D is for Dahl [NOOK Book]

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D is for Dahl

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Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101636206
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/30/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 206,906
  • Age range: 7 - 12 Years
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

CHILDHOOD



Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and he was the only son of a second marriage. His father, Harald, and elder sister Astri died when Roald was just three. His mother, Sofie, was left to raise two stepchildren and her own four children (Alfhild, Roald, Else and Asta). Roald was her only son. He remembered his mother as “a rock, a real rock, always on your side whatever you’d done. It gave me the most tremendous feeling of security”. Roald based the character of the grandmother in The Witches on his mother - it was his tribute to her.



The young Roald loved stories and books. His mother told Roald and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures. “She was a great teller of tales,” Roald said, “Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten.” As an older child, Roald enjoyed adventure stories - “Captain Marryat was one of my favourites” – before going on to read Dickens and Thackeray as well as short-story writer Ambrose Bierce.



His father Harald was, as Roald recalled in Boy, a tremendous diary-writer. “I still have one of his many notebooks from the Great War of 1914-18. Every single day during those five war years he would write several pages of comment and observation about the events of the time.”



Roald himself kept a secret diary from the age of eight. “To make sure that none of my sisters got hold of it and read it, I used to put it in a waterproof tin box tied to a branch at the very top of an enormous conker tree in our garden. I knew they couldn’t climb up there. Then every day I would go up myself and get it out and sit in the tree and make the entries for the day.”



Roald’s parents seem to have instilled in him a number of character traits. In Boy, he talks of his father’s interest in “lovely paintings and fine furniture” as well as gardening. In spite of only having one arm, he was also a fine woodcarver. Paintings, furniture and gardening would all be passions of the adult Roald Dahl. Similarly, remembering his mother, in Roald Dahl’s Cookbook, he recalls “she had a crystal-clear intellect and a deep interest in almost everything under the sun, from horticulture to cooking to wine to literature to paintings to furniture to birds and dogs and other animals.” Roald might very well have been describing his adult self.



SCHOOL



Roald had an unhappy time at school. From the age of seven to nine, he attended Llandaff Cathedral School. His chief memories of this time, as described in Boy, are of trips to the sweet shop. The seeds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were already being sown as young Roald and his four friends lingered outside the shop window, gazing in at the big glass jars of sweets and pondering such questions as how Gobstoppers change colour and whether rats might be turned into liquorice. Sherbert suckers were one of Roald’s favourites – “Each Sucker consisted of a yellow cardboard tube filled with sherbert powder, and there was a hollow liquorice straw sticking out of it… You sucked the sherbert up through the straw and when it was finished you ate the liqourice… The sherbet fizzed in your mouth, and if you knew how to do it, you could make white froth come out of your nostrils and pretend you were throwing a fit.”



Boarding at St. Peter’s prep school in Weston-Super-Mare, from 1925-9, proved less of a sweet experience for Roald. He was just nine years old when he arrived at St. Peters and had to contend with the twitching Latin Master Captain Hardcastle, the all-powerful Matron - a dead ringer for Miss Trunchball, who “disliked small boys very much indeed” and the cane-wielding Headmaster. Not surprisingly, Roald suffered from acute homesickness. At St. Peter’s, Roald got into the habit of writing to his mother once a week. He continued to do so until her death 32 years later. Later, when his own children went to boarding school, Roald wrote to them twice a week to brighten up the drudgery of their school days.



Roald was thirteen when he started at Repton, a famous public school in Derbyshire. He excelled at sports, particularly heavyweight boxing and squash, but was deemed by his English master to be “quite incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper”. Whatever else he was forced to endure, there was one huge advantage to going to Repton. The school was close to Cadbury’s, one of England’s most famous chocolate factories and one which regularly involved the schoolboys in testing new varieties of chocolate bars.



Dahl’s unhappy time at school was to greatly influence his writing. He once said that what distinguished him from most other children’s writers was “this business of remembering what it was like to be young.” Roald’s childhood and schooldays are the subject of his autobiography Boy.

