A Quick Guide to Roald Dahl Reads

Happy Roald Dahl day! Mr Dahl was born on this day, 101 years ago. If you’ve been around here a while, you might know that I’ve found a friend or two in his writing, but if you’re still waiting to dive into his books, here is a list to help you choose the right book for the right occasion.

For an adventure, try…

James and the Giant Peach. If you’re in the mood to travel but feel too cosy at home, this is the book for you. Get ready for a wild journey with a tinge of magic, a series of mad schemes, and a very unusual cast of characters.

The BFG. The ingredients (magic… mad plans… unusual characters…) are the same, the story wildly different. But both books dare you to be brave, and to follow your dreams even if they take you in unexpected directions.

For an empowering read, try…

Matilda. It’s a story of mind over matter, sprinkled with moments of humour and hope. It encourages you to persevere, to believe in your abilities, and to stand up for what you believe in. It also makes a pretty good case for reading all the books you can get your hands on!

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog.” — Matilda to her friend Lavender

For something uplifting, try…

Danny the Champion of the World. What can a child do against injustice? This read features some resourceful characters, and a central theme of individual versus society that reminds you that you’re never too little to make a big change.

George’s Marvellous Medicine. Much like the previous book, this one is about a little boy who plans on making some significant changes. This story encourages you to be innovative and to face problems even if they have a powerful hold over you.

For a spine-tingling read, try…

The Witches. This book is on the more obviously creepy side of Dahl’s collection, so its perfect if you’re looking for some chills in time for Hallowe’en. Featuring a small host of characters, it builds a lovely relationship between the protagonist and his grandmother. Moments between them are intertwined with a series of sinister tales that won’t let you stop reading.

“In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about real witches.”

For something magical, try…

The Magic Finger. The name says it all! This book is about a girl with some special powers. It teaches you to stand up for what’s right, but also warns of the consequences of power, and shows the importance of kindness to all. It’s a relatively short read as well, so give this a try if you’re strapped for time.

For a sugar craving try…

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This book is filled with imaginings set to thrill anyone with a sweet tooth. It follows the adventures of five children who get the chance to explore the mysterious Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and although it bears an eerie resemble to And Then There Were None, there is also an underlying uplifting theme of beating the odds.

“I’ve heard tell that what you imagine sometimes comes true.” — Grandpa Joe

And finally, for some quick reads, try…

The Twits or The Enormous Crocodile. Both are stories featuring some nasty characters who get a taste of their own medicine. If you’re looking to regain some faith in karma, these might be the books for you.

If you’ve made it this far, let me know what you think of Roald Dahl: have you read any of this work? What’s your favourite? And if you haven’t, do you think you’ll give any of these a try?

Thank you for reading, and until next time!

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