Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the tag “Dahl”

Books From Our Childhood

All authors start their lives as readers. As we pass through childhood, there are often certain books that impact on our lives and leave an impression that remains with us for all time. Sometimes that impression may be as specific as a love of literature or sometimes it may be an image or theme that was contained within the pages of that book.

Can you recall reading a book from your childhood that had a profound effect on you? Maybe, perhaps, the book might have been read to you by a family member, a schoolteacher or some other trusted adult.

(Illustrated by Jill Bennett)

(Illustration by Jill Bennett, 1975)

Personally, I recall reading “Danny the Champion of the World” by Roald Dahl for the first time as a child. I loved the gypsy caravan home of the main character and his idyllic lifestyle in the countryside, away from the constraints of the village school for the first part of the story. I relished the extracts regarding the construction of fire balloons, go-karts, kites and archery sets and was even inspired to build my own fire balloon too. The pheasant poaching plot was engaging and full of cliff-hangers and, as you may expect from any work by Roald Dahl, the story was enchanting and unforgettable. Most importantly, the book helped nurture in me a respect of the countryside and those who live in it, right through to my adulthood days. There are very few other books that have made such a lasting impression on me and it has, since then, became a treasured addition to my own private library.

Top Ten Children’s Stories

Jack Knows the Answer

A sample of five hundred teachers has ranked “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as the top book that all children should read before leaving primary school, explain The National Association for the Teaching of English and the Times Educational Standard.

“Fiction teaches children how to navigate the journey of life,” explained the TES editor, Ann Mroz.

As well as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another Roald Dahl book (Matilda) also made it into the top ten.

The final top list reads as follows:

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  2. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  5. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis
  7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  8. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  9. Dogger by Shirley Hughes
  10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Of note, it is interesting to understand that many of the children’s favourite books often have dark and unsettling themes, works by Roald Dahl being the obvious example of this.

Ann Mroz added that many of the books chosen by teachers are “not full of joy and mirth but are instead dark and full of horror – tales of ferocious monsters, abuse, abandonment and even death

“Not what you’d think the average primary child would want to read. But these books serve an important purpose, giving children a safe place where they can take control of troubling subjects, where evil can be glimpsed and then shut within their pages.”


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