WAR & ADVENTURE



At 18, rather than going to university, Roald joined the Public Schools Exploring Society’s expedition to Newfoundland. He then started work for Shell as a salesman in Dar es Salaam. He was 23 when war broke out and signed up with the Royal Air Force in Nairobi. At first, the station doctor balked at his height (6ft 6in or 2 metres) but he was accepted as a pilot officer and was trained on the birdplane Gladiator fighters, mainly in Iraq. He then flew to join his squadron in the Western Desert of Libya but crashed en-route.



Dahl’s exploits in the war are detailed in his autobiography Going Solo. They include having a luger pointed at his head by the leader of a German convoy, crashlanding in no-man’s land (and sustaining injuries that entailed having his nose pulled out and shaped!) and even surviving a direct hit during the Battle of Athens, when he was sufficiently recovered to fly again – this time in Hurricanes. Eventually, he was sent home as an invalid but transferred, in 1942, to Washington as an air attaché. It was there that he would meet an important writer who would set him on the path to a new career.



THE FIRST CHAPTER: ROALD BEGINS TO WRITE



In 1942, during his time in Washington, C S Forester, author of Captain Hornblower, took Roald to lunch. Forester was in America to publicise the British war effort and hoped Roald would describe his version of the war, which Forester would write up for the Saturday Evening Post. Roald chose to write down his experiences. Ten days after receiving the account, Forester wrote back “Did you know you were a writer? I haven’t changed a word.” He enclosed a cheque for $900 from the Post. The piece appeared anonymously in August 1942 under the title “Shot Down Over Libya”. Roald’s career as a writer was underway.



Roald Dahl’s first book for children was not, as many suppose, James and the Giant Peach but The Gremlins, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The story of The Gremlins focused on the mischievous spirits that, according to RAF legend, cause aircraft-engine failures. In the end, the project to make a movie version was abandoned but the book was published. Roald was never very keen on The Gremlins and didn’t really think of it as a children’s book. Nevertheless, it caught Eleanor Roosevelt’s eye and Roald became a not infrequent guest at th
Quentin Blake lives and works in London, Hastings, and the South West of France. He first had drawings published when he was still at school. He has worked on over 200 books, sometimes as illustrator and sometimes as the writer too. In 1999, with the help of children from over 24 schools all over Britain, Quentin was selected to be the first Children's Laureate. The children submitted a long list of questions for Quentin, here are his answers to a few of them.



"Your illustrations are very recognizable. What made you illustrate the way you do?"

"I am not really quite sure why I draw the way I do. It may be because I didn’t go to an art school, except for part-time lessons when I was already over twenty. But I don’t think that can be the whole explanation. It’s a kind of handwriting, and it does actually look rather like my handwriting."



"Did you first start to like books because of the words or the pictures? Do you like writing as much as drawing and painting? In Clown you didn’t use words at all. Do you think stories can be told as well without words?"

"I also enjoy writing words; though I think that sometimes it’s possible to tell a story entirely in pictures, as in Clown. One interesting thing about that is that it gives the reader the opportunity to invent words and I think it encourages you to think about, and perhaps discuss, what actually is going on and what the characters are thinking and feeling."



"When we read we make up pictures in our heads. Do you think having lots of pictures in a book helps that or stops it happening?"

"This raises a very interesting question. With my pictures, what I hope is that it encourages the reader to imagine more pictures of his own. But sometimes what the writer is putting into your head is so rich and visual that much in the way of illustration is superfluous. Probably you know the answer to this question (though I don’t think there is only one answer) better than I do."



"How did you feel when they announced the winner of the Children’s Laureate? Will it help your work or get in the way? What do you want to be able to do now that you are Children’s Laureate?"

"When I was told that I was winner of the Children’s Laureate I experienced quite a variety of thoughts and feelings. It was very gratifying to think that a lot of people (like you) really did like what I had done - it was an unmistakable sign of something that it is very difficult to imagine from inside yourself. At the same time I was aware of the problem (so are the organisers of the Laureateship) that, if I am not careful, it might distract me from the work of creating more books, which is what I do best. However, for a long time I was a teacher of illustration at The Royal College of Art, so I know something about how to do two jobs at once; and I hope that during my two years I shall be offered, or find, ways to encourage people to discuss words and pictures and the way they go together; and generally to rate children’s books at their true value."



"Have you any advice you can give us?"

