Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Looking for Magic in Everyday Places

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
~Roald Dahl

One of my favorite children’s authors is Roald Dahl (1916-1990). What an incredible imagination! 🙂

He wrote 21 books for children, as well as many for adults – both fiction and nonfiction. I will admit that I have never read his adult fiction. I have never found the need to move on from the wonderfully imaginative worlds he created for children. He wrote the film script for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a movie with Dick Van Dyke that I remember enjoying as a kid. He won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1983 and was Children’s Author of the Year for the British Book Awards in 1990.

Perhaps he is best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) which was later made into a movie in 1971 starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, and again in 2005 starring Johnny Depp as the great candy man. The book was inspired by his experience with the Cadbury chocolate company while he was in boarding school. They used to send samples of new chocolates to be tested by the students. Now that is some research I can really get behind! 🙂

But Charlie was not his first book for children. Those were The Gremlins (1943) and James and the Giant Peach (1961). James was also made into a movie in 1996. Later books like The BFG (1982), The Witches (1983) and Matilda (1988) were also made into films.

In addition to writing, Mr. Dahl was also very active with charitable commitments in the fields of neurology, hematology and literacy. This work is continued since his death by the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

In 2008, the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize for authors of humorous children’s fiction was unveiled. There are multiple museums in his name and his birthday (September 13) is celebrated as “Roald Dahl Day” in Africa, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

His children’s books are told from a child’s point of view, and often have adults who are villains who mistreat children. There are often some gruesome scenes and even a bit of violence. There is often a fat child character as well who are punished for their gluttony and bad attitudes. He has also written a few volumes of poetry for children that are reinventions of well known fairy tales and nursery rhymes with not-so-happily-ever-after endings.

It is said the MR. Dahl is buried with some very good brandy, chocolates, HB pencils and a power saw. 🙂

If you have not seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), I highly recommend you watch it with your favorite sugary snacks. If you haven’t read Roald Dahl, run, don’t walk, to your favorite book store or library and see what he is all about! I think my next step is to check out some of his short story collections. 🙂

1 Comment


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