Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 to Norwegian parents.  Dahl's father died when Roald was just three years old, & he was brought up primarily by his mother.  Dahl was devoted to his mother & the character of the grandmother in The Witches is a tribute to her.

As a child, Roald Dahl was a great reader & kept a secret diary.  However, he was unhappy at school, & according to his official website, "his chief memories of this time...are of trips to the sweet shop".  The early seeds of Willy Wonka!

Dahl served as a pilot during WWII (despite initials concerns about his daunting height of 6 feet 6 inches).  You can read about his war exploits in his autobiography, Going Solo.  Roald Dahl's first published writing was an anonymous piece about the war for the Saturday Evening Post, which he was encouraged to write by C.S. Forester, author of the Hornblower books!

Roald Dahl's first book for children was The Gremlins, published in 1943.  It is a picture book adapted from a script written for Disney, & Dahl never considered it a proper children's book. After The Gremlins, most of his books were short stories for adults.  He didn't begin writing for children in earnest until the 1960s, when his own children were small.  Dahl's children's books grew out of stories he told his daughters at bedtime, beginning with James & the Giant Peach.  Dahl once remarked that if he hadn't had children, he wouldn't have been able to write for them.

Roald Dahl's other passions in life included racing greyhounds, breeding homing budgies, orchids, onions, gambling, golf, & wine. He wrote most of his children's books in a small hut at the bottom of the garden of his residence, Gipsy House in Buckinghamshire.  Dahl couldn't type & used a pencil to write. Roald Dahl died in 1990.

Find Roald Dahl in the library catalog (note: not all Dahl titles are aimed at a juvenile audience).

Find Roald Dahl on the internet:

Celebrate Roald Dahl Day! Includes "50 Scrumdiddlyumptious Ways" to celebrate.
Roald Dahl: The Official Website
The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre
"Roald Dahl: My Hero"
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity
Roald Dah's Follow That Peach!
Roald Dahl Children's Gallery
Penguin Group: About Roald Dahl

Which is your favorite Roald Dahl book?  I still try to open my chocolate from the corner & nibble slowly, like Charlie Bucket, but I also have fond memories of my 3rd grade teacher reading James & the Giant Peach to the class back in the '70s.

Which is your  favorite Roald Dahl movie?  I haven't seen all of them myself.

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