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Scrumdiddlyumptious


Scrumdiddlyumptious


The World of Roald Dahl

By Stacey Mercer

Scrumdiddlyumptious

‘I’m probably more pleased with my children’s books than with my adult short stories. Children’s books are harder to write. It’s tougher to keep a child interested because a child doesn’t have the concentration of an adult. The child knows the television is in the next room. It’s tough to hold a child, but it’s a lovely thing to try to do.’ Roald Dahl


Contents

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08 Introduction

12 Roald Dahl

Danny, Champion of the World

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James and the Giant Peach

39 The BFG

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Fantastic Mr Fox

35 Matilda

Quentin Blake

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19

15

The Witches

42 Index

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Introduction

By Stacey Mercer, Editor and Researcher Scurmdiddlyumptious is an exploration of Roald Dahl’s best known children’s books. My childhood was full of Roald Dahl. The ones I remember reading best – and subsequently became my favourites – were Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I loved all of them particularly The Witches. I remember reading Matilda for the first time when I was 6 years old; my mum got it free when she brought a box of tea bags. My copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator had once belonged to my cousin – I remember reading it a dozen times before the book was lost during a move. My love of reading stemmed from reading Roald Dahl’s books and my love of art from their illustrations. This book will bring together these two wonderful art forms. 08

It will look at the wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake, for they – as much as the books – are one of the most iconic things I remember as a child. Though this book is only covering those that have been turned into movies, it is fair to say that those that have not yet been adapted for the

‘My copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator had once belonged to my cousin – I remember reading it a dozen times…’ screen – for surely they will be in the future – are just as loved, like The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Magic Finger, Boy, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, and Esio Trot. I hope that you find this book as interesting to read as it

was for me to research it.

Stacey Mercer


1943 - The Gremlins 1967 - James and the Giant Peach 1967 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 1966 - The Magic Finger 1970 - Fantastic Mr Fox 1972 - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 1972 - Danny, Champion of the World 1978 - The Enormous Crocodile

‘I remember reading Matilda for the first time when I was 6 years old; my mum got it free when she brought a box of tea bags.’

1980 - The Twits 1981 - George’s Marvellous Medicine 1982 - The BFG 1983 - The Witches 1984 - Boy – Tales of Childhood 1985 - The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me 1986 - Going Solo 1988 - Matilda 1989 - Esio Trot

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Roald Dahl

A Short Biography Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales on 13 September 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 her four children. Roald based the character of the grandmother in The Witches on his mother – it was his tribute to her. The young Roald loved

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stories and books. His mother told Roald and his sisters’ tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures. As an older child, Roald enjoyed adventure stories – ‘Captain Marryat’ was one of his favourites – before going on to read Dickens, Thackeray and short-story writer Ambrose Bierce. 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, which would all be passions of the adult Roald. Similarly his mother’s interests ranged from cooking and wine to literature and paintings, and horticulture and birds to dogs and other animals, all of which Roald was also interested in. In 1942, during his time in Washington, CS Forester, author of Captain Hornblower, took Roald to lunch. Forester was in The US 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’s career as a children’s book author did not begin in earnest until the 1960s, after he had become a father himself. In the meantime, he


devoted himself to writing short stories for adults with devilish twists in the tale. Roald’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. 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. Roald first became interested in writing children’s books by making up bedtime stories for his daughters Olivia and Tessa. This was how James and the Giant Peach came into being, first released in The US in 1961 and the UK in 1967. His second book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again was debuted in The US first, in 1964, and the UK in 1967. An unbroken string of bestselling titles followed, including The BFG, Danny

‘Roald Dahl is without question the most successful children’s writer in the world.’ Brian Appleyard, The Independent, 1990. Champion of the World, The Twits, The Witches and Boy. Sales of Matilda, Roald’s penultimate book, broke all previous records for a work of children’s fiction with UK sales of over half a million paperbacks in six months. In 1990, Roald was diagnosed with Myelo-dysplastic anaemia and passed away 23 November that same year at the age of 74.

Since his death, his books have more than maintained their popularity. Sales have continued to grow throughout the world.

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Quentin Blake A Short Biography

Quentin Blake was born in the suburbs of London in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before studying English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma

at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School. He has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was 16 and still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children’s books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960. He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman

and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic children’s books, and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage. Since the 1990s Quentin Blake has had an additional career as exhibition curator, curating shows in, among other places, the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. In the last

< Mister Magnolia

Mrs Armitage > 12


few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces. Most recently he has completed a scheme for the whole of a new maternity hospital in Angers. His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children’s books. In 2004 Quentin Blake was awarded the ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order. In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children’s literature. His book Laureate’s Progress (2002) recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure. Quentin Blake was created CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has

numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK.

