So apparently, today is Roald Dahl day?
That’s very cool. I wonder how many children still read Roald Dahl today? I grew up with Dahl’s books, and went on magical journeys with the various characters through different books. I definitely tried to move objects with my eyes like Matilda did; I fantasized about one day opening a bar of Wily Wonka chocolate containing a golden ticket inside; I wondered what frobscottle would taste like.
Dahl’s books are one of those rare kinds that introduce children to the joys of reading and holds them there.
My introduction to Dahl began in second grade, when a friend and I missed our school buses back home because we were busy cleaning the classrooms after school ended. The next day, the principal called us to his office, and apparently he heard of our deed. He praised us for being hard-working kids, and gave us each a Roald Dahl book. I received The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me while my friend got The Twits. I distinctly remember coming up with my own tune (that I still remember how to hum today) to the song that the animal trio sings in the book.
Eventually, I went on a path of devouring all of Dahl’s other children books. My favourite definitely was Matilda, where the idea of a precocious kid with supernatural powers appealed to me, and many times I have tried (even today, sometimes) to move things with the power of my eyes and concentration.
In middle school, we had to read Roald Dahl’s collected short stories, and I didn’t know Dahl wrote anything other than children’s fiction. Apparently he also wrote a couple of adult short stories too. We had to do a book review by presenting a story from the collection in class — I pantomimed Lamb to the Slaughter, where I was Mary Maloney, the murdered husband, and all the characters in that story.
Even today, when I’m up for some light reading, I would usually gravitate towards children books, with Dahl being a hot favourite. His well-fleshed characters and engrossing plot makes for an easy read and most definitely an enjoyable one too.