ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reading List: Childhood Years with Roald Dahl

Updated on June 5, 2020
JM Salgado profile image

JM has a passion for inspirational objects of the past and the present. Using words to create a new form of storytelling.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach

Growing up with Chocolate, Magic, and Giant Peaches

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. - Roald Dahl (Matilda)

Books are one way of getting out and exploring some of the fascinating worlds that only imagination can create. Stories come alive as each word is read and appreciated by readers who see the colorful settings and enjoy the company of relatable characters. Introducing younger readers to this wonderful experience may require some trusted help from the famous storyteller, Roald Dahl.

Who is Roald Dahl?

Roald Dahl was a British writer, novelist, screenwriter, and poet who made books as early as the 1960s. Even though he came from an earlier generation, his books surpassed those times and are continuously read up to this day. His works that are more popular are the children's books. His writing style had been the center of appreciation and interest by young and old alike.

Dahl's short story writing for children is different. He makes wicked situations seem real with dark humor and detailed descriptions. This unusual style in children's stories made his works remarkable.

Words to the Big Screen

Many generations of readers have enjoyed the company of Roald Dahl's stories and lessons. There is great excitement in opening and reading through the pages of his short children's stories. But as time takes in new discoveries, the stories found new forms. Of course, even before there was 3D technology and before the big screen showed sci-fi, post-apocalyptic stories, there were also Roald Dahl's children's stories that were made into films.

The various characters created and remembered from the pages of a book came to life for the big screen. They all seemed fascinating because they remained to reflect on the writer's unusual style while introducing new elements to entertain. Even though the movie can't be as detailed as the books, they were able to manage and balanced it with the use of special effects. Most of Dahl's stories are magical, and in that sense made the movies more intricate to make.

The top three movies that are memorable adaptations are the following:

  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2015) - this was said to be a closer adaptation to the books.
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Matilda

If I will add another one, maybe it will be The Witches.

Favorite Roald Dahl movie adaptation

What is your favorite Roald Dahl's movie adaptation?

See results

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Fun and not so Eerie

A story of a young boy who got the last golden ticket to see the famous chocolate factory of Mr. Willy Wonka. The man who decided to open his factory's doors to five lucky children, who would find golden tickets hidden on the wrappers of his chocolate bars.

Five children attend the event with each having a guardian. Augustus Gloop, a boy who enjoys eating too much, got the first ticket and leads to his town's giving him a parade. Veruca Salt who is an extreme brat gets the second ticket from the hard work of employees hired by his rich father. Then Violet Beauregarde finds the next ticket while she is resting from achieving the world record in gum chewing. (Just one gum for a very long time). Next, Mike Teavee gets the fourth ticket, but he does not seem so interested in the prize because he only cares about television. (Get it, Teavee). Lastly, there is the seeming underdog in the story, Charlie Bucket. He is a poor boy who even experienced savoring and saving a single chocolate bar for a month but surprisingly got his golden ticket a day before the event.

Within the famous chocolate factory, all the guests experience amazing and surprising situations which both give the readers some thoughts to ponder. But compared to the latest adaptation (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005), when the story is made into the movie, there were changes made to this one which was different from the books. Also, the soundtrack of this movie will give you a sense of sentimentality, but not on the dark side of things. Although Dahl's signature style is usually having a dark humor to it, the latest one just was a little off the beat of being Dahl's story and more of being the director's story.

This may be an old favorite for many, however, avid book readers may not have enjoyed this as much.

James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Friends Big or Small

This movie combines both animation and live acting. This style had been used mostly in the 1990s because of the age of more advanced technology. The story of a young boy who is suffering from his two "evil" aunts, but receives a magical gift to go and reach his dream, is the main story in this movie. The adventure of the unlikely characters with a refreshing blend of live-action and animation, this movie gave life to the illustrations found in the book. The human-size insects and the view inside the giant peach were well detailed. A movie both young and old can enjoy. Viewers would be given that hope and would look forward to the next challenge before the characters reach the Empire State Building.

As part of Dahl's style as well, he was able to re-imagine the world with small but strong characters. He was able to show simple yet meaningful adventures. Then in this movie, the details come to life. A sure entertaining watch for children. But might receive some bad comments from tech-savvy ones.

Matilda (1996)

Power and Responsibility

The relationship of power and responsibility is not just seen in superhero movies. In this 1996 movie adaptation, a cute and adorable little girl shows great and unexplained strengths. The differences between children and adults are seen as a stepping stone for greater and more meaningful representations.

Matilda made things seem simple and hopeful. Even when big troubles come the way, there is a way to go past them. However, there should still be a sense of courage to face them properly.

This movie adaptation made the little, intelligent girl extraordinary because of her "powers." Book readers might want to see the genius, five-year-old who reads but this is a lighter Dahl talking, but his magical thoughts still linger through the movie.

Magic all over

For the extra nostalgia, The Witches (1990)

Even though the sound of that title may be scary, it still has that wonderful Roald Dahl touch.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)