Posts tagged Roald Dahl

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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Enter The Great Roald Dahl Quiz to win a Wonka prize pack

Today is Roald Dahl Day, when we celebrate the splendiferous Roald Dahl.  To celebrate we’re having a Roald Dahl quiz.

This competition has now closed, but you can still have a go at the questions.

  1. Who is the Champion of the World?
  2. Who is Matilda’s headmistress?
  3. Which book tells tales of Roald Dahl’s childhood?
  4. Who did George make his medicine for?
  5. Name one of the nasty children who visit the chocolate factory with Charlie?
  6. What is Miss Honey’s first name?
  7. What animal features in Esio Trot?
  8. What does BFG stand for?
  9. Name one of Roald Dahl’s stories that has been made into a film?
  10. What is the title of the most senior witch in the entire world?

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The Great Roald Dahl Quiz – coming Thursday!

Thursday 13 September is Roald Dahl Day.  It’s a day to celebrate the splendiferous Roald Dahl and his wonderful books.

To celebrate Roald Dahl Day we’re holding the Great Roald Dahl Quiz.  Test yourself to see how much you know about Roald Dahl and his books and you’ll go into the draw to win a scrumdiddlyumptious Wonka prize pack.

Brush up on your Roald Dahl and enter on Thursday!

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The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Boring, respectable and fiercely proud to be as normal as normal can be, Alistair and Eleanor Brocket turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but normal. To the horror and shame of his parents, Barnaby appears to defy the laws of gravity – and floats. Little Barnaby is a lonely child – after all, it’s hard to make friends when you’re pressed against the ceiling all day. Desperate to please his parents, he does his best to stop floating, but he simply can’t do it. It’s just not who he is. Then, one fateful day, Barnaby’s mother decides enough is enough. She never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. She’s sick and tired of the newspapers prying and the neighbours gossiping. Barnaby has to go. Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon. And so begins a magical journey around the world; from South America to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even a trip into space, Barnaby meets a cast of truly extraordinary new friends and realises that nothing can make you happier than just being yourself.

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is one of my favourite books of 2012.  John Boyne has crafted a magical, imaginative tale that celebrates difference and takes us around the world, introducing us to an interesting cast of characters along the way.  If you like Roald Dahl’s books then this is the perfect book for you.  The characters in Barnaby Brocket are similar to Roald Dahl’s characters, especially Barnaby’s horrible, selfish parents.  As soon as he is born, Barnaby is the bane of his parent’s life.  They are normal people who want a normal life, but Barnaby is anything but.  A son who floats and gets a lot of attention threatens their normal lives, so his mother does the unthinkable.  The worst thing is that they don’t even regret what they did! 

I love all the interesting characters that Barnaby meets on his travels.  There’s Liam (the boy with hooks for hands), Joshua Pruitt (the window cleaner with a hidden talent) and the imprisoned members of Freakitude.  They’re all different in their own ways and they not only help Barnaby get back home, but also help him to realise that nothing can make you happier than just being yourself.

Reserve The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket at your library now.

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Get your hands on Pocket Money Puffins

As part of their 70th Birthday celebrations, Puffin books have released 10 bite-sized books by your favourite authors, called Pocket Money Puffins.  There are some really funny, exciting, and action-packed stories by authors like Jeremy Strong, Cathy Cassidy and Charlie Higson.   Here’s just a few of the wonderful stories you could read:

  • Spotty Powder and other Splendiferous Secrets is chock full of fascinating facts about Roald Dahl as well as an original chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 
  • In Charlie Higson’s Monstroso, Oscar gets more than he bargained for when he creates warrior on his dad’s computer that comes to life, ready to wreak havoc. 
  • Meg Rosoff’s Vamoose is the hilarious story of Jess who has just had a baby…a baby moose that is!  Moosie is a lovable wee guy but he’s a lot of trouble. He destroys their house and breaks several bones of their bones with his hooves and his toilet habits create some embarrassing situations.  With Moosie growing and aging faster than normal children, Jess must come up with a solution that will make everyone happy.

Also check out the other Pocket Money Puffin titles:


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Writing Tip of the Week – Roald Dahl

This week’s writing tip comes from Roald Dahl, the man who brought you such wacky characters as Willy Wonka, The BFG, and The Twits.

“You must be a perfectionist – you must never be satisfied with what you have written until you have written it again and again and again, making it as good as you possibly can.”

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