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Scrumdiddlyumptious! – Roald Dahl Day

Yesterday was Roald Dahl Day, a celebration of the life and works of one of my favourite authors. He wrote loads of really great children’s books; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Danny the Champion of the World are the two I loved best when I was a kid. But a few years back I discovered he wrote brilliant stories for adults too which spawned the famous British TV series Tales of the Unexpected. Best of all is what he did with words. There were words he invented; ‘wonkavator’ (an elevator which can move in any direction, not just up or down), ‘Oompa-Loompa’ (a fictional character), ‘Wangdoodle’ (a mythical creature) and ‘snozberry’ (a type of fruit); words he mixed-up (do you know what his story Esio Trot is about?) and words he used cleverly: he calls a talented pickpocket a ‘fingersmith’ in his short story, The Hitch-hiker – a definite candidate for our Open Dictionary I reckon! Tell us which of Roald Dahl’s stories and words you love.

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Beth Penfold


  • Chalie and the Great Glass Elevator was one of the books that I co-read with my Mum (we took it in turns to read a chapter when I was too young to read it entirely on my own) and included some of the first “difficult” words I encountered. I recall vividly trying and failing to sound out “vermicious knids” – aliens lifeforms which remain terrifying sounding to this day!

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