We studied children’s books for my MA and it’s really reignited my love for them. The first time I walked back into the children’s section of the library, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. I was reminded of all those hours I spent at the library looking at every single book until one jumped out at me. About an hour later I walked out of the library with the biggest pile of children’s books and frequently go to the children’s section of the library before the adult section.
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t read much Roald Dahl as a child. I had read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at school and I had particularly enjoyed his Revolting Rhymes, but never managed to read anything else.
I spotted George’s Marvellous Medicine and thought it was high time I started to read the rest of Dahl’s work.
George’s Marvellous Medicine: A little boy makes a potion using everything he can find to make his Grandma a little more tolerable. I think that Grandma was definitely right though, mixing everything in a big pot (including engine oil, shoe polish, brown paint and a whole manner of other totally inedible things), boiling it and feeding it to your gran was very naughty indeed, no matter how horrible she is.
Matilda: She reminded me of me a little. Not saying I’m mega intelligent and can move glasses of water with my mind, but her bookishness in a family who don’t care for books much really struck a chord with me. I loved the film as a child and upon reading the book I do feel they did it justice. They got Miss Trunchbull spot on. Pam Ferris looks exactly like Quentin Blake’s illustration.
Esio Trot: A cute little story about a man who loves a woman so much he buys 140 tortoises to win her love. It was a nice little read, it only took me half an hour. It was only when I’d put the book down that I realised the title is tortoise backwards.
James and the Giant Peach: I watched the film a when it was on VHS (do they even exist anymore?) and I think I actually enjoyed the book more. The film overly dramatised some moments, but the story still held up. I liked the magic of the story.
As an aspiring illustrator, Quentin Blake has always been an illustrator I admire. I really like his distinctive style and it’s something I’ve been searching for myself.
I know I’m nowhere near having read them all but I know I won’t stop here. It’s obvious why he is the world’s no. 1 storyteller and his work has stood the test of time. I’m a little regretful that I didn’t read these as a child. Dahl’s use of words and stories would have captured my imagination like no other.