Review Blog

Oct 26 2012

Fantastic Mr Dahl by Michael Rosen

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Ill. by Quentin Blake. Puffin, 2012. ISBN 978 14132213 1
(Ages 9+) Recommended. Biography. For all those fans of Roald Dahl, here is a biographical companion that not only lets you into the world of Dahl, but also the author, Michael Rosen. Rosen, children's writer and poet was the Children's Laureate in Britain from 2007 to 2009, and having met Dahl many years before is well placed to write about this man. But this book is not your usual biography, Rosen talks of Dahl within the framework of his own experiences and his family, which gives the reader a glimpse into Rosen's world as well.
Divided into ten easily consumed chapters, these are then divided into three groups, The Boy, The Man and The Writer. Each section gives a view of Dahl from his boyhood mainly spent at a small boarding school many miles from home and his widowed mother and siblings, to the time as an adult he spent in the air force, then on to how he became a writer. Each chapter is liberally sprinkled with photos, with Blake's drawings running across the pages, snippets from Dahl's letters and writing, as well as pages broken up with unusual grabs of information that add to the child's knowledge of the man. His letters are particularly fascinating, giving the reader a glimpse into the way Dahl saw the world and wrote about it from a young age.
For all fans young and old, this is an unusual book about Roald Dahl, but one that will intrigue and amuse those who read it.
Fran Knight

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