Happy day, my son is finally old enough to appreciate Roald Dahl. It might sound silly, but I’ve been waiting for this. When he was six months old I bought him a big paperback set of Dahl’s books at a yard sale in Denver. Every few months I’d read him a couple of lines, and every few months, he’d ignore me. But no more!
What this means is that last night I got to read The Twits out loud. And of course, he gets to step into the worlds that only Dahl could have created. Seriously, if you haven’t read The Twits, please do. You’ll get through it in less than an hour and you’ll smile while you’re reading it, I can almost guarantee it.
I’ve been surprised again at how much I love these books, and by how much I still love children’s books in general. I love them because,while they are hilarious and moving and brilliant, they are also pure story, with little or zero extraneous material. Children’s stories propel you across the pages in the same way that the best fairy tales do. Every sentence moves the plot.
Not only do some novels clutter up their pages with stuff that doesn’t need to be there, there are plenty of novels that barely tell a story at all. I’m not saying this is bad, only that it’s different than in juvenile literature.
Philip Pullman said this a lot better than I can in his Carnegie Medal Acceptance speech. Also, I’m about halfway into his Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm and it is fantastic.
Tonight we’ll be starting the Bird Pie section. I can’t wait.