"Well, difficult; because everyone is different. But I do know that, whether it is writing or drawing, you have to do a lot of it, and keep on doing it - that is the way to improvement. And don’t wait for inspiration, just start. Inspiration is some mysterious blessing which happens when the wheels are turning smoothly."



"At the moment I am at work on a book about my work and the way I do it. When it comes out - it won’t be before September 2000, I’m afraid - you may find in it more extended answers to your questions; I will try to make sure they are there!"



Quentin Blake has illustrated many of Roald Dahl's books, in addition to other books for children. He lives in London, England.

CHILDHOOD



Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and he was the only son of a second marriage. His father, Harald, and elder sister Astri died when Roald was just three. His mother, Sofie, was left to raise two stepchildren and her own four children (Alfhild, Roald, Else and Asta). Roald was her only son. He remembered his mother as “a rock, a real rock, always on your side whatever you’d done. It gave me the most tremendous feeling of security”. Roald based the character of the grandmother in The Witches on his mother - it was his tribute to her.



The young Roald loved stories and books. His mother told Roald and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures. “She was a great teller of tales,” Roald said, “Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten.” As an older child, Roald enjoyed adventure stories - “Captain Marryat was one of my favourites” – before going on to read Dickens and Thackeray as well as short-story writer Ambrose Bierce.



His father Harald was, as Roald recalled in Boy, a tremendous diary-writer. “I still have one of his many notebooks from the Great War of 1914-18. Every single day during those five war years he would write several pages of comment and observation about the events of the time.”



Roald himself kept a secret diary from the age of eight. “To make sure that none of my sisters got hold of it and read it, I used to put it in a waterproof tin box tied to a branch at the very top of an enormous conker tree in our garden. I knew they couldn’t climb up there. Then every day I would go up myself and get it out and sit in the tree and make the entries for the day.”



Roald’s parents seem to have instilled in him a number of character traits. In Boy, he talks of his father’s interest in “lovely paintings and fine furniture” as well as gardening. In spite of only having one arm, he was also a fine woodcarver. Paintings, furniture and gardening would all be passions of the adult Roald Dahl. Similarly, remembering his mother, in Roald Dahl’s Cookbook, he recalls “she had a crystal-clear intellect and a deep interest in almost everything under the sun, from horticulture to cooking to wine to literature to paintings to furniture to birds and dogs and other animals.” Roald might very well have been describing his adult self.



SCHOOL



Roald had an unhappy time at school. From the age of seven to nine, he attended Llandaff Cathedral School. His chief memories of this time, as described in Boy, are of trips to the sweet shop. The seeds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were already being sown as young Roald and his four friends lingered outside the shop window, gazing in at the big glass jars of sweets and pondering such questions as how Gobstoppers change colour and whether rats might be turned into liquorice. Sherbert suckers were one of Roald’s favourites – “Each Sucker consisted of a yellow cardboard tube filled with sherbert powder, and there was a hollow liquorice straw sticking out of it… You sucked the sherbert up through the straw and when it was finished you ate the liqourice… The sherbet fizzed in your mouth, and if you knew how to do it, you could make white froth come out of your nostrils and pretend you were throwing a fit.”



Boarding at St. Peter’s prep school in Weston-Super-Mare, from 1925-9, proved less of a sweet experience for Roald. He was just nine years old when he arrived at St. Peters and had to contend with the twitching Latin Master Captain Hardcastle, the all-powerful Matron - a dead ringer for Miss Trunchball, who “disliked small boys very much indeed” and the cane-wielding Headmaster. Not surprisingly, Roald suffered from acute homesickness. At St. Peter’s, Roald got into the habit of writing to his mother once a week. He continued to do so until her death 32 years later. Later, when his own children went to boarding school, Roald wrote to them twice a week to brighten up the drudgery of their school days.



Roald was thirteen when he started at Repton, a famous public school in Derbyshire. He excelled at sports, particularly heavyweight boxing and squash, but was deemed by his English master to be “quite incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper”. Whatever else he was forced to endure, there was one huge advantage to going to Repton. The school was close to Cadbury’s, one of England’s most famous chocolate factories and one which regularly involved the schoolboys in testing new varieties of chocolate bars.



Dahl’s unhappy time at school was to greatly influence his writing. He once said that what distinguished him from most other children’s writers was “this business of remembering what it was like to be young.” Roald’s childhood and schooldays are the subject of his autobiography Boy.

