The first book I remember my mother reading to me was "James and the Giant Peach". It's not that she hadn't read me scores of other titles, its just that this was the first one that mattered to me. Ever a fan of dark and subversive, I thought the poems about Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker were wonderful. I felt a sort of interesting mix of pride and shock as the story went on. I truly felt as if that book had been written exclusively for me and I was proud that Roald Dahl felt I was grown-up enough to "get the joke". I was shocked that my mother read this (and then many others) without batting an eye at what seemed too delicious for a child's ear.
I had always liked books but after a few Roald Dahl titles, I LOVED books and began gobbling them up as fast as I could. I have since read and re-read them many time. I have read them to my own children and shared them with library patrons. Each time I open one of my beloved childhood favorites, I get the same rush of excitement as I did so many years ago for I know that what lies inside is going to fill me wonder and pride and shock all over again. Thank you Mr. Dahl for understanding that children are just little people and are just as deserving of stories which shock and delight as are adults.
Today we celebrate a masterful story teller and here is my tribute.