13th September 2016 will see the world’s biggest celebration of the famous children’s author Roald Dahl and his great works, with Roald Dahl Day marking what would have been his 100th birthday. Events to celebrate this important date in children’s literature are already underway with many book lovers joining in on the #RoadlDahl100 hashtag on Twitter. For example, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, a nationwide initiative where children sign up to read six library books during the holidays, has a Roald Dahl theme to encourage young readers.
But Roald Dahl stories aren’t just for kids – they’re for everyone. Whether you missed out on them when you were younger, or want to introduce your own children to his magical stories, here is a selection of Roald Dahl favourites as well as a couple of not-so-well known tales…
We couldn’t really start with anything else now, could we? This book has spawned not only a successful film adaptation, but also a smash hit West End and Broadway musical. However, if you want to go right back to the start, big up a copy of this tale of a neglected young girl and how she gets revenge on her horrible family and terrifying headmistress. Although it feels like it has been around for many decades, Matilda was actually published in 1998, and is now known as one of the great children’s novels.
A new film adaptation by Stephen Spielberg is about to hit the big screen, but many might also remember the original feature-length 1989 animation too. This favourite was published in 1982 and has since gone on to sell 37 million copies in the UK alone. An interesting fact about the origins of The BFG – it started life as a short story from another Roald Dahl favourite, Danny, the Champion of the World, published in 1975.
George’s Marvellous Medicine
One of Roald Dahl’s shorter books, George’s Marvellous Medicine tells to the story of a young boy who gets so fed up with his nagging grandmother that he concocts a new medicine involving a wide array of unusual household ingredients with dramatic, gruesome and humorous, consequences. This a great example of Dahl’s dark sense of humour and how it was used to tap into a sense of fun for children, although some teachers and librarians have issued warnings to kids not to try and re-create George’s medicine at home themselves! And certainly not to try and give it to any elderly relatives…
Other Roald Dahl's Works
Although most famous for his many works of children’s fiction, Roald Dahl also authored a large collection of adult short stories and non-fiction, as well as a couple of screenplays. He wrote the scripts for the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, and children’s film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and began the initial work on the screenplay for what was to become Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, although he was less than pleased with the final film. He was also a wine buff and in fact, one of his many short stories aimed towards adults centred on the dramatic consequences of a blind tasting.
There’s only one way you should really be celebrating Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, and that’s by picking up a copy of one of his many books, whether it’s to enjoy for the first time or rediscover all over again. The Book People are a good source of savings if you want to invest in a large selection of Roald Dahl children’s books with their offer on The Roald Dahl 15 Book Collection (RRP: £98.85, now £21.99) or WH Smith can get you half price on a copy of The Roald Dahl Treasury (was £14.99, now £7.49), a collection of short stories, essays and extracts. For those of you who’d rather shop with an independent book store, The Works can save you money on The Roald Dahl Audio Collection (was £29.95, now £23.96) and Roald Dahl Collected Stories (was £14.99, now £11.99). If you can wait they also have great money off vouchers nearly every week with minimum spend at just £10.
So even though his official birthday isn’t until the autumn, there’s no need to wait if you want to get started on some Roald Dahl reading right now with My Favourite Voucher Codes. Whether it’s a classic or an unknown tale, Roald Dahl’s work still contains plenty of hidden surprises.
By Anna Scott, 20th July 2016