Carmangling storyscrunching divvytrips

Our car broke down a couple of months ago.

Between Raglan (where I live) and Hamilton (which is the nearest city), there is a range of large hills. To get from Raglan to Hamilton (or the other way) you have to go up and over a pass in these hills. People in Raglan call this “going over the divvy”. (Divvy by the way, is short for deviation. I assume the Raglan deviation is called that because there used to be another, older road, and when they built the new one it followed a different path, so it was a deviation.)

Anyway, our car, which was rather old and very decrepit, made it all the way up to the tip top of the deviation, then died.

This was OK. Raglan is a small and very friendly place and lots of lovely people stopped to help. Our car was towed away to the scrap yard and we got a new one. The new car is just the same as our old one, except that it is even older, but rather less decrepit. This makes things a touch confusing, as it means our new car is actually our old new car, or our new old car, and our old car was our new old car, or our old new car. It’s a good thing it’s been scrapped!

But the best thing about our new old, old new car is that it has a CD player. So now when we’re making the long drive over the divvy and back, we can listen to stories, and this week we’ve been listening to Roald Dahl.

Now I love Roald Dahl’s stories, and the reason I love them is that they are so BIG. Everything about them is big. They have fabulous fantastical plots, tons of action, wacky language, amazing ideas and larger than life characters. It is as if he has taken a normal story (beginning, middle and end) and crammed as much as he can in. Then a bit more. And then an incy-wincy bit more. Then he’s sprinkled on a handful of fun and craziness, just to be sure, and he’s slammed the story shut.

So far, we’ve had The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Enormous Crocodile (with his cunning plans and clever tricks), Esio Trot, Danny the Champion of the World, and The BFG.

I have especially enjoyed The BFG, because somehow I have managed to get all this way through my life without ever having read or heard it. (If you haven’t read it yet either, BFG is short for Big Friendly Giant.) Also because it is very funny and full of huge (literally) characters. Not only is there the 24-foot high BFG, who catches and bottles dreams, then blows them into the bedrooms of children who need them, but there are nine other revolting people-eating giants (Fleshlumpeater; Bonecruncher; Manhugger; Childchewer; Meatdripper; Gizzardgulper; Maidmasher; Bloodbottler; Butcherboy). There is also Sophie, a little girl in her nightie who helps the BFG stop the people-eating giants, and the Queen of England.

Fantastic! My kids have been so inspired by the stories they have drawn some great pictures. Here’s a selection; perhaps you’ll add one of your own?

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