Roald Dahl was one of the most innovative writers of children's fiction in the 20th century. He was born on September 13, 1916 in Llandaff, Wales. Sent to Repton boarding school in England at age 13 where the students were asked to test chocolate bars (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). After his schooling he became an adventurer for many years until the outbreak of World War II when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and became a pilot. He also served as a spy during the war.
He began to write in the 1940's, at first describing his aviation experiences and then issuing his first children's book, The Gremlins. While Dahl wrote for both adults (short stories, novels, and screenplays) and children, it is his children's books which are best remembered. He wrote 20 books for children. So pick up one of his wonderful books and celebrate Roald Dahl day on September 13.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - I think this was the first Roald Dahl book I ever read. The story is about a poor boy who wins a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka's wonderful chocolate factory. Little does Charlie know that the visit will change his life forever.
Matilda - Matilda at five years old is a genius but her parents are too stupid to know it. To make matters worse, her headmistress is a bully and makes life difficult for Matilda's teacher. But Matilda has a way to fool them all.
The BFG - The Big Friendly Giant teams up with an orphan Sophie to stop the man-eating giants from taking over England and eating all the human beans. As with most of Dahl's other stories - kindness and goodness win out over evil.
The Witches - The Witches tells the story of a young boy and his Norwegian grandmother as they battle against child-hating witches. This is a terrific book for Halloween!
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Like most other Roald Dahl stories, this one has Mr. Fox battling against three evil farmers. Even though he is clearly the underdog, Mr. Fox is able to save his family and friends.
Many of these books have been made into movies and, while not exactly like the books, they are entertaining.
Do you have a favorite Roald Dahl story? Please let me know.