Wednesday 2 March 2016

World Book Day: Candy Jar Talks Roald Dahl and Childhood Favourites

You've probably heard that Candy Jar will be at the Merthyr Tydfil Spread The Word Arts & Literary Festival on World Book Day this coming Thursday 3rd March; one of the largest growing World Book Day events across in the UK. We are very, very excited!

This year’s Spread The Word Festival is a celebration of one of children’s literature’s greatest, Roald Dahl. This year marks what would be the 100th birthday of the iconic writer on September 13th 1916, and there will be events celebrating the mind who brought us institutions like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda going on throughout the year and across Cardiff and Wales.

With the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed festival looming, we’ve been chatting away about our favourite Roald Dahl books from when we were growing up.

Shaun’s favourite: The Magic Finger 

We've got all the Roald Dahl books in our house - my girls love them! The Magic Finger really caught my imagination when I was younger, I just thought it was quite strange. It’s the Roald Dahl book that people don’t talk about as much, and I really like the juxtaposition of the characters and how the ducks and the people swap roles.

My favourite part is when they wake up and the Gregg family first realise that they’ve swapped places; they’ve turned into tiny people with wings and the ducks have grown to people size and they have arms instead!

Favourite quote:
“Don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot!”
“Why not?” said one of the ducks. “You are always shooting at us.”
“Oh, but that’s not the same! Said Mr. Gregg. “We are allowed to shoot ducks.”
“Who allows you?”asked the duck.
“We allow each other,” said Mr. Gregg.
“Very nice,” said the duck.” And now we are going to allow each other to shoot you.”

 Will’s favourite: George’s Marvellous Medicine 

I think George’s Marvellous Medicine was my favourite as a kid, purely because I remember reading it so many times. I loved that it was all about wanting to “one-up” the grown-ups and the rubbish relatives!
I think my favourite part was when George blew up the nan!

Favourite quote: 
“Lalalalalalalala I have nothing to say!”
(Either that or: “Never grow up – always grow down.”)

Hayley’s favourite: The Twits

The Twits is definitely my favourite Roald Dahl book. I really liked the illustrations by Quentin Blake, I remember a really gross one of the beard with all food in it!

I love that the characters were always playing tricks on one another and that they were really badly behaved – and I went to see a show of the book when I was little.

Favourite quote: 
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Lauren’s favourite: The BFG 

I loved The BFG, the book and the animated film; I’m a bit nervous about the remake! I liked that the main character Sophie was a bit lonely until she meets the BFG, and they sort of find eachother even though they’re both sort of left out in their own worlds. And the snozzcumbers, I liked them too.

My favourite part is when the BFG takes Sophie to the room full of the dream jars, and I always like the idea of “witching hour” which I fully believed in as a child!

Favourite quote: 
“Two rights don’t equal a left”

... and one from our author Jane Cohen who popped in to say hi!

Jane's favourite: The Witches

Roald Dahl is one of my absolute favourites! I loved The Witches; the magic in it, the way the girl moves in the picture into different positions and grows old in the photograph, and I loved that the witches all owned sweet shops to entice the children.

Favourite quote: 
"Witches of England you're a disgrace!" (and then she brings her potion out!)

We’ve also been obsessively browsing the internet for all things Roald Dahl, and here are a few of our favourite facts about the Llandaff-born author:

  • His first children’s book is usually considered to be James and the Giant Peach, but actually it is The Gremlins, based on WW2 RAF folklore. The Gremlins was written when Dahl was stationed in Washington in 1942. Dahl already has a career as a WW2 fighter pilot, having flown planes in North Africa. The Gremlins takes place in southern England during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The made-up "gremlins" were commonly given the blame by the RAF personnel when anything went wrong throughout the Second World War, as Eileen Younghusband will well know.
  • Roald Dahl actually co-wrote the screenplay for the children’s classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the novel of the same name by Bond writer Ian Fleming. He was, in fact, the creative mind behind the chilling and villainous character The Child Snatcher (who terrifies the best of us to this day... even if we are too old for bedtime stories!), as the character didn't appear in the original novel. Thanks, Roald Dahl... 
    Sorry for the nightmares...

  • The Fantastic Mr Fox was, at least partly, inspired by a tree that sat outside Roald Dahl’s house in Great Missenden. He used to call it the “witching tree” and tell his children stories about the family of foxes who lived inside it.
What was your favourite Roald Dahl book? Tweet us and tell us your favourites at @Candy_Jar!

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