3 Reasons to love Roald Dahl’s children's stories
I have yet to meet a child (or adult) that has not been charmed by one of Roald Dahl’s stories. As a much loved children's author, his literary renown has transcended generations. Roald Dahl’s simple, but touching storylines, his memorable characters and brave child protagonists, his fanciful vocabulary and invented language (which he called Gobblefunk), his entertaining adult villains, his wit and wry humour and his ability to write from a child’s perspective will all resonate with anyone who is lucky enough to come into contact with one of his fantastical tales.
After reading, listening to or watching one of his stories - be that the BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Matilda, The Witches, The Twits or Danny the Champion of the World et al - one is left slightly altered.
If your world has not yet been impacted by this master storyteller, then here are 3 reasons to add Roald Dahl's children's books to your bookshelf:
#1 The stories & characters
Simple but imaginative, Roald Dahl's brilliant evergreen plots (filled with humour and hilarity) and significant themes are a cleverly crafted social commentary. A host of delightful characters bring the stories alive and make them relatable.
Imagination and real life successfully intersect in an unpatronising way.
Dahl’s writing style is conversational with the use of strong verbs and wonderfully descriptive made up words (e.g. oompa loompas, swishfiggler, snozzcumber, biffsquiggled and uckyslush).
#2 The life lessons
There is no denying the obvious moral undertones and subtle values that are foundational to each of his stories. Instead of preaching, the life lessons are seamlessly woven through the entertaining narratives, clearly illustrating cause and effect and right and wrong. Many conversations will follow after you have reached the end of a Roald Dahl story.
The list is long, but here are a few teasers (without any spoilers)...
Matilda - Life is not fair but justice will prevail. Bullying is not OK and resilience and standing up for what is right - for yourself and others - will have extraordinary results. Reading is cool and intelligence is a superpower. “Somewhere inside of us all is the power to change the world.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The ugliness of greed and selfishness. Actions have consequences. Truthfulness, kindness and loyalty are rewarded. Gratitude is a beautiful character quality. “Don’t argue, my dear child, please don’t argue!” cried Mr. Wonka. “It’s such a waste of precious time!”
The Witches - Appearances can be deceiving and people aren’t always what they appear, but even those who are small can make a big difference.
James and the Giant Peach - It’s never too late to make friends and sometimes friends are found in the most unexpected places. “Something peculiar is about to happen any moment.”
Fantastic Mr Fox - The danger of pride of self-importance. The importance of family. “I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.”
The Twits - Stick around negative, nasty people and you will become a negative person. We can overcome our differences by being kind to one another. “If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
The BFG - Character is not determined by outward appearances and working as a team is better than going solo. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
#3 The movie adaptations
Besides the books, the successful movie adaptations of The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Witches, Esiotrot, Danny the Champion of the World, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have captivated audiences around the world, bringing the wonder of these lovable stories to life and adding a visual interpretative dimension.
These movie adaptations of Roald Dahl’s classics become just another way to indulge your imagination and fall in love with his iconic tales.
To be immersed in the splendid world of a Roald Dahl story, and to spend some time with his special characters, is simply a wonderful thing.
So, whether it is the book or the movie, there is no argument that it is really hard to choose a Roald Dahl favourite. We love them all and will keep reading them, watching them and sharing them.