March is National Reading Month, and my kiddos will tell you, hands down, without hesitation, that Roald Dahl is among their favorite authors. Miss M will go so far as to tell you that she absolutely LOVES Roald Dahl’s The Twits. It’s a clever book, a short story almost.
The Twits Fun Fact: The first sentence of the story is, “What a lot of hairy-faced men there are around nowadays!“. Dahl had a desire to, “do something against beards,” due to his acute dislike of facial hair. Mr. Twit had a “disgusting” beard that often had moldy bits of food caught in it, described in horrific detail.
How do you outwit a Twit?
Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, nastiest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything–except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don’t just want out, they want revenge.
Roald Dahl is the man I owe my Zac’s love of reading to, without doubt. I suppose for many parents knowing the moment their child’s passion for reading bloomed is a modge podge of memories. For me, I know exactly when it happened. Zac was in fourth grade. I know this because, some twelve years later, the memory is still burned into my mind.
He, his brother and their cousin, walked to and from school together. It was one-quarter mile in suburbia America. A neighborhood, I walked as a child. Typically, they’d arrive home and Jake would be telling me of the terror Zac was bringing him–either mouthing off to some older kid, annoying his brother with endless chatter or something else that was just too over the top for Jake to handle. It was a sunny, spring day. The air was crisp, but not incredibly cold. Jake and his cousin had been home for 20 minutes before I asked, “Where’s you brother?” Jake walked by with a sandwich and his plate piled high with potato chips and mumbled, “He’s coming.”
I walked to the door, stepped on to the porch and in the distance I could see my Zac. His walk was deliberate and slow. His head stooped down. I squinted and saw my son, with a book shoved to his face. A few steps and he’d turn the page…
Zac was not a reader. He’d been grounded, he’d been threatened and still, reading was NOT his thing. I had began to wonder if the kid even COULD read.
Before long, Zac walked up the path, as if he was programmed for this route. He didn’t look up. He just kept reading. He walked past me, down the hall, to his room and plopped on his bed—nose still in the book.
“Hey, Buddy, whatcha reading?”
No words. He just tilted the book so I could better see the cover, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
And just like that, Zac was a reader. From James and the Giant Peach, he read The Twits. His universe became the worlds created by Roald Dahl.
Even at 18, Zac could be found on his bed, rereading a Roald Dahl book, talking to his younger siblings about the characters and the story line.
Roald Dahl Fun Fact: It has been said that Roald Dahl created more than 250 new words. Many of them appear in The BFG.
I’m confident to share that Zac has possibly read every Roald Dahl book. I would almost bet that in his room, now at 22, next to his bed, rests a well read, much loved book written by the man who introduced him to the magic of books, Roald Dahl.
Roald Dahl Fun Fact: In addition to the children’s books, Dahl also wrote the original screenplays for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond movie: You Only Live Twice.
Celebrate National Reading Month by sharing The Twits or another Roald Dahl book with your child.
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