Roald Dahl is one of the big reading influences in my life. My father and I would read his books together when I was younger, and I fully credit Dahl for starting off my lifelong love of reading.
I’ve lived in his home city of Cardiff for the last year, and I’ve been to Roald Dahl Plass outside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay several times.
What better day to celebrate some of my favourite of his works, than what would have been his 100th birthday?
One of my earliest memories is my Dad and I reading this book together – he was the narrator, and I was Sophie. Sophie lives in an orphanage, and one night cannot get to sleep as the Witching Hour (3am) approaches. She is taken from her bed by the BFG (the Big Friendly Giant), and taken to Giant Country.
Here, she learns of the true nature of the BFG’s other giant companions – and of a dastardly plan against all the children in England. There’s only one way to stop them, and that’s to pay a visit to the Queen and leave her a nightmare to show her what’s been happening.
Matilda Wormwood is four years old, and is forgotten and unloved by her parents in favour of her elder brother Michael. She’s left alone at home for hours on end, and pretty much raises herself. She walks herself to the library every week, and expands her world by making friends with Dickens, Tennyson, and a plethora of other classic novelists.
Matilda soon starts school with the beautiful Ms Honey as her teacher and the formidable Ms Trunchbull as her head teacher. Matilda has a secret – she has some magic powers hidden inside her. But one of the staff has a secret of their own.
George’s Marvellous Medicine
George’s old, moany grandma lives with George and his parents. One day, George’s Mam goes out on an errand, leaving George in charge of administering medicine to his grandmother.
While holding the bottle in his hands, George imagines what could be if he swapped out the pre-made medicine for a more homemade remedy. He adds in such ingredients as toothpaste, shampoo, floor polish and brown paint. Goodness help Granny, right?
Indeed – this medicine makes his grandmother shoot up to 60 feet. How will George make her shrink back to her regular size?
In Roald Dahl’s children’s thriller, witches aren’t easily distinguishable by their traditionally known features – a witch could be anyone, even your next door neighbour. The unnamed narrator, who lives with his grandmother following the deaths of his parents in a car crash, learns of the truth behind witches and how to catch them.
The boy and his grandmother learn there will be a witches convention at a hotel they’re staying in, and so set about to rid England of its witches. But disaster strikes when he and his new friend Bruno are caught.
Danny the Champion of the World
Danny lives in a gypsy caravan with his widowed father, near to Hazell Woods. One night, while Danny’s father is recovering from an ankle injury, they learn local businessman Mr Hazell is to have his annual pheasant shooting event soon. The pair decide to humiliate the ruthless estate manager, with the help of some cleverly disguised sleeping tablets.