September 4, 2002
11:54 AM   Subscribe

The writing isn't the only great thing about Roald Dahl's books. There's also his fantastic illustrator, the perfectly-matched Quentin Blake. He's best known for illustrating such Dahl books as Matilda, The BFG, and The Witches. A comprehensive bibliography can be found here, his books in print can be ordered here, and, if you can afford it, buy some prints.
posted by interrobang (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The BFG was my favorite book when i was 9 or 10 or so.... i own a copy to this day! and read it from time to time.
posted by Satapher at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2002

I love Dahl. I want to buy some sort of boxed set of his children's books for my girlfriends little siblings. I think that George's Marvelous Medicine and the BFG are my picks.
posted by mikrophon at 12:04 PM on September 4, 2002

Ooooh! I recognize the style- it's very distinctive - and it made me realize one of my favorite books as a child was illustrated by this man. It was about a very large crocodile who wanted to eat a bird and/or some tasty little children. A print from that book would rawk!
posted by kahboom at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2002

It was about a very large crocodile who wanted to eat a bird and/or some tasty little children.

That's this book.
posted by interrobang at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2002

Aha- found it. It's called The Enormous Crocodile. The cover image.
posted by kahboom at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2002

My eldest has just discovered Roald Dahl so I am having the pleasure of reacquainting myself with his oeuvre. We picked up the BFG illustrated by Quentin Blake in a market for about threepence halfpenny the other day. It's beautiful.
posted by Fat Buddha at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2002

heh. Thanks, Interrobang. In case anyone missed it, this is the book we both found. See? Right here.
posted by kahboom at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2002

I'll always remember Roald Dahl as the man that broke my childhood cherry. I'd read quite a few of his books for children: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, et al. I went to the library and checked out The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, in particular, a story called The Swan. It amazed me (I was 8 yrs. old) that people existed who could be mean like that, and there were books about it. It's sort of stuck in my mind as a turning point ever since.
posted by patrickje at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2002

I was always a James and the Giant Peach guy (the movie was well done too). This Slate article has a cool story about Rahl worth reading.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2002

Roald or Dahl.....sorry

stoopid dyslexia.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2002

Used to love Witches as a child...very creepy though. This is another great one of his. Plus some interesting commentary on the social impact of his work.
posted by trillion at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2002

Put me down for Fantastic Mr.Fox.
posted by euphorb at 12:55 PM on September 4, 2002

I am a big fan of Dahl. His short stories for adults are great reading, as is his only novel. I was surprised to find that the "finger chopping" bet segment from "Four Rooms" and Alfred Hitchcock was a Dahl tale. Also, portions of some of his WWII writing were borrowed for Miyazaki's Porco Rosso.

There is a cleverly illustrated but unfortunately abridged version of his short story "Pig" here.
posted by phatboy at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2002

One of my favorite Roald Dhal stories is the short story he wrote about the man who could see with his eyes closed. I can't remember the title of it though, but it was in a book that was a collection of his short stories.
It was written so convincingly (at least it seemed that way when I was 10) that I still sort of believe that if I trained hard enough in the way he described, I could learn how to see through things also.
posted by Pharkas at 1:48 PM on September 4, 2002

He also wrote the screenplay for Bond film 'You Only Live Twice'.
posted by Summer at 2:00 PM on September 4, 2002

Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake blake were two of my childhood heros, thou i didnt know it at the time!

The twits were the funniest, the BFG was the best story, The witches was the scariest but the chocolate factory was the book i most wanted to be part of!!!
posted by monkeyJuice at 2:08 PM on September 4, 2002

He also wrote the screenplay for Bond film 'You Only Live Twice'.

Not to mention the screenplay from Ian Fleming's novel 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'.
posted by liam at 2:27 PM on September 4, 2002

You and me both, Satapher. Dahl's work expanded my metal world, and I look forward to him expanding my children's.
posted by me3dia at 2:52 PM on September 4, 2002

Fabu links interrobang, thanks! :)
posted by dejah420 at 3:33 PM on September 4, 2002

Dahl and Crisp also have their hand in this wildly elaborate Robertson's site, which I discovered just yesterday. Who's Robertson's? They sell lemon curd.
posted by Yogurt at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2002

I love Roald Dahl. One my earliest book memories is getting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator for Christmas one year. I loved them, except the Vermicious Knids scared the piss out of me; to this day I can't bring myself to eat eggplant becuase the drawing of the Knids looked like eggplants to my 5-year-old self.

