Home Inspiration Happy Dahl Day! – Old stories, old music

Happy Dahl Day! – Old stories, old music

by J. C. Greenway
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From a friend who told me she had started to re-read the Brothers Grimm to tell the stories to her young son, discovering unremembered darkness within the familiar tales,  to one of the last books I read before I left the UK for Japan: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, in which books whisper in the night while the wolves and worse-than-wolves howl.

From the stories I want to finish writing down to all the ones I tell out loud again and again, honing them as if they were the blade of a sword wielded by a handsome prince, in a tale told by everyone’s favourite cinematic Grandpa, the one from The Princess Bride, played by Peter Falk, now sadly no longer with us…


Stories are on my mind a lot at the moment.

Here is a secret that you probably already know: the stories you tell and the stories you hear are nothing less than tuning forks that you strike again and again. Your innermost being hears the notes and responds, not to the story, but to the music that carries it… This is the secret – the music underneath the story is what carries the magic.

– Tom Hirons, storyteller

Then I hear that today is Dahl Day, the birthday of one of the great music makers of storytelling, whose tales sang through my childhood and still ring deep in my heart today.  There are many, many, of Roald Dahl’s books I could pick as my favourite, Matilda, the BFG or the autobiographies, Boy and Going Solo.  Instead, I think I will choose Danny the Champion of the World, with its gypsy caravans and poachers in the woods, Danny and his Dad cocking a snook at the landed gentry and their gamekeepers.  What better way to celebrate than to curl up with your own favourite.  Happy Dahl Day!

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Adam Ford 15 September 2011 - 12:53 am

Yes, the stuff about Uncle Roald (who ‘would have been’ 95!) has certainly got me feeling nostalgic for when I was a six-year-old boy completely relating to a five-year-old girl – i.e. Matilda! That ‘music’ quote seems very apt.

Linds 15 September 2011 - 6:06 am

I am at present making my way through Dahl’s collection of stories with my 6 year old. We are onto ‘The Twits’. Through him, I hope to pass, my passion of reading and language, it seems to be working 😉

Joanne Greenway 16 September 2011 - 12:09 am

Thanks for commenting! I agree with both of your choices, it was really difficult to pick just one as I love Matilda and the Twits too. In the end, it was the part where Danny has to drive the car to help his Dad, just beautifully written and with a great understanding of children.

And yes Linds, I agree about reading stories together. I teach Japanese children from 2 years old and they love English stories. Even if they don’t understand every word, they can follow the daft voices and actions we all do, it’s great to see!


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