The Sunday Post (Dundee)

Rollicking Roald Dahl reads

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory 1964

- By Murray Scougall

ROALD DAHL’S legacy will live on long after what would have been his 100th birthday on September 13.

As one of the best-loved children’s authors of the 20th Century, his books have secured a permanent place in popular culture that means generation of kids will continue to discover his tales of mean adults, heroic children, unique words and an unusual view of the world.

Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, Dahl was a top RAF fighter pilot during the Second World War.

Following an aircraft crash, he wrote a well-received article about the incident for a newspaper. It was his first published work – and sparked a new career.

His first children’s book was The Gremlins, published in 1943.

From then until his death in 1990, he produced screenplay­s, macabre adult short stories (many of which were adapted for Tales Of The Unexpected) and radio scripts.

But it’s his children’s books that are best loved, none more so than Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, about a poverty-stricken young boy who wins a golden ticket to visit the magical and mysterious chocolate factory of Willy Wonka.

“It seems to have made the most impact in our popular culture,” said Kristine Howard, who set up roalddahlf­ 20 years ago.

“The other stories are well known, but Charlie stands alone.”

Kristine became a Dahl fan in school when her teacher read The BFG.

“I think it was the humour and inventiven­ess that grabbed me.

“As an adult I find I prefer the books with strong family bonds such as Danny, The Champion Of The World and The Witches.

“His books aren’t all cheeky naughtines­s and jokes, they also teach children about bravery and love.”

Some of Dahl’s books are more than 50 years old but remain hugely popular. Kristine believes that will continue.

“Nothing in the stories feels dated. They still speak to today’s children as much as they did earlier generation­s.

“Dahl once said that children love and respond to violence and food, so his books are filled with them.

“He also knew what made kids laugh and turn pages.”

Lots of events have been taking place to mark Roald’s centenary.

Kristine added: “I think he would have been pleased at the recognitio­n, especially that his stories are still delighting children into the 21st Century.”

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