Born today in 1916, Roald Dahl was and is a resounding literary talent with a wonderfully quirk imagination. His vibrant characters, from Willy Wonka to The Twits, have captured the imagination of children and adults for decades. In honour of this brilliant voice, we have compiled a list of the top 5 Roald Dahl books.
5. The Twits
The Twits don’t just hate one another, they despise one another. This malicious and spiteful couple live together in unholy and unhappy matrimony and spend the majority of their time playing practical jokes on each other. Mrs Twit abuses her glass eye by dropping into Mr Twit’s drinks and Mr Twit goes above and beyond to convince his wife she is shrinking. This hilarious tale follows their lives together and the awful impact they have on their environment, as Dahl follows the family pets in their revenge against the terrible two. This book is deliciously vile and will have you equally feeling queasy and happy with the tale of the Twits’ pranks. A fantastic read to kick us off on our list!
4. Essio Trot
Consisting of only 55 pages, this short tale follows the life of Mr Hoppy. Mr Hoppy is a shy, reserved old man who for years has been harbouring a secret love for his neighbour, Ms. Silver. Most days the pair exchange conversations from the balcony, when one particular day Ms. Silver approaches Mr Hoppy with a problem; her tortoise isn’t growing anymore. In an attempt to get closer to Ms. Silver, Hoppy passes on a ‘spell’ that will make her tortoises grow. Dahl captures the relationship of Mr Hoppy and Ms. Silver perfectly in this lovely tale and provides yet more linguistic puns with his essio trot incantation. This charming novella is perfect for a little taste of Dahl’s imagination. Watch this space for the 2014 film release starring Judi Dench!
3. The BFG
What if giants existed? Better yet, what if one giant in particular was a dream catcher that distributed good dreams to children? The BFG follows one girl named Sophie whose encounter with The Big Friendly Giant leads her into an entire different world. Dahl employs language brilliantly throughout this novel with fantastic words such as snozzcumber (a foul tasting vegetable) and Whizzpoppers (noisy flatulence) and makes this tale really come to life on the page. A great book that deserves its bronze spot on our podium!
2. Revolting Rhymes
Perhaps the most under rated book amongst Roald Dahl’s collection, Revolting Rhymes is a hilariously dark take on famous fairy tales. Twinned with beautiful illustrations from Quentin Blake, these parodies are absolutely brilliant to read and feature a variety of familiar faces; Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood to name a few. These rhymes are devilishly clever and are after all this time still fresh for readers of all ages. All of the poems feature surprise endings and are some the most carefully crafted and original poems you will ever read. A triumph and testament to Dahl’s un-paralleled skill as a writer.
1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Published in 1964, this novel follows the young, impoverished Charlie Bucket who dreams of one day visiting the famous Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory in his town. Along with his parents, and two sets of grandparents, Charlie lives in a small house on the brink of falling down. That is, until one day he hears of a competition to find a golden ticket and finally a journey into the Chocolate Factory itself! Enter the eccentric chocolatier and a hilarious group of lucky children. Dahl wonderfully crafts this fantastical world and acutely offers darkly humours character’s that become firm favourites with any reader. A truly deserving number 1!
- Happy Roald Dahl Day! (thebookiemonsters.wordpress.com)
- “Don’t gobblefunk around with words…” BFG (lookingglasslanguage.com)
image from http://www.intothehallofbooks.com/2011/12/top-ten-childhood-favorites-6.html