‘Blake is beyond brilliant. He’s anarchic, moral, infinitely subversive, sometimes vicious, socially acute, sparse when he has to be, exuberantly lavish in the detail when he feels like it. He can tell wonderful stories without a single word, but his partnership with Roald Dahl was made in heaven. Or somewhere. The diabolic ingenuity of Dahl came into it s own only when he wrote for children. In conjunction with Blake, there was a kind of alchemy. I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Quentin Blake.’ Melanie McDonagh, Daily Telegraph

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket loves chocolate. And Mr Willy Wonka, the most wondrous inventor in the world, is opening the gates of his amazing chocolate factory to five lucky children. It’s the prize of a lifetime! Gobstoppers, wriggle sweets and a river of melted chocolate delight await – Charlie needs just one Golden Ticket and these delicious treats could all be his.

Illustrators: Joseph Schindelman (original), Quentin Blake Publisher: Alfred A Knopf, Inc (original), Penguin Books (Puffin)

‘Part of the fun … is the sense that Roald Dahl enjoyed telling the story as much as we are enjoying reading it. This becomes particularly true as the trip around the chocolate factory begins. It reflects how well Roald Dahl understood children.’ Julia

Eccleshare, Afterword to the Puffin Modern Classic edition

Publication Date: 1964 Pages: 155 ISBN: 0-394-91011-7

• 83% have read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory • 17% said Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people

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Danny, Champion of the World


Danny, Champion of the World

Danny thinks his dad is the most marvellous and exciting father a boy could wish for. Life is happy and peaceful in their gipsy caravan, until one day Danny discovers his dad has been breaking the law. What’s more, soon Danny has to join his father as they attempt to pull off a daring and devilish plot against horrible, red-faced Mr Victor Hazell…

‘There’s absolutely no doubt that Roald Dahl’s new book … is a triumph. It is the most beguiling book … and wildly, hilariously funny. If ever a book were for all the family, this is.’ Evening Standard Illustrators: Jill Bennett (original), Quentin Blake Publisher: Jonathan Cape (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1975 Pages: 224

‘Danny is a classic of it s kind, a delightfully acute portrayal of the relationship between a growing boy and his widowed father.’ Listener

ISBN: 0-435-12221-5

• 31% have read Danny, Champion of the World • 7% said Danny, Champion of the World was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people

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Fantastic Mr Fox


Fantastic Mr Fox

Every time Mr Fox steals a chicken from the farm, Farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean grow wild with rage! They’re the nastiest crooks in the valley, and they’ve concocted a cunning plan to dig him out of his hole once and for all. But it never occurs to them that Mr Fox has a fantastic plan of his own…

‘Boggis and Bunce and Bean One fat, one short, one lean. These horrible crooks So different in looks Were none the less equally mean.’

Illustrators: Donald Chaffin (original), Jill Bennett, Tony Ross, Quentin Blake Publisher: George Allen & Unwin (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1970 Pages: 96 ISBN: 0-394-80497-X

‘Dahl thought that kindness and warmth were important things for children to understand and that greediness and selfishness were to be fought against. This story reminds us of that in the hugely entertaining way.’ Wendy Coolings • 57% have read Fantastic Mr Fox • 11% said Fantastic Mr Fox was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people

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James and the Giant Peach


James and the Giant Peach

An enormous escaped rhinoceros from London Zoo has eaten James’s parents. And it gets worse! James is packed off to live with his two really horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker. Poor James is miserable, until something peculiar happens and James finds himself on the most wonderful and extraordinary journey he could ever imagine…

‘One of children’s literature’s classic stories … Master storyteller Roald Dahl stretches the imagination of the child like no other.’ Lancashire Evening Post

Illustrators: Nancy Ekhilm Burkert (original), Michael Simeon for the first British edition, Emma Chichester Clark,

‘The perfect book for people who love to read creative and imaginative stories.’ Syracuse Herald-Journal

Lane Smith and Quentin Blake Publisher: Alfred A Knopf, Inc (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1961 Pages: 160 ISBN: 0-375-81424-8

• 79% have read James and the Giant Peach • 9% said James and the Giant Peach was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people

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Matilda


Matilda

Matilda Wormwood’s father is a mean crooked crook. And her mother’s just plain stupid. They think Matilda is a nuisance who should watch more TV and read fewer books! But her lovely teacher Miss Honey thinks Matilda is a genius. Matilda has a few extraordinary tricks up her sleeve, so her horrible parents and even more horrible headmistress had better watch out.

Illustrators: Quentin Blake Publisher: Jonathan Cape (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1988 Pages: 240 ISBN: 0-224-02572-4

Matilda is the biggest seller amongst Roald’s books for children. As Jeremy Treglown notes in his biography of Roald, ‘No book of Dahl’s ever sold so fast. In Britain alone, half a million paperback copies went across the counter within six month’s’.

‘A love letter to the joys of reading and the possibility of being yourself, even when your family thinks you very strange.’ The Telegraph ‘There could hardly be a better heroine for today’s children. She is super-intelligent and a voracious reader of challenging literature.’ The Times.

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• 75% have read Matilda • 11% said Matilda was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people


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The BFG


The BFG

Every night, when the world is sleeping, big gruesome giants guzzle up whooppsy-whiffling human beans. And there’s only one giant who can stop them – the BFG. He’s the kindest giant there is and, with his friend Sophie in his top pocket, he sets out to rid the world of the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater and all their rotsome friends forever…

‘The whole book is ecstatically funny, wonderfully inventive and deliciously rude. Quentin Blake’s drawings are perfect as usual.’ Sunday Times

Illustrators: Quentin Blake Publisher: Jonathan Cape (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1982 Pages: 240 ISBN: 0-224-02040-4

‘Roald Dahl must be the world’s expert in this field. There must be a great many parents and teachers who owe him an enormous debt for being the writer who has revealed the pleasures of reading to the most reluctant of readers.’ Nursery World • 70% have read The BFG • 13% said The BFG was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people

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The Witches


The Witches

Witches really are a detestable breed. They disguise themselves as lovely ladies, when secretly they want to squish and squelch all the wretched children they despise. Luckily one boy and his grandmother know how to recognise these vile creatures – but can they get rid of them for good?

‘Funny, wise, deliciously disgusting, a real book for children.’ The Whitbread Award judges

‘A satisfying tale … Mr Dahl is a master of the improbable.’ New York Times

Illustrators: Quentin Blake Publisher: Jonathan Cape (original), Penguin Books (Puffin) Publication Date: 1983 Pages: 208 ISBN: 978-0-14-132264-3

‘It is a curious short of tale but an honest one, which deals with matters of crucial importance to children: smallness, the existence of evil in the world, mourning, separation, death’ Erica Jong, New York Times

‘A fast-moving, well-placed adventure … Blake’s scratchy black and white line drawings perfectly complement this novel.’ School Library Journal

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• 53% have read The Witches • 8% said The Witches was their favourite book All percentages are out of 100 people


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Index • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Illustrations: pages cover, 07-08, 15-17 by Quentin Blake Information: page 16 • Danny, Champion of the World Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 19-21 by Quentin Blake Information: page 20 • Fantastic Mr Fox Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 23-25 by Quentin Blake Information: page 22 • Index Illustration: by Quentin Blake to celebrate Roald Dahl’s birthday • James and the Giant Peach Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 27-29 by Quentin Blake Information: page 28 • Matilda Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 09, 31-33 by Quentin Blake Information: page 32 • Mister Magnolia Illustrations: page 13 by Quentin Blake 42

• Mrs Armitage Illustrations: page 13 by Quentin Blake • Quentin Blake Illustrations: page 12 by Quentin Blake, self portrait Photos: page 12 by Olivia Hemingway (Quentin Blake in his studio: stills for The Duologue Film ProjectQuentin) http://www.oliviahemingway.com/show. php?p=246 page 13 Photographer unknown, taken from http://elinaellis.blogspot. co.uk/2011/09/quentin-blake.html Information: pages 12-13 taken from Quentin Blake Biography http://www.quentinblake.com/en/meetqb/bio • Roald Dahl Illustrations: pages 03, 07, 10 Roald Dahl portrait by Quentin Blake Photos: page 10 Photographer unknown, taken from http://jeugd.defonteintirion.nl/ authors/index/details/id/14/ page 11 Photographer unknown, taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/ books/2010/sep/11/life-roald-dahldonald-sturrock

Information: pages 10-11 taken from Roald Dahl Biography http://www. roalddahl.com/ • Stacey Mercer Photo: page 09 Stacey Mercer portrait by Jess Cowley Information: pages 08-09 written by Stacey Mercer • The BFG Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 35-37 by Quentin Blake Information: page 38 • The Witches Illustrations: pages cover, 07, 39-41 by Quentin Blake Information: page 40


‘I’m probably more pleased with my children’s books than with my adult short stories. Children’s books are harder to write. It’s tougher to keep a child interested because a child doesn’t have the concentration of an adult. The child knows the television is in the next room. It’s tough to hold a child, but it’s a lovely thing to try to do.’ Roald Dahl

Scrumdiddlyumptious  

Final project for Designing Visual Narratives module. A book about Roald Dahl, and his amazing childrens books