WAR & ADVENTURE



At 18, rather than going to university, Roald joined the Public Schools Exploring Society’s expedition to Newfoundland. He then started work for Shell as a salesman in Dar es Salaam. He was 23 when war broke out and signed up with the Royal Air Force in Nairobi. At first, the station doctor balked at his height (6ft 6in or 2 metres) but he was accepted as a pilot officer and was trained on the birdplane Gladiator fighters, mainly in Iraq. He then flew to join his squadron in the Western Desert of Libya but crashed en-route.



Dahl’s exploits in the war are detailed in his autobiography Going Solo. They include having a luger pointed at his head by the leader of a German convoy, crashlanding in no-man’s land (and sustaining injuries that entailed having his nose pulled out and shaped!) and even surviving a direct hit during the Battle of Athens, when he was sufficiently recovered to fly again – this time in Hurricanes. Eventually, he was sent home as an invalid but transferred, in 1942, to Washington as an air attaché. It was there that he would meet an important writer who would set him on the path to a new career.



THE FIRST CHAPTER: ROALD BEGINS TO WRITE



In 1942, during his time in Washington, C S Forester, author of Captain Hornblower, took Roald to lunch. Forester was in America to publicise the British war effort and hoped Roald would describe his version of the war, which Forester would write up for the Saturday Evening Post. Roald chose to write down his experiences. Ten days after receiving the account, Forester wrote back “Did you know you were a writer? I haven’t changed a word.” He enclosed a cheque for $900 from the Post. The piece appeared anonymously in August 1942 under the title “Shot Down Over Libya”. Roald’s career as a writer was underway.



Roald Dahl’s first book for children was not, as many suppose, James and the Giant Peach but The Gremlins, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The story of The Gremlins focused on the mischievous spirits that, according to RAF legend, cause aircraft-engine failures. In the end, the project to make a movie version was abandoned but the book was published. Roald was never very keen on The Gremlins and didn’t really think of it as a children’s book. Nevertheless, it caught Eleanor Roosevelt’s eye and Roald became a not infrequent guest at th
Quentin Blake lives and works in London, Hastings, and the South West of France. He first had drawings published when he was still at school. He has worked on over 200 books, sometimes as illustrator and sometimes as the writer too. In 1999, with the help of children from over 24 schools all over Britain, Quentin was selected to be the first Children's Laureate. The children submitted a long list of questions for Quentin, here are his answers to a few of them.



"Your illustrations are very recognizable. What made you illustrate the way you do?"

"I am not really quite sure why I draw the way I do. It may be because I didn’t go to an art school, except for part-time lessons when I was already over twenty. But I don’t think that can be the whole explanation. It’s a kind of handwriting, and it does actually look rather like my handwriting."



"Did you first start to like books because of the words or the pictures? Do you like writing as much as drawing and painting? In Clown you didn’t use words at all. Do you think stories can be told as well without words?"

"I also enjoy writing words; though I think that sometimes it’s possible to tell a story entirely in pictures, as in Clown. One interesting thing about that is that it gives the reader the opportunity to invent words and I think it encourages you to think about, and perhaps discuss, what actually is going on and what the characters are thinking and feeling."



"When we read we make up pictures in our heads. Do you think having lots of pictures in a book helps that or stops it happening?"

"This raises a very interesting question. With my pictures, what I hope is that it encourages the reader to imagine more pictures of his own. But sometimes what the writer is putting into your head is so rich and visual that much in the way of illustration is superfluous. Probably you know the answer to this question (though I don’t think there is only one answer) better than I do."



"How did you feel when they announced the winner of the Children’s Laureate? Will it help your work or get in the way? What do you want to be able to do now that you are Children’s Laureate?"

"When I was told that I was winner of the Children’s Laureate I experienced quite a variety of thoughts and feelings. It was very gratifying to think that a lot of people (like you) really did like what I had done - it was an unmistakable sign of something that it is very difficult to imagine from inside yourself. At the same time I was aware of the problem (so are the organisers of the Laureateship) that, if I am not careful, it might distract me from the work of creating more books, which is what I do best. However, for a long time I was a teacher of illustration at The Royal College of Art, so I know something about how to do two jobs at once; and I hope that during my two years I shall be offered, or find, ways to encourage people to discuss words and pictures and the way they go together; and generally to rate children’s books at their true value."



