the summer, we also visited the Roald Dahl Story Centre and Museum.

It was so much fun to see some of Roald Dahl's inspirations for his stories as well as learning more about him as a person. What I think I loved the most about visiting that attraction was the way in which it's really to inspire and encourage the children who visit to write their own stories and to be inspired to create new things and to use their imaginations. I love that and I really think that that is important for your children. For everyone really.

It was only in the last few years that I read Roald Dahl's Boy, so I didn't know very much about his life or his childhood. I really do recomment reading Boy and also his other autobiographical books, as it was fascinating to read of his childhood. Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, being the only boy. There was stuff about his relationship with his mother and of the Norwegian tales he was brought up listening to. I loved his adventures at school and how the sweet shop on the corner inspired Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How the headteachers in another school were the inspirations behind Trunchbull. At the Story Centre, it was fun to learn how much input Roald Dahl had in designing The BFG's sandals. Oh, I highly recommend a visit. Just go. Now. Go.

Next up on our list of Roald Dahl books to share with my little boys? Finish up both The Witches and James and the Giant Peach. Then, who knows? What is YOUR favourite Roald Dahl book? What would you suggest we read next?


  1. What a lovely, and informative post. I haven't seen many of the film adaptations of his books but I certainly read as many of them as I could get my hands on when I was a child. It's so nice to hear that your boys are loving them too, I hope they'll carry on entertaining generation after generation.

  2. I love Mathilda best but I would read the Girrafe, the Pelly and Me next if you haven't yet. Have to agree childhood would not be the same with Roald Dahl

  3. Loooove Roald Dahl! After Matilda, George's Marvelous Medicine was my 2nd fave.

    I was thinking of doing a personal "read Matilda's books" challenge in 2012. Might be fun. :)

  4. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Matilda are my favourite ones of all. I could read Charlie again and again.

  5. I love Dahl so much. Matilda was my favorite as well, though I loved the BFG a lot too. I missed Fantastic Mr. Fox when I young too, but it's a great one. If you liked Boy, you should read Going Solo, which is about the next stage in his life.

  6. My favourites are Matilda and then the Revolting Rhymes! 'The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She pulls a pistol from her knickers'! Best version of Little Red Riding Hood of all time.

  7. Brilliant post! I really wanna go to the. Story centre and I'm buying myself the Roald Dahl box set for myself in the new year. I can't wait!

  8. Jenni - Oh I definitely hope so as well! I love how much my boys are enjoying reading and watching these stories!

    Shadowfalcon - Giraffe, the Pelly and Me? I shall look on my shelves to see if I have it and if not I'll head down to the library, thanks so much :)

    Andi - I've never read George's Marvellous Medicine! And I love the idea of reading Matilda's books! :)

    Vivienne - Oh I really could as well, such a brilliant story.

    Melissa - I really do want to pick up Going Solo at some point. I was a bit sad that I hadn't read Boy when I was younger as I would have really loved that. But I'm looking forward to it. Also, BFG = love.

    Julianne - Revolting Rhymes? I don't think I've read it :) But I do love the quote you included!

    Raimy - I made N buy me a Roald Dahl bookset awhile back because I couldn't bear the idea of a home without Roald Dahl books!!

  9. Matilda is definitely my favourite too. I loved Dahl's inventiveness, humour, snide observations, everything. Also really enjoyed his autobiographies.

  10. Deniz - There's just SO much to love about Roald Dahl! :)


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