Personally, I was very much a fan of Roald Dahl as a child. I loved books that were just a little bit cheeky combined with gut-wrenching twists and jaw-dropping character descriptions. I devoured the likes of Paul Jennings, Morris Gleitzman and Roald Dahl.
After Tom was born, I spent a lot of time rocking back and forth, listening to him feed while Roald Dahl’s ridiculously delightful adjectives rolled off my tongue.
At 4 years old, he curled up in bed with me and cringed at the ugly descriptions in The Twits and gasped in shock as George’s Marvellous Medicine shot characters, literally through the roof.
Now he’s 5 and eagerly awaiting when the clock hits 7pm so he can listen to the next awaited chapter of The BFG. Not everyone has grown up reading Roald Dahl, and even if you did – it’s kind of a new experience reading his novels as an adult. It’s actually a pretty brilliant experience, and if you haven’t read them to your children yet, you most certainly should! Here’s why:
They’ll Learn to Play On Words
In a world where education is becoming so consumed with ensuring our children cross their i’s and dot their t’s, many are missing out on the art of word play. Roald Dahl exposes children to a world where the words snozzcumber and whizzpopper make perfect sense because they’re coupled with the perfect description that makes them so. As I read to my 5 year old, I’m often asked “Is that a real word?” It’s not REALLY, and he knows it’s not, often saying it with an incredulous smile where I can sense a thrill at the idea that you CAN get silly with words and it won’t be considered ‘wrong’…in fact, it’s all kinds of right.
Lifetime Memories Will be Created
They say that children will remember and cherish family holidays far more than a shiny new toy. I am pretty sure, reading an epic novel like one of Roald Dahl’s with your children, will become a memory that will hold strong long into adulthood. You’ll remember it too, and the way their face lit up or the way they shreiked with horror as Sophie was placed into a giant’s mouth. It makes me giggle to think of it!
They Will Appreciate Good Authors
Picture story books are excellent, but it seems like at 5 years old, there’s a real admiration that someone has actually created this huge story. I encourage him to imagine Roald Dahl, writing this story out, planning the characters and the plot, and it’s kind of mind blowing. If there’s one thing I always told my students, it’s that good authors know how to make a picture in the reader’s head. Reading Roald Dahl will make children realise that. I’m sure the picture in Mr 5’s head is different to mine, but it’s there in its own clarity.
Now that we’re using whizpopper for the word ‘fart’ in this house, let me ask you – Did you read Roald Dahl as a child? Are you reading any of his works to your own at the moment? Which one and why?