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D is for Dahl
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About the Author

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He was educated in England before going to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. With the outbreak of World War II, he became an RAF fighter pilot. He began writing for adults at the close of the war, with the encouragement of C. S. Forester. His first children's book, James and the Giant Peach, was published in 1961 and each of his subsequent books became bestsellers. He is still the best selling children's writer of all time.

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Gr 4 Up-This dictionary-of-sorts is entertaining, insightful, and of particular interest to Dahl's fans. Front endpapers include a family tree, which is referred to numerous times in the text. While the information is alphabetically arranged, it's necessary to read the entire book to get the full story on the writer. For example, the entry "Smile, please!" reveals that photography was one of Dahl's hobbies. Recipes are interspersed, including those for creamy Kit Kat pudding and hot-house eggs. "Q" is represented by 26 questions with answers in alphabetical order. There's a section on Quentin Blake, and one about the Roald Dahl Foundation and Museum. The writing is clear, wicked, and fun. An occasional black-and-white photograph complements Blake's illustrations. Also included are "Random Roald Fact" boxes (he adored spiders) and "Did You Know?" frames (the longest ear hair recorded measures four inches). Swirly bordered warnings can also be helpful. Most discourage readers from attempting something Dahl did, like setting off a bag of fireworks or writing in the lawn with grass killer. There's much, much more. This is a standout tribute to a beloved children's author.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Roald Dahl fans young and old will clamor for D Is for Dahl: A Gloriumptious A-Z Guide to the World of Roald Dahl, ed. by Wendy Cooling, illus. by Quentin Blake. Organized like an encyclopedia but under hilarious entries, the volume begins with "Alfhild" ("Alf was Roald Dahl's big sister.... Here are some of the unusual things she did: she smoked cigars, drank champagne out of her shoe..."), pauses for two spreads on "Blake, Quentin," Dahl's longtime collaborator, pays homage to the "characters with no name" in The Witches and The Magic Finger, sports "Random Roald Facts," devotes three pages to a "Quiz" in "Q," and winds down with "Zippfizzing" (from The BFG) and "Zoo," paying homage to James (of Giant Peach fame). Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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