Imagine the scene if you will. A class of seven and eight year olds sit, rapt, as their teacher reads to them from a book at the end of the school day.
The story is about a young boy whose life is about to change for ever, by remarkable and magical circumstances. The stories hold the children’s attention like no other book the teacher has read to them. When the story ends they beg for more. One child is even inspired to write a song about the book.
Harry who?!! The year is 1974, the book is ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the hero of the story is one Charlie Bucket. Roald Dahl’s magic wove its spell for this class of juniors who, due to popular demand, had also heard by the end of the year ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’, ‘James and the Giant Peach’ and ‘The Magic Finger’. In fact, the only reason the class didn’t hear more was because Dahl had not, at that time written many more children’s books.
At this time, I believe, (for dear reader I was one of those seven or eight year olds) that Roald Dahl was not yet the children’s book superstar that he eventually became. Books such as ‘The BFG’, ‘The Witches’ and ‘Matilda’ were written long after I was too old and cool to read Roald Dahl any more.
Of course parenthood changes many things and the chance to rediscover the delights of Dahl’s books is one of the many benefits. If you and your children love Dahl, you can indulge them with the Roald Dahl events and exhibitions that celebrate this great author’s life and work.
Dahl lived for much of his life in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, and it is here that The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in June 2005. The museum celebrates the life and work of Roald Dahl and has a mission to encourage creative writing with programmes of events for children and adults. There is also an archive of his letters, manuscripts and photographs available for study.
Bucks County Museum’s Roald Dahl Children's Gallery includes a number of hands-on exhibits including a glass elevator, a peach you can walk into, and an upside down Twits room. Opening is limited during term time and varies at other times so it is best to check before travelling to the museum.
Aylesbury Vale District Council also organise an annual Roald Dahl Festival which happens in early July. There is a parade and a number of special events such as craft workshops, performances and music.
Other great websites for Roald Dahl Fans
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.