If you fell in love with books as a child, chances are that you’ll have read at least one story by Roald Dahl. Our voracious young minds gobbled up his tales of giants, chocolate rivers, giant peaches … exciting worlds and strange beings that fizzed off the pages, feeding our imaginations and helping to create the bookworms we are today.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” Roald Dahl
It’s a fixation few of us have outgrown … if we’re really honest with ourselves. Just a momentary glimpse of the iconic illustrations penned by the equally magical Quentin Blake is enough to ignite a gloriumptious* sense of nostalgia. They’re a trip down memory lane that’ll have even the most hardened grown-up sentimentally recalling their childhood story time.
darksome* adult books
Just only recently I learned the wonderful Mr Dahl didn’t just write books for younger readers; in fact his earliest books were very much not for the minds of youngsters. If we thought the vermicious* giants lurking in the BFG’s world were the stuff of grinksludging* childhood bad dreams, then Dahl’s adult books were incomparably dark and twisty. And in the 1960s, Dahl wrote two screenplays; the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Perhaps the most enduring memory for us all, is the wonderful vocabulary of Dahl’s characters. Words such as whizzpopping*, gobblefunking*, crodsquinkled*, and chrugle* all made absolutely perfect sense to us. They were a mouthful of colour and magnificence that described a noise or a smell or a situation with such aplomb. It wasn’t until I watched a documentary about Roald Dahl that I learned his wife, American actress Patricia Neal, suffered a devastating bleed in the brain resulting in her struggle to find the right words for things; a ‘sooty swatch’ was a drink, and an ‘oblogon’ was a cigarette, and Roald would write them all down. It’s thought that these words and phrases become a part of Dahl’s everyday life to the point where he found them popping up in his writing.
* If your ability to speak Dahl has gone as rotten as a snozzcumber* click here to whizz down the page for translation
for old times’ sake
And because we’re never too old for magic – especially not the Roald Dahl kind – I’ve linked the iconic images by Quentin Blake, to extracts from my three favourite books. Click on each image, or the text beneath them, to hop across to the Penguin website … and sentimental foray back to your childhood.
Churgle v. When you churgle, you gurgle with laughter.
Crodsquinkled adj. In a hopeless situation.
Darksome adj. Dark and murky.
Gloriumptious adj. Glorious and wonderful.
Grinksludging adj. A dream that is no fun at all.
Razztwizzler n. Something wonderfully exciting or enjoyable.
Rommytot n. If someone talks rommytot, they are talking nonsense.
Snozzcumber n. a striped and warty cucumber, varying from 9ft to 12ft long.
Vermicious adj. Something vicious and nasty.
Whizzpopping v. farting.
“What is now proved was once only imagined” William Blake