One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom reading James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my sister and me. I loved the whimsical (and sometimes a bit scary) fantasies. This September 13 marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth. In Manchester, England the weekend before they are celebrating with a two day event complete with a giant inflatable peach, visit from the BFG, Willy Wonka’s Garden, and more. The Hoboken Public Library has a variety of Dahl’s books, books on CD, and movies to spark your imagination; here are just a few to get you started.
James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach was one of my two favorite books as a child (the other was E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web). James accidentally grows an enormous peach and finds friendly talking insects inside who travel with him on a thrilling journey. You can take out the book from the Hoboken Public Library and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.
The movie adaptation of The BFG was in theaters this summer. The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who unlike other giants doesn’t want to eat little children, but instead sends them good dreams. He befriends a little girl named Sofie who helps him stop the less friendly giants from causing mayhem. If you enjoyed the film, borrow the book or book on CD today at the Hoboken Public Library.
Matilda isn’t any ordinary girl, she has telekinetic powers which she uses to deal with her horrible parents and headmistress. The musical adaptation of Matilda has been playing on Broadway since April of 2013, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to get tickets soon since it scheduled to end its run on January 1. You can borrow Matilda as a book or its movie adaptation on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library
Roald Dahl’s The Witches is perfect if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read. A boy must help his grandmother stop witches from turning all of the world’s children into mice. You can borrow the book in print or on CD from HPL and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably Dahl’s best known work; it features a group of children who get a dream tour of a magical chocolate factory. Remember not only Dahl, but the recently passed actor Gene Wilder in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (my preferred version, despite being a huge Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fan and the author’s disapproval of the adaptation). You can also borrow Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Play adapted by Richard R. George if your little aspiring thespians would like to act the book out. The library has the book’s sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator that reveals what happens after the elevator went into space.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
I was surprised and delighted recently when I learned the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Roald Dahl along with Ken Hughes. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun fantastic story about an inventor of whistling sweets and his flying car. It was my favorite musical as a kid and I will probably have the songs from it stuck in my head all day. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is based on a children’s novel by James Bond author Ian Fleming. Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the Bond film You Only Live Twice.
Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life
Image via Amazon
Adults can always enjoy rereading Dahl’s children’s classics, but for those looking for something written for a more mature audience you can borrow from our library Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, a collection of darkly humorous short stories he wrote in the 1940s and 1950s. Also available for adults at our library is Dahl’s Two Fables.
The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant
Dahl may have not only written a screen play about a spy, he may have been one himself! You can read about his involvement with the British Secret Service in Conat’s The Irregulars.
-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference