The best piece of book news I’ve heard/seen today is that Roald Dahl is being honoured with 6 of his books being turned into British stamps by The Royal Mail! Since it gives me such excitement and joy, I decided to share the stamps with you along with a couple of fun facts about the books chosen 🙂
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably one of my all-time favourites.
- Interestingly enough, it was first published in the United States by Knopf in 1964 and then in the United Kingdom in 1967 by George Allen & Unwen.
- A chapter entitled “Spotty Powder” was cut from the book. It involved a description of candy that could make children temporarily ill so that they could skip school. Decades later, J.K. Rowling’s inimitable characters Fred and George created Skivving Snackboxes, chewable tablets to make children sick and well again to skip classes. Love how this idea was shared by two British authors!
- Originally the book was criticized because the Oompa-Loompas represented black pygmies. Dahl revised this.
- Dahl was inspired to write this story because when he was in school, both Cadbury and Rowntrees were highly secretive about their chocolate-making processes. It was known that the companies would often try to spy on each other to obtain insider information.
- A Roald Dahl story that I only read once (but obviously need to get my hands on again).
- The story was turned into a play that is only licensed to be performed in the United Kingdom.
- The story was adapted into an opera in the United States. Wow…
- This book was originally entitled James and the Giant Cherry. Roald Dahl eventually changed it to Giant Peach before publication because he claimed peaches were “prettier, bigger and squishier”. I don’t know about prettier… but bigger and squishier, I agree.
- It is considered a macabre and disturbing book, and has earned the #56 spot on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Frequently Challenged Books. I would have to disagree there… I read it when I was about 6 and didn’t find it remotely scary. Just fun! Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker deserved to be squashed under that peach…
- Roald Dahl denied film companies the right to convert the story into a movie. However, after his death, his widow Liccy Dahl consented and even enjoyed the changes with the plot.
- I personally wish Central Park had a representation of the peach pit carved into a mansion for main character James. Gotta love literary sculptures and references.
- Oh how I loved this book and this movie. Fun anecdote, when this movie released in theatres, I was invited to go see it as a part of my friend’s birthday party. The invitation came in the form of a movie ticket. Unfortunately, I was naughty for some reason or another and my mom tore up the invitation saying I couldn’t go as punishment. I was horrified. After a bit of crying and some skillful six-year-old negotiations, my mom agreed to let me go to the party. But I was convinced I couldn’t attend without the ticket. When I got into the movie theatre, I was amazed. After the movie, I tried moving objects with my eyes for a month. I was convinced I read as much as Matilda and therefore I was as special as her. When I finally realized I couldn’t feed myself cereal with my eyes, I blamed it on my disastrous math skills. Matilda could handle big numbers. I still can’t. ……………..I know. Great story, right?
- The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned Matilda as a musical in 2010. It’s known to be the best British musical since Billy Elliot. High praise!
- In one of the first drafts of the book, Ms. Honey was a bumbling alcoholic. I definitely appreciate Dahl altering that.
- Not my favourite Roald Dahl story, primarily because the main antagonists truly repulse me. As a child, I found it offensive that Mr. Twit would never clean his beard. The illustration of sardines and cornflakes stuck in his poky beard disgusted me. Still does.
- Roald Dahl didn’t like beards, which is why Mr. Twit’s was portrayed as particularly nasty.
- There was definitely a clear moral early on in the story—Mrs. Twit was originally a beautiful woman that got uglier as time went on due to her ugly personality.
- While adults don’t entirely approve of this story, children are drawn to it’s weird, slightly twisted humour. Elementary school teachers believe it’s a good starter-book because of its short length and popularity among children.
- Now this book is freaky. I love it, but it’s freaky. And I cannot eat while watching the movie. If you’ve seen it, you know why.
- This book is ranked #22 on the American Library Association’s Frequently Challenged Books list. Meh, that’s a bit high up in my opinion but … I can see it.
- The story is told in the first person narrative by a six year old boy, who’s name we never read. In the movie, his name is Luke.
- Roald Dahl did not agree with the “happy ending” in the movie. *SPOILER ALERT* In the book, the boy remains a mouse for the rest of his life and enjoys it. In the movie, he is magically transformed back into a boy.
Hope you enjoyed this little trivia trip! I hear The Royal Mail is planning a similar celebration for Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday, might have to crank out a post for that one as well 😉 Do you have any fun memories of these Roald Dahl books or others? Share the love here!