These days it’s all tales of boy wizards, teen secret agents, witches and vampires, but for me the author that made up most of my reading diet when I was growing up was Roald Dahl. His books are children’s classics and are obviously still very popular today, indeed we’ve recently just had a film adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox, not bad considering that book was first published forty years ago!
My ultimate favourite Dahl book has to be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I fell in love with this book when it was read to us at primary school, and I’ve loved it ever since. I even love the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, if only for the wonderfully named Vermicious Knids. Another favourite from school was Danny the Champion of the World, a book about poaching pheasants no less!
Whilst Dahl always had a wicked streak in his books this streak got more and more pronounced as time went by. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is full of wonderful inventions, but it is very much based around a very normal little boy. By the time of The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine most normality had been thrown out of the window and the characters have become larger than life in most cases. Not that this is a bad thing, but there is a distinct difference between his earlier and later works.
So, what’s your favourite Dahl book? I’ve provided what I consider the essential Dahl below (although I must confess I’ve never actually read James and the Giant Peach for some reason), but if you feel strongly about one that I’ve missed feel free to add it, even if its Tales of the Unexpected, which isn’t really a kids book!