Roald Dahl Day is coming up on September 13th! Roald Dahl is one of our favorite authors, and his whimsical books have been inspiring young minds for generations. Here are our top picks for each age group!
Ages 3-5: ESIO TROT
Esio Trot (which is “tortoise” spelled backwards!) is a heartwarming tale about affection and the lengths a person will go to in order to show their feelings towards another person. The story focuses around Mr. Hoppy, a shy older man that has a crush on Mrs. Silver, the woman who lives in the apartment beneath him. Mr. Hoppy doesn’t have the confidence to tell Mrs. Silver how he feels about her, but he does know that she is extremely fond of her pet tortoise, Alfie. One day, Mr. Hoppy learns that Mrs. Silver is concerned that Alfie hasn’t grown much, despite owning him for years. In an attempt to impress his crush, Mr. Hoppy devises a clever way to help Alfie “grow” bigger!
Ages 5-7: FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Fantastic Mr. Fox is the story of a cunning fox and his uncanny ability to outsmart his enemies. Mr. Fox has a wife and four fox cubs. In order to feed his family, Mr. Fox has made a habit of stealing food from the nearby farm, which is owned by three despicable farmers aptly named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. After years of being outsmarted by Mr. Fox, the farmers finally devise a plan to catch him and end the nightly raids on their farms. With the help of his animal friends, Mr. Fox must devise a new plan to outmaneuver the greedy farmers.
AGES 7-10: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is arguably one of Roald Dahl’s most famous books, and for good reason – it’s a wonderful tale about Willy Wonka, the eccentric chocolatier, and his magical chocolate factory. The main character, Charlie Bucket, is a poor boy who has become enthralled with tales of Willy Wonka, particularly due to his grandfather’s storytelling. Wonka is a mysterious man and the ongoings of his factory are a closely guarded secret – however, he decides to allow admission for five lucky children, provided that they find a “Golden Ticket” hidden inside the wrapper of a Wonka chocolate bar. Not only is this an incredible story about Charlie’s adventure through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but there’s also a sequel! If your child enjoys Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we also highly recommend checking out Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
AGES 10+: DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD
Danny, the Champion of the World is a heartwarming coming of age story that revolves around Danny, a young boy who lives in a Gypsy wagon with his father. Danny’s mother died when he was very young, so he and his father make a living repairing cars. However, one day Danny learns that his father has been poaching pheasants from a wealthy older man, Mr. Hazell. When Danny’s father begins to experience consequences from his actions, Danny comes up with a plan to catch pheasants safely while teaching the greedy Mr. Hazell a lesson.
Image credits: Quentin Blake (who wonderfully illustrated many of Roald Dahl's books).