Roald Dahl Children's Books

It always surprises me just how many classic children's books Roald Dahl was able to produce during his writing life. None of his books follow the same pattern or formula, yet so many of his novels remain popular to this day. I think the key to the success of all of the best Roald Dahl children's books is that they don't talk down to children. Instead, the child character is usually very capable and often undertakes an adventure that changes the lives of adults.

Roald Dahl is often criticised (by adults) of being crass, but I have only come across a few children who have failed to enjoy at least one Roald Dahl novel. Rather than finding his humour and take on the world to be out of kilter with their way of thinking, children seem to embrace Roald Dahl's irreverance, recognising a kindred spirit - a child in an adult's body.

From conversations I've had with children ranging from age 7 to age 11, these seem to be some of the most popular Roald Dahl books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda. Lots of Roald Dahl's other stories are also mentioned, but these were the titles that cropped up again and again.

Many children also talked about enjoying the movie versions of some of the Roald Dahl stories. The Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches were particular favourites.

Some of those I spoke to also mentioned receiving books by Roald Dahl as gifts for either a birthday or Christmas. A really good way of giving such a present is to purchase a Roald Dahl collection or a Roald Dahl treasury. But I'm sure that even single volumes of Roald Dahl's books for children would go down a treat.

No comments: