And no, I don’t mean that in the ‘person meets an ex and wonders why they ever broke up’ sense. I mean, of course, in the story sense.
This was actually meant to be a very short post. I was online Googling a quote, something short and cute to add to the blog before I went to bed. The one liner in my personal Twitter profile is a quote from Roald Dahl’s The BFG: ‘Don’t gobblefunk around with words.’ As I was on Twitter, I decided to add a quote from The BFG to the blog and just ended up remembering how much I loved this story. The BFG is probably one of the most adorable, beautiful characters ever created.
‘I is reading it hundreds of times,’ the BFG said. ‘And I is still reading it and teaching new words to myself and how to write them. It is the most scrumdiddlyumptious story.’
Sophie took the book out of his hand. ‘Nicholas Nickleby,’ she read aloud.
‘By Dahl’s Chickens,’ the BFG said.’
-The BFG by Roald Dahl
I then started thinking about reading, how it started for me. The truth is, I was terrible at reading when I was younger. Apparently, I was so confused by words they thought I was dyslexic. After this diagnosis they, inevitably, placed me in the bottom set for reading and moved on with life. Thankfully, my mum didn’t think my confusion was something that was unfixable, so she taught me to read.
It started out slow. My mum would read a chapter of a book, giving me a paragraph to struggle through. She taught me how to sound words out, to go slow, because that’s the beauty of words: they aren’t going anywhere. She bought me audiotapes, allowing me to fall in love with the story as I played, which enticed me to sit by myself and follow the tapes with the books that came with them. Soon, I was reading a page, then a whole chapter. And finally, one day, I was able to read a chapter a night by myself, and I read Roald Dahl’s Matilda without any help.
Roald Dahl, for this reason, will always be one of my favourite authors. He had a way of communicating with children that I’m not sure anyone else could ever emulate for me. He is one of few children’s authors that I can still read as an adult and fall in love with again and again.
There are, however, books that fall into obscurity. Coming from a family that moved around a lot thanks to my dad’s job, I’ve lost a lot with each move. It’s natural. Things are misplaced or left behind. It’s also the hazard of owning SO MANY books. You start forgetting what you have and where you keep everything. So, I jotted down a small list that I can remember being there in the very beginning. These are the books that I first fell in love with, when I was still awkward and clumsy at reading. These are the books I should never have forgotten and will never let myself forget again:
Horse Pie by Dick King-Smith
Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Simon and the Witch by Margaret Stuart Barry (these audiotapes were amazing)
Sophie’s Tom by Dick King-Smith (audiotapes also amazing)
What Katy Did by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey
I loved all the Goosebumps books and audiotapes but I’ll choose the one I remember the name of off the top of my head: Say Cheese and Die! by R.L. Stine
This is still on my bookshelf but I can’t not mention it: The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson
Also, if you were a 90s kid, you might appreciate this: Click Me