Roald Dahl Biography Contest

Scholastic, 2002

In the spring of 2002, Andrew Donkin provided nine copies of his new book Dead Famous: Roald Dahl and His Chocolate Factory for a contest. Participants were asked to e-mail me their response to this question:

Which Roald Dahl book is your favorite and why?

Here are the winning contest entries. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Emily Quiqley:

My name is Emily and I am 9 years old. I love Roald Dahl. I am doing a report on him right now in school. We were allowed to pick anyone we wanted. I am even going to dress up like him and wear a sweater, bifocals, and a sleeping bag on my legs as I read my report to my class. I will have a yellow paper and pencil like he did. I am going to give chocolate to the kids in my class because he loved chocolate.

My favorite book is BFG. I like it because it has silly words and it is funny. I like that he says human beans instead of human beings. I also like that Sophie tries to catch dreams with him and I wish I could do that. And I wish the BFG was real so I wouldn’t have nightmares. I also like that the BFG gallops like 50 houses long and we only gallop like three feet long and he goes fast.

D.J. Napolitan:

Danny the Champion of the World. This book feels like it’s about my life. My name is Daniel, and I live alone with my mom. We live in a rented house and don’t have lots of fancy things, but reading this book, I realize it’s possible to be satisfied without a lot of fancy extras in your life, if you have someone special to love, that loves and cares for you. I also enjoy how Danny’s father still has an adventurous side, even though he’s grown up, with a son. My mom is like that too, lots of fun, even though she’s grown up, with a kid!

Edwina McEachran:

My favourite has to be Charlie and the Choclate Factory. Some will probably say because they love chocolate, some might even say because they love Roald Dahl anyway, but I Love it because I can just imagine if I had the factory. I would make really outrageous stuff and when I say outrageous, I MEAN OUTRAGEOUS!!! I would plant lollipop trees, build mines that digg up gold fizzleberries, UGLY trolls to mash up crackle poppers with their clubs, hire me as the taster, grow peach winders in the garden, secretly grow chocolate skittles to add to my sweet twanglers and hire appleberry pickers.

I think the BESTEST BEST part was when they went up in the lift. As I read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, I got quite a shock as it wasn’t as, well, imaginative. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fab book, but that Chocolate Factorywas the best story line I have EVER heard!

Roald Dahl is like my Idol because I want to be a writer and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspiered me to use more of my brain. Now I go to writing sessions, extension exams just because of a few words on paper. If I had just half of Roald Dahl’s imagination I would be over the moon! (I’m speaking literally if I was in Charlie and the Glass Elevator!)

Roald Dahl Fan:

Hi! I would LOVE to be one of the winners of the Roald Dahl Bibliography books. Roald Dahl is my FAVORITE author!! My favorite book of his is Matilda, because he makes you feel as if you are right there with Matilda, the book is also a reminder of what some people’s lives are like (not the magic parts) but that so many parents arent there as their kids are growing up, and shows how she gets past those problems.

Allison Vartanian:

i really like the book matilda because in the book she is a child prodigy. i am smart for my age and in all honors classes. when i read the book matilda in 4th grade it made me feel like i wasn’t the only one that was smart for her age. i also like this book because it made me feel like you could do anything as long as you put your mind to it. also, it made me think that no matter what age you are you still can do anything you want. i really like the book matilda.

Marvin Winitz:

Sometime Never. It seems no wonder that the book, first published in the U.S., was a flop. American sentiment was that the U.S. came to the aid of the British. Not only as you indicated was the book a first for telling the dangers of Atomic warfare, but it may have been also a first for a Brit making disparaging remarks about America. Dahl writes “black and white..Greek and German..a great human zoo…Even in times of danger..pursue the business of coin collecting with such an intense ferocity… the coin -collectors soon take control of those chosen..” Now in the 21st Century, although we still love Danny, Matilda, and having our Tales twisted, the book may perhaps be the most significant book Dahl wrote. Taking the book as a whole, he writes of the appearance of Gremlins in the 1940’s and then projects. Referring to America he makes the uncanny remark “I saw in one place the skeletons of tall thin buildings..” He also writes “I saw numbers of people ..quite incapable of thought..I learned that they were survivors of a germ-weapon with which the enemy had sprayed the land..” This warning of bio-war, which if certain microbes are once unleashed and propagate could indeed allow the Gremlins to inherit the earth and life as we know it disappear.

Karen Marie Oevern:

Choosing only ONE book as a favourite is almost impossible. Each book has a special touch, and they all make its way into ones heart. But, I have to say “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is the number one book. The characters (espesially Willy Wonka) are so lively described, you feel like you know them. Each time i read it I descover something new…and I can feel the chocolate melt on my tounge. Roald Dahl had a special gift in telling stories for children in such a way that they are loved by adults. Not many authors have that gift.

Christopher Boyd:

Greetings from Australia! Without a doubt, my most favourite book of Roald Dahl’s is Boy: Tales of Childhood. I have read this book too many times to mention and use it all the time in the classroom. (Yes, I am a teacher) In fact, I possess three of my own copies of this particular book and I never tire from reading it. It is no secret that Roald Dahl used many of his childhood experiences, many of which are mentioned in this book, as inspiration for his writing.

Boy is the book for me,
Written, oh so cleverly,
With characters entertaining,
Some cheery, some complaining
Other Dahl books I do enjoy,
but I find it hard to go past Boy!

Maja Verdonik:

I live in Rijeka, Croatia and I am a croatian language and literature teacher. I love Roald Dahl’s books and I’ve introduced them also to my students. We enjoyed the extraordinary humor he used writing about very serious things in children’s life. Matilda is my favorite book because it inspires me to be the best teacher possible. It is a great story about a child who isn’t apricieted in her own family and this is, unfortunately, a situation familiar to many children. I would like to be the kind of teacher miss Honey is to Matilda and her friends. Is it so – it is for my students to tell. I could only continue to do my best.