Happy Birthday Mr. Dahl
Today is Roald Dahl Day, an annual celebration of the fabulousness of Dahl, held every year on his birthday (he would have been 95 today.) & I urge you to read The BFG at bedtime tonight in his honour.
Everybody** loves Roald Dahl, even people who aren’t big readers have a soft spot of The BFG or Charlie or Matilda and I’m no different because let’s be honest: Dahl was a master story-teller and, whilst as an adult I revel in books like his 'Tales Of The Unexpected,' dark, twisted, very very clever and incredibly well-written, it is probably his books for children that he's most famous for and those are the ones that have their own little corner in my heart.
Even now, 21 years after his death he still inspires the exact same feelings in me as he does in my 7 year old nephew and when Toby's is a world in so many respects alien to me, a world of Ben 10 and Moshi Monsters and Wii games I can’t help but applaud anything that gives us that connection; that bridges the gap between his world and mine.
Roald Dahl was my childhood and in the same way the children of today will look back and thank JK Rowling for theirs, I owe mine to him. He is everything childhood should be: he’s magic and intrigue and excitement and laughter, so much laughter & even now at 28 I feel like a child again when I settle down to re-read his work; it hasn’t lost a single bit of it’s charm and because of the unique way Roald Dahl wrote, from the perspective of a child, it’s so easy now to curl up with The Witches and be transported right back to being 8 years old. It’s so easy to sit down with Toby and talk about The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine and feel just as alive and just as excited by it as I did then because Roald Dahl never seemed like a grown-up writing for children, he got inside the head of them so perfectly that it seemed he was writing as one.
When I was a child his books felt real, I understood them and I felt like they understood me. Now his books remind me of how it felt to be a child.
Knowing Roald Dahl opens the door to Neverland because as long as you keep his books on your bookshelf and revisit them every so often you never have to grow up.
**everybody I’ve met. I’m not pretending I’ve surveyed the entire population or anything. That would be crazy.