I also love playing "Name that Quote" when I watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One of the best moments of my life was when I finally tracked down "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams" (this was pre-web, I'm sure it would be a cinch to track it down now).
posted by eilatan at 5:14 PM on September 4, 2002

Pharkas, that's "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar".

Okay, this is a huge self-link and all, but I can't believe somebody posted about Dahl and didn't link to Roald Dahl I've been working on that thing for five years and patiently waiting for somebody, anybody on MeFi to find it. You can even seen pictures from my pilgrimage to his house (and inside his writing hut, where Felicity Dahl took me on a private tour). Okay, enough shameless aggrandizement.

Eilatan - That's a good one. I also like the poem that the Tinker recites:

Up the airy mountain
    Down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a–hunting,
  For fear of little men...
posted by web-goddess at 5:47 PM on September 4, 2002

And Phatboy, he actually wrote two novels, but the first was such a horrendous bomb that he and the publishers basically swept it under the rug. It's called "Sometime Never" (1948) and it had the distinction of being the first book published after WWII to depict the atrocities of atomic war. It really does suck though, so I wouldn't go out looking for it unless you're a collector. It's all about the gremlins who punch holes in planes, and it's got a lot of satire about Communism and Fascism in it.

Interestingly, Dahl claimed to have invented the term "gremlins" (although he was talking out his ass, as usual). His first book was actually a children's picture book he did with Walt Disney called "The Gremlins" (1943). They were going to make it into a cartoon but the project fizzled. Copies of that book go for hundreds of dollars, depending on the condition.
posted by web-goddess at 5:54 PM on September 4, 2002

Someone Like You is one of my favorite books of short stories. The writing is suave and stylish, and from time to time scary as all hell. I never really read his children's books as a child, due to the fact that I decided I was too smart for kids' books, but I read them as an adult, and they're fantastic. I also read the first volume of his autobiography, and was shocked to learn how much of the really freaky things in his stories come from his life.
posted by Hildago at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2002

Oh Yogurt...what have you done? Do you realize the amount of time I now have to spend going through that really groovy site! Damn you! :)

For those that may not have read the stuff that Mr. Dahl wrote for adults, many of the stories have been collected in "Tales of the Unexpected"...which truly was not what I expected when I ordered the book. Some of the stories are fairly disturbing...whilst others and whimsical and fun. Some of them have haunted my dreams, but almost none of them are easily forgettable.

Webgoddess...groovy! I didn't know there was such a site...but now, I shall spend much time exploring it! Whoo Hoo! Man, glad to know there are other Dahl freaks out there. :)

I believe it was a British TV show as well, but I've never seen it, so I can't speak to it's caliber or faithfulness to the author.
posted by dejah420 at 8:20 PM on September 4, 2002

dejah - It was pretty faithful, considering Dahl hosted it and adapted his own stores (for the first two years, anyway). They did a piece on it for the British TV show "I Love 1980" last year. I've got some pictures and articles about it at the site.
posted by web-goddess at 9:26 PM on September 4, 2002

Something nice from Quentin: free, printable bookplates here, here, and here, courtesy of the fine people at the My Home Library book site for kids. (ps: many more bookplates from other illustrators also available on the site.)
posted by taz at 11:46 PM on September 4, 2002

And web-godess has some nice Dahl wallpaper that you might want to download to celebrate his birthday, which as she points out is September 13. Nice site, web-godess!
posted by taz at 12:13 AM on September 5, 2002

I think Dahl also write that short story where the wife kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, cooks it, calls the police, and then serves them the murder weapon for dinner--can't remember the title.

It was filmed for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and it's creepy as hell.
posted by eilatan at 6:39 AM on September 5, 2002

Yep! That one's "Lamb to the Slaughter". One of the all-time classic short stories.
posted by web-goddess at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2002

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