Today is Roald Dahl Day! Each year, children and adults across the globe celebrate the much-loved storyteller on his birthday, the 13th September.
Roald Dahl created so many iconic characters who have continued to delight (and terrify!) readers – from the eccentric Willy Wonka, to the vindictive Grand High Witch, to the prodigious Matilda.
Want to join in on the fun? Roald Dahl’s official website features an amazing array of activities. And if you’re travelling by train today, you might spot a few familiar characters…in Lego form. One of the closest stations to Hallmark’s office – The Nottingham Railway Station – is hosting a Lego statue of George, the maverick inventor of George’s Marvellous Medicine. It took 9510 bricks and 57 hours to create the fantastic figurine!
Unsurprisingly, Hallmark’s Editorial Team has plenty of praise for the highly imaginative and wonderfully wordy author:
“As a child I always loved The Witches, but since I have revisited the books by reading them to my own child, my favourite as an adult is Danny the Champion of the World. It’s essentially a love letter to his dad – beautiful.”
“My favourite Roald Dahl story is The Witches. Although Roald Dahl was particularly known for bringing a darker side to children’s literature, I feel this book goes one step beyond, and presents a truly terrifying read! If I had to pick a favourite character from his stories, it would be Danny’s dad, William, from Danny the Champion of the World. He’s a testament to the power of love, loyalty and moral determination, no matter what your background, or what privileges life affords you over others.”
“While others argue over the merits of Willy Wonka versus the Big Friendly Giant, Roald Dahl for me was the perfect suspense writer. His Tales of the Unexpected have stayed with me, or rather haunted me, after re-reading them again and again in my teens. Thanks to him, I can’t look at a frozen piece of meat without thinking it’s the ideal murder weapon, or tattooed skin without wondering how it would look in a frame. Thank you, Mr Dahl, for adding to my already very weird imagination.”
“I always loved George’s Marvellous Medicine. I just loved the weird concoctions and their even weirder effects. And the fact that George got his own back on his horrid granny!
But I loved all the Roald Dahl books because they were silly and funny and gross and odd and he made up words and used long words and they weren’t patronising and nearly all the children were a little anarchic…which I think is why Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not a favourite…Charlie was always a bit too good and dull for my liking!”
“When I was young, I think my favourite character was always Matilda. I loved reading and very much enjoyed the idea that if I did enough reading I might acquire secret magical powers that I could use to smite my enemies.
My daughter’s favourite book is Danny the Champion of the World, and that has sort of become my favourite now too. I suppose it’s the least ‘magical’ of his books in some ways, but to me it feels like the most heartfelt, and Danny’s dad is the kind of dad I’d like to be when I grow up.”
“I just love how his words hold a lot of wisdom. My favourite quote? Probably this: ‘If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’”
“I did not read any Roald Dahl as a child so have only been introduced to his books while reading to my kids. My favourite characters are Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach – imagine they would be fabulous roles to play as an actor! I think I like Roald Dahl’s baddies better than his heroes – the awful kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the evil headmistress in Matilda.
[Caroline’s daughter, Holly, dressed as Violet Beauregarde]
Being Roald Dahl Day, my Facebook memories this morning brought up pictures of my children dressed as characters from Esio Trot and James and the Giant Peach, as their school celebrated the centenary of his birth last year. I still love the quote from James and the Giant Peach: ‘There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.’ That’s the wonderful thing about Roald Dahl books – they show children that it’s OK to let their imaginations run wild!”
“I think the story I can remember most vividly is George’s Marvellous Medicine! The image of Grandma munching on an earwig has always stuck in my mind…And then the story of George getting his own back on the mean old woman is so thrilling! So much mischief and fun in one story.”
“As a young bookworm, I always identified with Matilda. Wish I had her magic powers – they’d be very handy in day-to-day life! I also loved Revolting Rhymes – Roald Dahl was so creative with his poetry, he definitely inspired my love of writing.”
“Danny the Champion of the World is my all-time favourite. It has everything – beautiful descriptions, father and son bonding, excitement, adventure and hilarious pheasant-snatching high jinx. I can still remember many quotations from the book (even though I haven’t read it in over 20 years). My favourite is, ‘It’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you’re not feeling twinkly yourself’ – amazing!”
Thank you for your incredibly inspiring stories, Roald –
and happy birthday from the Hallmark Editorial Team!