Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Happy Birthday to ...
Actually, it was yesterday, September 13. And how cool is this? On Sunday, doing a little research for a Geography Club project, I thought I'd look up Mr. Dahl in Wikipedia and see when he was born. LO AND BEHOLD, the date was September 13 -- the VERY NEXT DAY!
I call that serendipity. I also call it an excuse for a party.
So we celebrated by dragging out a bunch of his beloved books and reading a sampling of first chapters. The kids even twisted my arm into reading two short chapters of The Twits, which they love because reading it aloud totally nauseates me and I usually refuse.
We talked about how Mr. Dahl makes liberal use of exaggeration, especially when it comes to his characters' misfortunes. He paints in broad, exuberant, and often dark brushstrokes. And unlike most other authors, he inserts himself a bit into the narration, addressing the reader as "you" and generally making you feel as if you're sitting at his feet as he spins you a crazy yarn.
Name me one child who doesn't love the works of Roald Dahl.
We also ate some chocolate for lunch -- an homage to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and learned a bit about Mr. Dahl's rather colorful life from his Wikipedia entry. And the girls strung up balloons and streamers, which they will do at the slightest provocation.
We were going to watch Matilda that night, but Ian thought it might be too scary for his sisters and so the Professor and I agreed to pre-screen it. Glad someone in this family is responsible! We decided that it was indeed too scary in places, and too kid-versus-adult.
Here's a list of author birthdays, in case you'd like to do something like this with your own young readers. And keep it simple! Fun trumps perfection, every time.