6 Roald Dahl books to get your little ones into reading
There's no doubting that Roald Dahl is responsible for some of the most beloved children's stories of the 20th century. From Mr Wonka's Factory to Miss Trunchbull's cookie, his books continue to spark children's imaginations to this very day!
Adored by generations, Dahl's work is immediately recognisable for its absurd and hilarious storylines and characters. In this month's blog we’re looking at some of his most entertaining work - perfect for getting your kids into reading.
1. James and the Giant Peach (1961)
Where better to start than his first novel - this story follows the life of James Henry Trotter. Recently orphaned, he has been reluctantly adopted by his two distant aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker.
Living with his new guardians his life soon becomes intolerable, doing endless chores for his mean aunts. It's only when he finds himself inside a giant peach with a mix of insects that his journey begins to take an exciting turn. At 160 pages, James and the Giant Peach is perfect for bedtime reading.
“A little magic can take you a long way.”
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (1968)
Whether you’ve seen the Wes Anderson movie adaptation with George Clooney or have enjoyed the book for years, the story of Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the funniest, fast paced children's stories out there!
Perfect for animal lovers, the story follows Mr. Fox, a brave and loving fox who goes out every night stealing food for his family from the mean, wicked farmers - Boggus, Bunce and Bean.
Once the farmers discover his thieving, they plot to kill him and his kind. Pursued by farmers, the underground animal community have to do everything in their power to escape alive. At 96 pages this is a great book for independent reading.
“Then Mrs. Fox got shyly to her feet and said, ‘I don’t want to make a speech. I just want to say one thing, and it is this: MY HUSBAND IS A FANTASTIC FOX."
3. The Witches (1983)
This story has been adapted into a film and an opera and it’s easy to see why, this dramatic tale delves into the scary and mysterious world of witches.
In the book, witches are bald, have blue spit, claws for nails and hate children. When they attend their annual convention in a hotel, chaos arises when they discover that children are staying at there.
The story follows a young boy who goes to the hotel with his grandmother, luckily for the boy his grandmother knows about witches and is able to give him advice on their ‘children hating’ antics. For a children's book it can be surprisingly scary at times, its darker themes make it perfect for ages 10 and above.
“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
There’s so much wonderful absurdness lurking in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a heartwarming tale of a poor boy whose courage and kindness earns him the highly sought after golden ticket that allows him to meet Willy Wonka, the famous chocolatier.
When Charlie and Grandpa Joe arrive the world they once knew is changed, from everlasting gobstoppers to the Oompa Loompas, the world created by Willy Wonka is nothing short of a dream. This magical tale is perfect for independent reading, its captivating characters make this book hard to put down.
“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”
5. BFG (1982)
Sophie is trying to fall asleep when the BFG enters her life. His gigantic shadow floods her small room and her curiosity gets her out of bed. She and the BFG travel to a giant country The BFG displays Dahl's incredible talent for wordplay, making it a great book for looking at how words and punctuation work together.
"I is a nice and jumbly giant! I is the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country! I is THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT! I is the BFG. What is your name?"
6. Matilda (1988)
A book for book lovers, Matilda is a story about a young girl with magical powers. It’s a thrilling story of intelligence triumphing over TV-dulled ignorance, a ode to classic novels, and an thoroughly satisfying story of a child dishing a bit of justice to grown-ups for the indignities both small and big that are part and parcel of being a kid. This is a great book for your little ones to lose themselves in, Matilda's journey has captivated generations and will continue to do so for many more.
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
Roald Dahl is a great storyteller, from the first sentence to the last we’re sure your little ones will be hooked! Check out our Roald Dahl collection on our website here.