Roald Dahl’s highly imaginative trademark writing style has whisked generations of readers into magical worlds. The “whizzcracklingly” wacky tale of THE BFG was Dahl’s personal favorite of his own works and is now home on the DCT stage after making its way across this country as this year’s national tour production.
Two local librarians took some time to talk to us about Roald Dahl and what makes him one of their all-time favorite writers. Christina Hudman is library associate at the Oak Lawn Public Library. Star Kulp is the Children’s Librarian at the Timber Glen Branch. They shared their expertise and their personal enthusiasm for Roald Dahl.
CHRISTINA: I love Roald Dahl because he makes ordinary life situations with kids magical and wonderful and exciting, and just really come to life in a way that other authors don’t. He’ll take you on adventures that you never thought you’d go on, and he’ll create great characters that will stay with you forever, because his stories are just amazing. They take you to places you never thought you’d go.
STAR: I love Roald Dahl because he creates worlds that are extraordinary, but you don’t even second guess the strange things that happen there because they just make sense to the story. My favorite Roald Dahl story is CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I love that world he created where this poor little boy could be exposed to the magic. But it was not even magic. It’s a world you believe in. Roald Dahl’s writing is different, and children will be interested because he will take them to different worlds – a world where a giant is friendly, who gathers dreams to give to children, and a world where a boy can fit inside a peach pit and travel around the world. There’s no logic to his books, but they’re so much fun.
Both library professionals are eager to see how THE BFG comes to life on stage – what the Giant and his world will look like, and how Sophie will be transported to his world. We also discussed how some of Dahl’s writing is sometimes scary or even dark.
CHRISTINA: Just because something’s dark doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. I like a lot of dark humor and dark stories. I think assuming kids always want happy, and always have happy,… kids experience a lot of emotions, and I think Dahl touches on a lot of emotions that other authors don’t touch.
STAR: I think kids are a whole lot smarter and with it than we think they are. We can expose them to things that may be dark, but they’re going to see the light in it because kids are positive, and they’ll find the light in any dark that shows up.
Every time THE BFG came up, a smile immediately crept to Christina’s face, letting us know that, like Dahl, it is a personal favorite.
CHRISTINA: I got to read THE BFG in third grade. Up until then I really had a hard time reading and didn’t really have a good time reading. It was the first story I really connected to and really, really enjoyed reading. Ever since then, all of his other books have been really important to me. I just love it because the giant that you’re supposed to be scared of, and you are scared of at first, turns out to be this loveable, heartwarming creature. It’s just a great story.
Our library friends compared Dahl’s creativity to that of children who are not bound by logic and what is possible. Star mentioned how quickly we accept OompaLoompas as a real part of a world made of candy, and how wonderful it is for adults to also get swept up into these worlds. We at DCT look forward to making Giantland a reality for Dallas families this spring.
THE BFG runs April 29 – May 22.
We promise that it will be a Phizz-Whizzing experience!