Monday, November 29, 2010

A Favorite from a Favorite

It's no secret to my students that Roald Dahl is one of my very favorite authors. My Dahl obsession began in the third grade while our class read Fantastic Mr. Fox together. We each had our own copy and I ravenously devoured page after page, finishing the entire book before my teacher had begun the fourth chapter. As the years went by I created my own "Roald Reads" list and doggedly made my way through each one of his books. After I began teaching, I made a point to read aloud at least one Dahl book a year, and that book was almost always voted our classroom favorite.

One year we even celebrated "Dahl Day" by dressing up as our favorite Roald Dahl characters (I was Miss Honey), parading around the school, and feasting on delectable Dahl dishes such as spaghetti and eyeballs (from The Twits), everlasting gobstoppers (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and peach pie (from James and the Giant Peach).  There was even an appearance by Roald himself (fictional, of course--Roald died in 1990).

I pride myself on having read all of Roald's books a zillion times and sharing my love of all things Dahl to each student that steps through my doors. A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through the bins of the Goodwill bookstore and--are you ready?-- I laid my eyes on the title Boy by Roald Dahl, a book I've never read. Can you imagine the scene? The so-called Dahl "expert" coming across this book? Let me describe it for you: It was as if the roof opened up and a bright ray of sunshine lay across this one book. It shimmered. It twinkled. My hands shook.  "Could it be?" I asked myself. "A book had been left off of "Roald's Reads? Blasphemous, I tell you!" Red faced and flushed, I quickly threw $1.00 at the cashier and ran home with the book tucked under my arm.
I didn't even wait to get into the house to begin reading. I sat in my driveway and read until it got dark and was forced to either go inside or risk a dead car battery in the morning. Do I even have to tell you how much I adored this book? Of course I am partial to James and Esio and Mr. and Mrs. Twit and the Trunchbull and Danny but this was a whole new Dahl experience because everything that was written had actually happened to Roald as a boy. Some of my absolute favorite parts include the story of the dead rat in the gobstobber candy jar, the trip to the dentist, the description of Norwegian vacations, and the goat's tobacco. I must say this is the only Dahl book that will allow you to both laugh until tears soak your shirt and simultaneously rub your tush in quiet gratitude that you did not attend school in the days of paddling.

                                                                    Roald, my idol.

Recipe to Read by: Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake (from Matilda)   


                                                          The best cookbook ever!

I want this cake at my next birthday party.

If you could make any Roald Dahl food come to life, what would it be? Snozzcumbers? Mr. Twit's Beard Food? Candy Pencils You Can Eat in Class?