Six of the Best
The Gremlins, 1943
The Magic Finger, 1962
Danny the Champion of the World, 1975
Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, 1983
Going Solo, 1986
Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, 2016
He displays a wide range of emotional situations, from circumstances that provoke soul-wracking grief to rib-tickling joy. His books are never boring, always emotionally accessible, and always sympathetic. To me he comes across as a man of great empathy and great human consciousness.
However his books are always light-hearted. Whether he is dealing with serious issues like death and injury, complex issues like war or just wants to entertain us with a giraffe and a pelly, you can rely on his writing to be cheerful. He draws you in, allows you to feel emotion and to engage with a serious issue, and then slowly releases you with a reflective and feel-good attitude. Dahl never goes too far, he wants you to be satisfied in reading his books, perhaps to take a lesson from them, but ultimately to walk away with lighter shoulders. This kind of author is rare and very skilled, and it’s probably why he was such a brilliant children’s writer!
Dahl wrote for 50 years of the 20th century, his first publication was in 1942 and his last was published posthumously in 1991, he also wrote about his childhood/young adulthood from 1913-1940. As retrospective enthusiasts this offers us a wonderful insight into his perspective on the last century. He takes us on a journey from Edwardian beginnings (and Victorian throwbacks) to the politics and the turmoil of the 1930s and 1940s, and right on to some childhood adventures in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Pick an era from the 1900s, and Dahl covered it somewhere and somehow.