In Fantastic Mr Dahl Michael Rosen (I’m Going on a Bear Hunt) combines his knowledge of Dahl with his talent for writing childrens’ books to help him delve into what made Dahl such a wonderful, captivating writer. This is a great volume for both fans of Dahl and budding writers … it contains many gems.
Pulling together snippets of letters Dahl sent to his mum in particular, Rosen begins by taking readers through a potted history of Dahl’s childhood – including the infamous mouse in the sweet jar episode! Rosen shows how Dahl’s writer’s eye began developing early on – his has fun looking at the way a young Dahl played with words, shaping sentences to get just the right reaction from his mum and/or sisters.
Rosen leads his readers through the things that inspired Dahl, including his favourite place to write and the rituals he stuck to. Insightful throughout, Rosen provides us with sneak peeks into the first ideas for many of classic tales … did you know that the original plan was for Matilda to be quite a naughty character, with no mention of Miss Honey?
Rosen’s chatty narrative pulls together a mixture of extracts from letters and books, with the quirky illustrations of Quentin Blake, to create an entertaining, thoughtful and easily digested book.
The blend of anecdotes with writing tips, personal letters with a little writerly analysis, results in a unique blend. Fantastic Mr Dahl has much to offer both fans of the author and would be writers.