Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thoughts on Roald Dahl – and Commemorative Stamps

The Royal Mail is issuing these charming Roald Dahl stamps, featuring the original Quentin Blake illustrations. I'm not a stamp collector, but I would willingly snap up this literary keepsake in a heartbeat! Aren't they adorable?

Seeing these has reminded me how much I loved reading Roald Dahl novels as a child. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach: these stories delighted my young imagination. Unfortunately I never read Matilda, but I have a feeling it would still be magical reading for adults -- particularly an adult like me who adores children's literature.

My favourite Dahl narrative would have to be Fantastic Mr. Fox. Though it's quite short and aimed at early readers, I wasn't introduced to this charming story until I was ten. Luckily, my fourth grade teacher firmly believed one should never 'outgrow' children's books and happily passed it on to my class. I was immediately drawn in by the cunning of Mr. Fox and the grotesque habits of the three farmers who attempt to put a stop to Mr. Fox's habitual pilfering of their resources. I still recall the rhyme about these unhygienic farmers:

Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One short, one fat, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean. 

I always recommend this humorous tale to my friends with children and often give it as a gift. This story, as is generally the case with Dahl's work, possesses a magic that has to be shared.

Did you read Roald Dahl novels when you were young? Which was your favourite?

P.S. Wes Anderson's adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox is, well, fantastic -- for adults and children. Since the source material is brief, I forgive the liberties he takes with the text. You can watch the trailer here.


Cassandra said...

I love the stamps! I have to admit though that the only one of his novels I read was Matilda and I didn't like it too much. I adored the first half in fact, but when all the supernatural stuff happened I was pretty disappointed simply because I expected the story to end realistically.

Anyway, something completely different: I tagged you :)
Here's the link:

Diana said...

Although I've not read Matilda, I did watch the movie a lot growing up -- I know, I know, as a reader I should be ashamed. Since things progressed so quickly, I remember that supernatural element always being present. I can imagine that it would thrown you for a loop to suddenly have that introduced to the plot.