I’ve got to give props to any author who has more than one book on the Most Challenged Children’s Books list. I remember thinking, what on God’s green earth is in James and the Giant Peach to get it censored?!? (I always forget about the Peachicide.)
I appreciate the whimsy of Dahl’s book. They haven’t ever been my favorites, though, because even as a child I wanted my magic to come with a little bit of logic – and Dahl does not come close to that. He isn’t trying to. His books are chaos and ideas and these wildernesses of imagination.
The one that sticks in my mind the most is The BFG, and not just because there are giants with names like the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, the Childchewer, and the Meatdripper. (Hey, Brenna, they *could* be gruesome!) What I loved about The BFG was the way dreams worked. There were good dreams and nightmares, and the BFG collected them all. He traded out the good dreams and destroyed the nightmares. I was intrigued by the idea of dreams being directed by some benevolent spirit – that made them less strange to me.
But in The BFG, the dreams are even more important: they are the vehicle through which the hero Sophie convinces the Queen of England that giants are real, that magic is real, and that the world need to help fight the Evil Giants. This little girl thought BIG. And not just because there were giants involved. She took her mission straight to the top. Didn’t stop and Mom and Dad or the police, but went for the crown itself. It was silly, but it also took guts.
And also, Dahl made up a lot of words. I am a huge, unrepentant fan of making up ones own words.