September 13th is Roald Dahl Story Day, with events at schools, libraries and bookshops around the world to celebrate the wonderful characters and worlds of Roald Dahl’s stories. From the magical mischievousness of Matilda to the touching relationship between father and son in Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl created the most extraordinary stories that have become part of children's literary folklore. Since his death in 1990 at the age of 74, his books have more than maintained their popularity and continue to find fresh readers. Many of his stories have been made into films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox and The BFG and Matilda the Musical has been a hugely successful theatre production.
Fans of Roald Dahl can explore the stories and characters through this splendiferous new anthology published by Welbeck, The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl. Author, Stella Caldwell says she was brought up on a diet of Everlasting Gobstoppers and Snozzcumbers and has been a life-long admirer of the incredible writing talent of Roald Dahl. And as befits a Roald Dahl book, it is fully illustrated in iconic style by his longtime collaborator, Quentin Blake.
LoveReading4Kids' editorial expert Julia Eccleshare writes, "For all those who are already fans of Roald’s Dahl’s awesome stories and for newcomers to them, this is a splendid introduction to some of the favourite characters and the most dramatic, hilarious, spinechilling and adventuresome stories that are his storytelling legacy."
To celebrate Roald Dahl Story Day, we have picked ten of our favourite stories.
After being caught stealing chickens from the mean local farmers Fantastic Mr Fox is trapped in his underground home, with the farmers’ shotguns and spades aimed at his door. It is up to Mr Fox, with a little help from his fellow ground dwelling animals, to outsmart the crooked farmers and find a way out to provide food for his family and friends.
They have no hair, have claw-like fingernails disguised with gloves, have no toes, their spit bright blue and their pupils appear like "fire and ice dancing". The book that taught us to spot ‘The Witches’ also managed to scare us behind the sofa when Angelica Huston portrayed the Grand High Witch - turning the protagonist into a mouse using the persuasive power of chocolate!
One of the best loved Roald Dahl books, James and the Giant Peach follows the adventures of the stoical orphan James Henry Trotter. After his parents are killed in a rhino rampage, he is sent to live with his dreadful aunts. With the help of some magical crystals he manages to escape the grasp of his aunts to a world filled with adventure, giant insects and, of course, plenty of peach!
The iconic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Against the odds Charlie Bucket wins the fifth Golden Ticket and with it a visit to the world’s most amazing and secretive chocolate factory, where he encounters the ingenious Willy Wonka, Oompa Loompas, Everlasting Gobstoppers - and the consequences of being greedy!
The lesser known sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Great Glass Elevator starts off where the previous book finished, with Charlie, now the owner of the Chocolate Factory crash landing on the moon! Charlie must save the inhabitants of a space hotel from the attacks of the vicious, Vermicious Knids.
Matilda, is the story of a five year old girl whose parents have little interest in the well-being of their daughter. Determined to do more in life than rot in front of the television, Matilda takes herself to the library. After reading classics from Dickens to Orwell, Matilda’s brilliant brain gets noticed in the classroom - but the school headmistress, Miss Trunchbull is just as dreadful as her parents at home! With the help of her teacher Miss Honey, her classmates at Crunchem Hall and a rather unfortunate newt, Matilda finds a way to stand up to these bullies once and for all.
Roald Dahl’s stories contain plenty of vile grown-ups, and The Twitsis no exception. Mr. and Mrs. Twit are a rather disgusting duo who take great pleasure in luring birds to bake into pies and tormenting their pet monkey Muggle-Wump. One day, the magnificent Roly-Poly Bird encourages Muggle-Wump and family to exact their timely revenge, and just desserts are served as Mr and Mrs Twit are truly tormented!
After the death of his mother at the age of four, Danny and his father have only each other. By the age of nine Danny thought he knew everything that could be known about his dad, until he discovers a dark secret. What follows is an attempt at the most daring, the most dangerous and the most dastardly plan to outwit a wicked landowner. Danny, the Champion of the World is a heartwarming story of father and son.
Fed up with his bad tempered Grandma, George sets out to cure her with his own special brews, concocted from all the dangerous liquids, tablets and substances he can find in the house. George's Marvellous Medicine can make you tall, or small - but can he find the formula to make Grandma disappear altogether?
The BFG is the nickname for the Big Friendly Giant, who befriends orphaned Sophie. "Human beans is not really believing in giants, is they? Human beans is not thinking we exist." Sophie soon learns that her giant friend is responsible for creating the dreams of children - but that not all giants are quite so friendly. This unlikely pair set out to stop them. The character of Sophie is actually based around Dahl's daughter, Sophie Dahl.
Happy Roald Dahl Story Day!
You can find out more about Roald Dahl at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden where the author lived and wrote for 36 years.
And visit the Roald Dahl Story Day hub for activities, lesson resources and ideas for ways to celebrated the day including the official Roald Dahl Story Day Party Pack.
With thanks to © The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited / Quentin Blake 2021