Dahl, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. Lane Smith, Illustrator. New York: Puffin Books, 1961 & 1996.
100 years ago today, Roald Dahl was born! This splendiferious author with his fertile imagination gave us darksome, dreadly, vermicious knids and other monsters. He gave us terrific tales about Matilda, Charlie, James and other brave, intrepid, smart, kind children.
To celebrate this momentous event, I revisited James and the Giant Peach. This was not the first children’s book that Dahl wrote, but it was his first famous book.
I know that it may trouble some, but I cheer for Dahl’s children, who are smart, sometimes smarter than the adults around them. I applaud when they learn to protect themselves against the adult fizzwigglers in their life (A fizzwiggler is someone who is mean and cruel).
In the beginning of this story, James Henry Trotter is sad, lost and alone. He is very sad as the death of his Mum and Dad has left him in the care of two very nasty aunts. They were fizzwigglers of the first order! As the story begins, you can scarcely imagine that James will become the hero of this story. He is humble, intrepid and brave. He works hard to save himself and his new friends. He keeps his head and triumphs!
And James Henry Trotter, who once, if you remember, had been the saddest and loneliest little boy that you could find, now had all the friends and playmates in the world. And because so many of them were always begging him to tell and tell again the story of his adventures on the peach, he thought it would be nice if one day he sat down and wrote a book. So he did. And that is what you have just finished reading. —p.126
So I celebrate this magnificent author! If you want to continue to celebrate look for these Wondercrump Weekend Celebrations.
Wondercrump Weekend – A Weekend to Celebrate Roald Dahl
Here in Austin on Saturday, September 17, Alamo Drafthouse Village is remembering both Roald Dahl and Gene Wilder with their Ultimate Willy Wonka Party: https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/action-pack-the-willy-wonka
You might also want to check out what they are doing at VooDoo Doughnut on 6th Street in Austin (September 17-18). According to the Roald Dahl Website, “Iconic Voodoo Doughnut is hosting a weekend-long party filled with doughnut contests, children dressing up as Roald Dahl characters, crafts, Billy Taylor (Thieving Weasels), Book People pop-up (10% of sales going to Partners in Health), and more.”
Have a scrumdiddlyumptious celebration!!!
Since today is the anniversary of his 100th birthday and a movie that was based on one of his books has just been out in the cinema, you can find a lot of information about this author. Here are a few things I found interesting.¹
- He was named after the famous Norwegian Polar Explorer, Roald Amundsen.
- He didn’t like school all that much. He decided not to go to university went adventuring. He worked for Shell Oil in a number of countries.
- In World War II, he joined the RAF and became a fighter pilot. He wrote a book about his adventures.
- He was married to actress, Patricia Neal (one of my favorites)
- He contributed to the development of the ventricular catheter and shunt values.
- He wrote for adults as well as children.
- He wrote the screenplays for You Only Live Twice and Chitty-Chitty Bang, Bang.
Here are some more places you can read about Roald Dahl