Yes, you. Stop right there. Don’t move. Are you an adult? Oh, dear. I’m sorry. This book is absolutely NOT meant for you. Kindly close the pages and go and do something grown-up instead. (Perhaps you could make a roast dinner with a hundred vegetables or creosote a fence or something.) Off you go. Have they gone? Good. Hello, non-adult! This book is meant for YOU. But be warned. It contains mischief and mayhem of such extreme naughtiness that you will need the cunning of Fantastic Mr Fox and the cleverness of Matilda to continue. You’re cunning AND clever? Excellent. We’ll get along just fine. Now, read on.
If you’ve bought, borrowed or been given this TRULY NAUGHTY book, then you surely already know of Roald Dahl. But, just in case you’re one of the 27 people on the planet who haven’t heard of him, let me tell you a little more.
was ONE of
There. Done. I beg your pardon? You’d like to know even more than that? Well, why didn’t you say so?
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 to Norwegian parents. He had four sisters. Sadly, both his father and his eldest sister died when he was very young. And then when he wasn’t much older – just nine years old – his mother sent him away to boarding school in England. Roald Dahl hated it so much that he pretended to have appendicitis so that he would be sent home. He was sent home.
But when he was found out he was sent back to school again.
In between detention and homework and being achingly homesick, Roald spent the rest of his school years trying to outwit his VERY STRICT teachers and the FORMIDABLE matron. And testing new chocolate bars for a VERY FAMOUS chocolate company. Luckily, he also loved making up stories. (He wrote it all down in a book called Boy, if you’d like to find out EVEN MORE.)
The rest of Roald Dahl’s life is like something out of a storybook too. He worked in London, which was chilly, and Africa, which wasn’t. He flew fighter-planes in the Second World War, which was very scary. (Unfortunately, he crashed one in the desert, which was even scarier.) He was a spy. Shhhh. And THEN he became a writer. Phew.
Roald Dahl wrote stories that were funny and amazing and scary and sad. There were unlikely heroes and fearsome villains. There were funny bits and not-so-funny bits and buckets and buckets of MISCHIEF. And MAYHEM.
Don’t forget the mayhem. Was it his time at boarding school that turned him into a trickster? Was it his fabulously dark sense of humour? Was it just because he liked making people laugh? Who knows? Roald Dahl, that’s who.
Perhaps you’ve already read some of Roald Dahl’s books? (If not, why not? Go to your nearest library straight away, please.) If so, you’ll know that they are chock full of HILARIOUS tricks. Have you ever read one of his particularly mischievous tricks and – after checking that no one is watching you, of course – thought, I could do that? You have? Marvellous. The thing is MOST GROWN-UPS have read Roald Dahl’s books too. (And if they haven’t, then they’re obviously numpties and not worth tricking.) So the last thing you want to do is copy one of his tricks exactly, because everyone will be expecting you to, say, superglue a hat to their head or turn their hair platinum blond just like Matilda. However, if you take one of Roald Dahl’s tricks and turn it into something just a LITTLE BIT different, then the results can be AMAZING.
Go on, do it.
Roald Dahl would.