Of course Roald Dahl is my favourite children’s author. Even today his writing is fresh; it is not stale or old-fashioned. His adult stories are incredible as well. They are fascinating glimpses into dark and terrible minds. Some of this darkness can be seen in his children’s work but I never noticed it until I was older.
By far my favourite story is Matilda. As a shy girl who loved to read (and often felt like an outcast but let’s not get into that; this isn’t the X Factor), I could relate to poor little Matilda. Until she got her superpowers, then she lost me. But oh how I wished I could move objects with my mind! How brilliant that would be! I did try but it didn’t work. Or did it? You can’t see me so you don’t know if I’m moving the keys with my mind…
After Matilda comes The BFG. Who wouldn’t love a big friend who gives people nice dreams and lets you drink fizzy juice that makes you fart? That was what made Roald Dahl such a great writer. His imagination seemed to know no bounds and he knew what kids like. Farting. Giants. Witches. Fantastic foxes. Oh and sweets. Lots and lots of sweets. Though I know plenty of adults who like sweets too.
Reading stories by Roald Dahl fuelled my imagination. I wanted to write like that and I wanted to illustrate my writing with drawings like Quentin Blake. I always wanted to illustrate my own stories. It’s probably partly why I love comics so much; I still get that buzz of “I want to do that!”
Dahl made me think I could do anything, in a way that Disney never managed. It was his words that stayed with me all these years. And I’m excited for the day when I have my own children, when I can read The Witches and Revolting Rhymes to them, putting on silly voices and watching them giggle at the absurdity. Of course I’ll be giggling more than any of them.