If you were to stroll by the front porch this afternoon and call out, “hey, what’s going on?” any number of answers might fly out of my mouth.
~ I need a haircut. But so do the kids. Do we wait it out a little longer since school starts in August so we can look cleaned up and spiffy for school or do I go for it now since it is starting to bother me?
~ Daughter comes home from camp this week. Absorbing a 13-year-old back into the house is something that requires a little grace. I hope I have it.
~ Dog smells funky. Time for a bath.
~ What on earth will I make for dinner?
~ Roald Dahl. Isn’t he the best?
Surely you know the direction this post is headed. You’re not here to solve my personal problems nor listen to me whine. So, yeah, Roald Dahl.
He’s on my mind because I just finished reading Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks (on the front porch swing, no less), and I had the thought: I need to add this book to The List. The List, you ask? The List Of Books You Might Like If You Are A Roald Dahl Fan. Ooooh, that list. Do I really make such lists? Yes. I really do.
I make such lists for authors such as Roald Dahl, anyway. He is so enormously popular, so one-of-a-kind that is it a common question. “My son/daughter read all the Roald Dahl books and loved them so much. S/he is stuck now – doesn’t know what to read next!” (This is often followed by an outcry of, “so s/he is reading his books all over again!” And, since I’m really trying – I am – to keep these posts short, I’ll just have to revisit the topic of re-reading books and just say here, now, that it is OK. Man, I could go off on that tangent, but I won’t. I won’t. Not now…).
How crazygood are you as a writer that one of a librarian’s most frequent questions is, “I’ve read all his stuff. What in the world do I do now?”
Nobody, nobody offers storytelling in the same manner as Dahl. He really is phenomenal. The first thing I usually suggest to people asking the Dahl Question is are you sure you’ve read all of his books? For reasons I cannot explain, some of his titles are widely known (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach) and almost always available at your local library and bookseller.
Other books by Dahl seem to have a quieter presence, missing from bookstore and/or library shelves. Specifically, The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me is often absent, which is actually one of my favorites. Oddly enough, some folks have never heard of The Twits, which, I’m sorry, is a Must Read. So, cruise on over to his official web site and take a look at all of his offerings. Note that he did write some poetry (Revolting Rhymes, for one. And yes, revolting is accurate) as well as some autobiographical stuff (Boy), which will have a different feel, but still might be interesting for a true Dahl-a-holic.
Before I share The List, I feel compelled to offer a disclaimer. These are mere suggestions. Ideas. Some will be a hit and some a miss. Read their descriptions – and general age range – before you decide to check-out and definitely before you buy. I base it on the fact that many of these books share one – or several – of the following characteristics that are usually found in a Dahl book:
~ Contains a few illustrations, here and there, while still a chapter book. White space and a handful of pictures often make reading much more inviting to a young reader!
~ Imaginative story and/or imaginative characters, silly words, a splash for the wonky (and sometimes yucky, edgy, or gross). I’ve no other way to describe it. If you’ve read Dahl and know about Oompa Loompas and Snozzcumbers, you get it.
~ A connection with the narrator. In many of Dahl’s books, he (presumably, or, the narrator, in any case) will frequently talk to the reader. I think kids love this, whether they can express it or not. It provides a pleasurable connection to the story. It makes the reader feel as though she is in the loop.
~ A British sensibility. Dahl was a Brit, after all, and his books have that British humor. Some people really dig it.
IF YOU LIKE ROALD DAHL, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE . . .
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher
The Templeton Twins series by Ellis Weiner
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Boom! by Mark Haddon
P.S. Have titles you think would appeal to a Dahl-lover? I’d love to add them to the list, if you’re willing to share! Honestly, it is what the front porch is all about! I’ll post updates, as needed, with more ideas.
Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com