Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Letters of Note: Roald Dahl

via Johnny Miller Photography
My love for reading began in the 4th grade. I was blessed with a ridiculously amazing teacher, Ms. van der Meer. Her energy and enthusiasm was like nothing I'd ever witnessed in a teacher. Her ginormous smile was contagious and her happiness radiated throughout the halls of the school. Her classroom was an imaginative atmosphere, and she was enchanting. I worshipped the ground that VDM walked on; she was the reason I wanted to be a teacher.

While she helped me master the multiplication table and championed my love for spelling, it was that 30 minutes of reading aloud that I remember the most. Ms. van der Meer's favorite author was Roald Dahl, so that year we worked our way through some of his greatest tales -- Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, James and the Giant Peach, etc. She mastered all of the characters' voices and antics. Each day after lunch, she'd kick off her shoes and her reading chair became her stage. For a half-hour her students were left mesmerized by her every word. I remember wondering if she had each book memorized because the reading was effortless. She rarely glanced at the pages; it was as though she was referencing a script. I would go home and attempt to read Dahl's books with mimicked fervor and zeal. I could never come close, but I won't ever forget the impression she made on me. Because of VDM's animated readings, Dahl will forever remain my favorite author. How could you not love a man who invented such whipple-scrumptious words like  snozzcumber and gobblefunk?

All of this reminiscing comes with reason, I promise. About a week ago, I had the chance to relive a piece of my childhood when I stumbled upon the following letter. Back in 1989, on a rainy afternoon, 7-year-old Amy wrote a letter to Roald Dahl. Taking inspiration from her favorite book, The BFG, she used a combination of oil, colored water and glitter, and sent the author an unforgettable gift -- one of her dreams in a bottle. See Mr. Dahl's charming response below.
Amy's Letter
How precious is this note? In the words of The BFG, it's a real whizzpopper! I read it and there was a feeling of utter happiness. Just like Dahl's books, the sentiment found in this letter is beautiful and imaginative, and I've fallen in love with him and his work all over again.
via Johnny Miller Photography
Can't get enough of Roald Dahl's gobblefunk? Take a look at a list of his invented words here.
Want to tell someone how fabulous they are with some flair? Send a gloriumptious greeting card here.

Have a splendiferous day!

P.S. I'm so jealous of the the Royal Mail! I'd do anything to get my hands on these Roald Dahl stamps. If anyone finds a way for us to get them across the pond, puh-leez let me know!
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1 comment:

  1. I definitely love all your posts, but I especially love this one! I too had an amazing elementary school teacher, Mrs. Johnson who read aloud Roald Dahl to us. I simply fell in love with his stories. I was desperate to find my own BFG.

    So glad to see a love for this amazing author who tells stories that enchant, amaze, and don't pull all the punches!