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Happy Roald Dahl Story Day!

Being September 13th, it is officially Roald Dahl Story Day: a day to celebrate your favourite story from the squiggly wordsmith and (BF) giant of children’s storytelling.

My little Pickle is 3 years old and we’ve recently embarked on sharing our first chapter book. As wordplay is one of her favourite activities, there could be no better place to start than with The BFG himself. On pulling out my childhood copy to share with Pickle, I smiled to find an inscription on the front page, as I have been wont to provide ever since the days when I learnt to write my name: ‘This book was free with Tetley tea bags but it is special because Dad bought the tea bags’. Books and reading, just how Dad taught me: always best with a cup of tea!

My Dad and I have always shared a love of books. For Dad they are treasure chests of information, for me fortune filled capsules, capable of inspiring so much more than the cover alone can suggest. Sharing a book with someone is a priceless way of going on holiday together. Like Matilda, who ‘travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village’. I am so fortunate to be able to continue book-roaming with little Pickle.

Most of our journeys are inspired by picture books so our leap into The BFG has prompted a whole new level of dreaming and imagination. We’re taking it slowly to answer Pickle’s questions, enjoy the ridiculous wordplay and visualise the land of the Giants beyond the teasing line drawings of the notorious Quentin Blake. We have also embarked on a couple of bookish crafts, inspired by Mr Dahl’s creations.

If you’d like to create a magical jar of dreams, like the ones that fill the shelves in the BFG’s cave, all you will need is:

-A clean glass jar. We chose this one for it's fun shape. Make sure you wash off any labels with soapy water.

-Cotton wool or cotton balls. Tear it up. You'll need enough to fill just under two jars.

-Glitter and/or stars. The more sparkle the better, we say!

-Three cups or pots, each filled with water.

-Acrylic paint in your three chosen colours. We loved the dreamy feel of our blue-ish hues.

-A stick or brush to mix the paint.

What to do:

  1. Line the bottom of the jar with cotton wool.

  2. Sprinkle some glitter or stars over the layer of cotton wool.

  3. Add two drops of acrylic paint to one cup of water and mix it in with your stick or brush. Pour the mixture over your layer of cotton wool.

  4. Add a second layer of cotton wool. This will need to be quite thick. As you add it, you'll see it soaking up some of the water below it. Once you have a fluffy dry layer, repeat steps 2 and 3 with a second colour.

  5. Repeat step 4, adding your final colour to the jar.

  6. Top up the jar with plenty of cotton wool to soak in all the excess moisture and fix the lid on tight.

  7. We decorated our jar with a sparkly star. You could add a label or paint a pattern around the jar that gives a hint about the dream inside.

Just imagine the spectacle of a whole shelf full of such dreams!

For another Roald Dahl fix, you could head to the theatre (at home!). Did you know that the Unicorn Theatre have shared a brilliantly entertaining reading of Roald Dahl’s The Twits. You can watch part 1 of 3 here.

And so, with the audiobook collection on our Christmas wishlist and a stack of Roald Dahl stories waiting in the wings, I am confident that we’ll be dipping into plenty more scrumdiddlyumptious crafts and activities over the coming months. Having said that...why wait! As a huge musical theatre fan, I am so excited to share a new (to us) Roald Dahl inspired picture book with Pickle today. When I Grow Up is Tim Minchin’s ode to Roald Dahl’s wonderful sense of adult and child perspective, written as song lyrics for the marvellous RSC musical and turned into a popular picture book. With its re-release in hardback this month, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy for us to delve into – and, most likely, sing along to as well!

Wishing you the happiest of bookish dreams for the week ahead. Will you be celebrating any books today?

Ginny x

Have you listened to Tim Minchin’s lyrics or read the picture book? And what’s your favourite Road Dahl book?

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