Hats off for Roald Dahl Story Day!

There are lots of things happening in September – it’s the start of autumn, children go back to school, and there is an equinox.

But, for the busy team here at Happydesigner, there’s something even more exciting taking place: Roald Dahl Story Day!

Organised by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, the idea is that school pupils get to dress up as their favourite Roald Dahl characters and raise money for a great cause at the same time. The charity funds specialist nurses and support for seriously ill children living with complex, lifelong conditions.

So, on September 13, be prepared to see mini versions of Willie Wonka, the BFG, Matilda, Charlie Bucket and Aunt Spiker heading off to school.

We’re not at all surprised that this most esteemed of children’s authors merits his own day. We love his stories and his illustrator – Quentin Blake – is a hero of our own superstar children’s story illustrator, Sarah-Leigh.

We never cease to be amazed at how Roald Dahl dreamed up those wonderful characters and the stories they inhabit. They were such a far cry from typical children’s literature, full of wit, nonsense and the absurd.

Top advice from Roald Dahl

One thing we love about Dahl’s books is they go deeper than just the stories. The tales are packed with wisdom and some really good advice. So, courtesy of Dahl’s publisher, Penguin, here are a few inspirational quotes:

  • “A little magic can take you a long way,” James and the Giant Peach
  • “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world,” Matilda
  • “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you,” The Witches
  • “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely,” The Twits
  • “Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t,” Danny the Champion of the World.

Roald Dahl fun facts

We know and love Dahl as a children’s writer, but he also wrote books for adults, including the sinister Tales of the Unexpected, which were serialised on television. Dahl himself introduced them, and they attracted some big names stars – Joan Collins, John Gielgud and Peter Bowles, to name but a few – all enjoying appearing in these black comedy masterpieces.

Here’s some more interesting Roald Dahl trivia:

  1. He didn’t like beards! He wrote in an essay, “the whole business is disgusting. [A man] should not even be thinking about his face. He should accept it as it is and should peer into the mirror only once a day when shaving”.
  2. Dahl was a fighter pilot in World War II, flying a Gloster Gladiator biplane. In 1940, he crash-landed in the Libyan Desert
  3. After he died in 1990, he was buried with some of his possession, allegedly including chocolate, snooker cues, pencils and a teaspoon.
  4. He thought about using a cherry instead of a peach for James and his companions to live in, but decided against it. We’re not sure that ‘James and the Giant Cherry’ has quite the same ring!
  5. In WWII, he was a spy, during which time he met James Bond author Ian Fleming – also a spy!

What an interesting man! 

So, hats off to Roald Dahl and his marvellous cast of misfits. Do you have a favourite? It’s hard to choose, but we’d probably opt for his first published book, James and the Giant Peach – such a fantastic idea that a young boy can live in a huge peach, accompanied by assorted creatures. Or, how about Esio Trot, which was the last to be published in Dahl’s lifetime, all about finding love and tortoises?

Let us know your favourite Dahl book by dropping us a message. Or, if you’re looking for a whoopsy whiffling (i.e., marvellous, in BFG language) children’s book illustrator, then we’d love to hear from you. Do get in touch.

Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)

Image ref: The Telegraph

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