Great Authors Surprise Us: Roald Dahl Turns 101 Today

Great Authors Surprise Us: Roald Dahl Turns 101 Today

By Dana Spivy Glover

Kelly’s family has a loosely-held tradition to make homemade pizza and watch a movie on Friday nights. She says they usually get a newer movie on Google Play, something they begged to see in the theaters, but either budget or time prevented. Not too long ago, Kelly convinced her family to choose the movie BFG, on Netflix. To say it was a hit is, well, an understatement. Her 9-year-old son especially loved whizzpoppers.

For those not familiar with the dry, but childlike, wit of the author Roald Dahl, a whizzpopper is the opposite of a burp. (wink) “A whizzpopper!” cried the BFG, beaming at her. “Us giants is making whizzpoppers all the time! Whizzpopping is a sign of happiness. It is music in our ears! You surely is not telling me that a little whizzpopping if forbidden among human beans?”
(from The BFG)

Kelly was suddenly reminded of her childhood love of Roald Dahl books. That early memory of reading James and the Giant Peach for school. Loving that story and finding herself lost in the reading. “There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t even started wondering about yet.” Then quickly discovering favorites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox.

Roald Dahl books are almost a universal indicator of childhood experiences. They are the stories where we see cheeky kids overcoming sourpuss adults. They have unlikely heroes like poor-mannered giants, sly foxes and talking insects. Dana fell in love with his pantheon of books because of the difficult topics he tackled in kind-hearted ways. The book Esio Trot, about an adventure with tortoises of epic proportions, was written to raise funds for a dyslexia foundation. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke tackled the same subject through a backwards-walking minister that bumbled with language.

While not every Dahl story is for every reader. He did love to subvert expectations and flip the script on typical character traits. Every reader can find something in Dahl they love. Parents can even enjoy his adult works of more macabre stories or the James Bond film he scripted. An author that dabbled in so many arenas, from television to novels, to movies to non-fiction, and that wrote engaging autobiographies about the quintessential British boyhood. He is one you don’t want to miss out on sharing with your family. Today would have been his 101st birthday, if the universe let us keep the great ones that long. Celebrate by expanding your library, renting a great movie or writing your own family story. You can click the Amazon ads on this page and get your hands on those great books, and you’ll be supporting Growing Up Maury with a single click. It should be scrumdiddilyumptios!

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