"Have you any advice you can give us?"

"Well, difficult; because everyone is different. But I do know that, whether it is writing or drawing, you have to do a lot of it, and keep on doing it - that is the way to improvement. And don’t wait for inspiration, just start. Inspiration is some mysterious blessing which happens when the wheels are turning smoothly."



"At the moment I am at work on a book about my work and the way I do it. When it comes out - it won’t be before September 2000, I’m afraid - you may find in it more extended answers to your questions; I will try to make sure they are there!"



Quentin Blake has illustrated many of Roald Dahl's books, in addition to other books for children. He lives in London, England.

Biography

"I have never met a boy who so persistently writes the exact opposite of what he means," a teacher once wrote in the young Roald Dahl's report card. "He seems incapable of marshaling his thoughts on paper." From such inauspicious beginnings emerged an immensely successful author whom The Evening Standard would one day dub "one of the greatest children's writers of all time."

Dahl may have been an unenthusiastic student, but he loved adventure stories, and when he finished school he went out into the world to have some adventures of his own. He went abroad as a representative of the Shell corporation in Dar-es-Salaam, and then served in World War II as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. After the war, Dahl began his writing career in earnest, publishing two well-received collections of short stories for adults, along with one flop of a novel.

The short stories, full of tension and subtle psychological horror, didn't seem to presage a children's author. Malcolm Bradbury wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "[Dahl's] characters are usually ignoble: he knows the dog beneath the skin, or works hard to find it." Yet this talent for finding, and exposing, the nastier sides of grown-up behavior served him well in writing for children. As Dahl put it, "Writing is all propaganda, in a sense. You can get at greediness and selfishness by making them look ridiculous. The greatest attribute of a human being is kindness, and all the other qualities like bravery and perseverance are secondary to that."

In 1953, Dahl married the actress Patricia Neal; two of his early children's books, James and the Giant Peach (1961) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) grew out of the bedtime stories he made up for their children. Elaine Moss, writing in the Times, called the latter "the funniest children's book I have read in years; not just funny but shot through with a zany pathos which touches the young heart." Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a colossal hit. A film version starring Gene Wilder was released in 1971 (as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), while James and the Giant Peach was made into a movie in 1996.

Dahl followed his initial successes with a string of bestsellers, including Danny, the Champion of the World, The Twits, The BFG, The Witches and Matilda. Some adults objected to the books' violence -- unpleasant characters (like James’s Aunts Sponge and Spiker) tend to get bumped off in grotesque and inventive ways -- but Dahl defended his stories as part of a tradition of gruesome fairy tales in which mean people get what they deserve. "These tales are pretty rough, but the violence is confined to a magical time and place," he said, adding that children like violent stories as long as they're "tied to fantasy and humor." By the time of his death in 1990, Dahl's mischievous wit had captivated so many readers that The Times called him "one of the most widely read and influential writers of our generation."

Good To Know

When Dahl was in school, he and his schoolmates occasionally served as new-product testers for the Cadbury chocolate company. Dahl used to dream of working in a chocolate manufacturer's inventing room. He wrote in his autobiography, "I have no doubt at all that, 35 years later, when I was looking for a plot for my second book for children, I remembered those little cardboard boxes and the newly invented chocolates inside them, and I began to write a book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Dahl's first book for children, The Gremlins (1943), was a story about the mythical creatures that sabotaged British planes. (Dahl claimed for most of his life that he had coined the term "gremlins," but it had been in use by members of the Royal Air Force for years.) Walt Disney planned to use it as the basis for a movie, but the project was scrapped, and only 5,000 copies of the book were ever printed.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 13, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      Llandaff, Wales, England
    1. Date of Death:
      November 23, 1990
    2. Place of Death:
      Oxford, England

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    D is for Dahl

    Awesome!:)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Umm

    I never heard his books cuss. Anyway has anyone read this book!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2014

    R

    I wish this thing had more than five stars because this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    Yah.

    Someimes his books cus. Like charlie and the chocolate factories.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Weird

    Some of his books cuss

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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