Today is Roald Dahl Day. I have copies of every Roald Dahl book on my shelf; they all look a bit worse for wear. Yellowed pages, dog-eared corners, deeply cracked spines. The signs of a book that has been truly loved. And loved they have been.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory isn't my favourite Dahl book, let alone my favourite children's book. Matilda, on the other hand, challenges on both counts. One of the reasons I adore Matilda is that I remember it being released. My generation was the first to be introduced to this children's classic, which fills me with a sense of joy. First published in 1988, my edition is the 1989 Puffin edition. I am pretty sure it was a 10th birthday present from my Gran and I have proudly labelled the inside of my edition to declare ownership.
'The only movement from the reader was the lifting of the hand every now and then to turn over a page' Dahl observes in Matilda. Books that captivate children are a gift, and the ability to create such books is also a gift. I am indebted to Roald Dahl for creating books which I hold in my heart and mind, escapist children's fiction beyond compare.
Happy Roald Dahl Day.