The Fantastic Mr. Dahl
By Megan on September 13th, 2012
On September 13th of every year, we celebrate one of the most accomplished and beloved children’s book authors of all time: Roald Dahl. September 13th was Dahl’s birthday, and this year RD fans are even more ecstatic because it marks the 30th anniversary of The Big Friendly Giant. Not only was Roald Dahl a prolific and immaginative author, he lead an incredibly interesting life. (Did you know he started writing after nearly dying in a plane crash in World War I?)
The BFG, along with many of Dahl’s work, was a popular book in my household. Growing up, my father (he was a teacher) read them all to me and my siblings: Matilda, The Twits, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me, The Witches (which always terrified but thrilled me)… I could go on. He and his colleague Mrs. Miller (who happens to be my favorite former teacher) used to teach a reading unit on the prolific writer, which consisted of having kids form book clubs around Dahl’s books. They held discussions, created activities, and read aloud from the books. They performed for the school a collection of his poems called Dirty Beasts, and to finish the unit, threw a party and used Dahl’s Revolting Recipes book to make all of the disgusting “delicious recipes.”
I decided to ask them why they chose Dahl, over many other amazing writers, to focus on. “All of Roald Dahl’s books have main characters who are children, and they have all of the power,” they wrote to me. “George, in George’s Marvelous Medicine gets to do away with grandma, Matilda gets to control things magically, and Charlie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) gets the chocolate factory because he’s a well behaved and wonderful kid.” I think I’d like to go back to the 4th grade just to join in on the fun.
There are several ways you can celebrate Roald Dahl Day, but I’d recommend starting with this letter. It’s from Dahl to a seven-year-old girl named Amy, who after reading The BFG, sent him a dream in a bottle. It’s a lovely artifact and a testament to how wonderful he was.
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