The Dark and the Light: Dahl on Paper and Film

By Catherine DiMercurio

When I learned that September was the first ever Roald Dahl month, I tumbled instantly and joyfully back to my childhood, to another September day when I was beginning the third grade at a new school. My classmates and I sat clustered on the floor, around the feet of our teacher. She was kind and soft-spoken and smelled of vanilla, and she began reading James and the Giant Peach to us. The freckled blond boy next to me kept poking my shoulder, trying to annoy me or get me in trouble or both. But he was easy to ignore because I was instantly enveloped by the story of James and his horrible aunts and his glorious, magical adventure. And his new friends. Making new friends in a strange world sounded pretty lovely too, and just as fantastical and unlikely to a shy girl at a new school as James’s giant insect companions were to him.

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