Every bookworm has an author they can credit for their love of books. Like many children before and after, Roald Dahl was one of those authors for me.
The charm and warmth of the writing, the silliness, and the familiarity of those wonderful illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake. I can still sit down with one of these books and be transported.
On Roald Dahl Story Day, I thought I would list some of my favourites.
George’s Marvellous Medicine
In this story, George sets about creating home-made medicine to give to his nasty grandma. Surely, that would cure her grumpiness.
I remember sitting on the stairs after school and reading the book from cover to cover. Obviously, I couldn’t wait as I didn’t even make it to my bedroom!
That feeling of getting sucked into a story never gets old and this is the first memory I have of it.
(I’d like to assure you that I had lovely grandparents, and the only concoctions I ever made were natural perfumes! These were received kindly, but probably quickly discarded of – Eau de Dandelion . . .)
Interestingly, according to his website, Roald Dahl would have liked to have been a doctor if he hadn’t become an author.
He even “helped to create the Wade-Dahl-Till (WDT) valve”, invented to drain excess fluid from the brains of hydrocephalus patients. He was moved to do it after his son became ill with the condition.
More on his amazing life outside of writing later.
Danny, the Champion of the World
Danny lives in a caravan at the edge of the wood with his father. He loves his dad to bits, but there are some things Danny doesn’t know about him . . .
There are scenes in this book that have stuck with me to this day. I can play them like a film reel.
Danny’s world is so vividly described – the caravan, the service station and the woods.
Maybe this is because the setting was based on the Buckinghamshire countryside where Dahl had lived for a while.
And of course, I’ll never forget the pheasant-catching schemes!
It felt like a more grown-up book to read at the time, being longer and less fantastical than some of the others.
It’s the perfect book for that age when you start to figure out that your parents have lives too!
Boy: Tales of Childhood
This one is a much more recent favourite. After reading online about Dahl’s incredible life, I discovered that he’d written his own accounts.
I won’t call it an autobiography as Dahl said this about it:
“This is not an autobiography. I would never write a history of myself. On the other hand, throughout my young days at school and just afterwards a number of things happened to me that I have never forgotten.”
In it, Dahl recounts his childhood – from his early years growing up in Wales to his days as a young man joining the RAF during World War II.
Throughout this book are events that clearly gave Dahl the inspiration for some of his most famous books. For example, the sweet shop he frequented as a child which gave him the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Any fan of Roald Dahl, and any writer, would enjoy this glimpse into the writer’s life.
Want more recommendations from us? Have a read of our recent book reviews.
Visit the official Roald Dahl website here.