Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


September 13 is "Roald Dahl Day", celebrated every year on what would have been the author's birthday. This year also marks 50 years since Dahl's classic tale James and the Giant Peach was first published.  Your child can celebrate by sending a Peach-gram to a friend!

illustration by Jed Alexander

According to his biographer Donald Sturrock, in Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl (2010), Dahl was "a conundrum". Certainly, by any standards, he led a strange and complex life. Born to Norwegian parents, brought up in Wales and in England, he crashed in a plane in the desert in the second world war, and then became a spy in America, befriending the great and the good, before eventually settling back down in England, where he overcame three great tragedies: an accident that caused his baby son, Theo, brain damage, in 1960; the death of his daughter, Olivia, aged only seven, in 1962; and his wife's stroke in 1965. (A fourth tragedy occurred in 1990 when his stepdaughter, Lorina, died of a brain tumour.)

Dahl's daily retreat from the world was his famous writing hut. "I go down to my little hut, where it's tight and dark and warm, and within minutes I can go back to being six or seven or eight again," he said. In the hut, snuggled up in a sleeping bag, with his famous green baize writing board across his armchair, his lined yellow legal pads and his Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, he wrote, pausing only for lunch, The World at One, and then dinner, drinks and a game of snooker.
Click here to explore Dahl's writing hut, 
"Gipsy House", Buckinghamshire, England.
Photo: Eamonn McCabe

The interior has been left unchanged, since Dahl's death
from Leukemia in 1990.

Photo: Eamonn McCabe 
To read my 2010 birthday post for Roald Dahl, click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. What a charming tiny hut! 25 years ago I read my first LONG book, James and the Giant Peach, and I'll never forget how wrapped up I got...it was a big deal for me, because I'd never read anything but short stories. I was in 3rd grade and had struggled to read before that...now, I love to read.