Want to read more books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from famous children’s book author Roald Dahl? Check out our top list here.
Best books by Roald Dahl
Few people are unfamiliar with Roald Dahl’s famous children’s books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The author penned incredibly engaging stories that you can find in any bookstore, audiobook platform, and on streaming platforms. But how much do you know about Roald Dahl and his other works?
Learn about Roald Dahl’s life and the best books by him below.
Roald Dahl’s biography
Unlike other writers revered for their accomplishments in writing children’s books, Dahl is as interesting as their characters.
Roald Dahl was a British writer born in Llandaff, Wales, on September 13, 1916. Despite being born in the United Kingdom, his family was originally from Norway, and his first language was not English but actually Norwegian.
Dahl graduated from Repton in 1932. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force at the start of World War II, and he finished his fighter pilot training in Nairobi, Kenya. After Kenya, he went on to Tanzania for a time. Dahl’s stint in the war puts him alongside the likes of Ernest Hemingway, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Graves, E. E. Cummings, and many other prolific authors who also served during that time.
The RAF experience, a crash landing in Libya that got him sent to a Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria, and brief experience as a spy gave Dahl plenty of material to write from after the war. Encouraged by C. S. Forester, Dahl began writing military tales. He also penned The Gremlins for Walt Disney. However, few of Dahl’s earlier works enjoyed much success.
His first bestseller was a collection of gory adult stories titled Someone Like You. Most people familiar with Dahl today wouldn’t guess the story lines he came up with early in his career.
After the war and at the start of his writing career, Roald Dahl got married to Patricia Neal, an American actress. They would be married for 30 years and have five children together, although the two eventually divorced. Dahl then married Felicity d’Abreu Crosland, with whom he had an affair while married to Patricia.
Despite his unique background and attempting to write short stories (like Kiss Kiss) for publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Walt Disney, and others, Dahl found critical acclaim in a different genre.
Dahl eventually turned his attention to children’s books. Some had a darkly comic nature and sometimes tackled violent themes, death, and other hard-hitting motifs—but these books cemented Dahl as one of the best storytellers of the last century.
Aside from children’s books, Dahl also wrote screenplays for the movies You Only Live Twice (a James Bond film) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Many of Dahl’s works are available in all formats on Amazon and similar marketplaces. You can find this titles translated from English into various languages. His legacy lives on in the hearts of many and at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in England.
The best Roald Dahl works and their movie adaptations
Roald Dahl had a writing career spanning decades, but he only penned 19 books for kids. None were very long, though they succeeded in paperback, audiobook, and on-screen adaptations. The writer penned titles like Boy: Tales of Childhood, The BFG, and various short story collections.
Dahl’s books inspired kids, adults, writers, screenwriters, and movie directors. Here are some of his finest works. Here are some of the best:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Almost everyone knows about the eccentric chocolate maker and businessman Willy Wonka and his famous chocolate factory. After years spent hidden from the world, Willy Wonka returns with a bang. Five lucky customers could win a tour of his famous factory and win something beyond their dreams.
The book received some criticism regarding Dahl’s portrayal of various stereotypes in the oompa-loompas and secondary characters. But that didn’t make the book about Charlie Bucket, his grandpa, and weird Willy Wonka any less popular. It was a massive hit, as was the first movie adaptation with Gene Wilder (titled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). While the second movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory featuring Johnny Depp’s performance didn’t win everyone’s hearts, it still achieved box office success.
The Big Friendly Giant
Abbreviated The BFG, this was Roald Dahl’s favorite book. He often read the book about the giant who stored dreams to his own kids. This, too, turned into a box office hit under the direction of acclaimed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.
Another crowd favorite, The Witches, is a scary story told in a way that kids of all ages can enjoy it. The story follows a young boy who stumbles upon a witch convention. If that wasn’t bad enough, the boy overhears the witches as they plot to rid England of all children.
With only his grandmother to help, the boy battles the witches to save himself and everyone else. It’s one of the titles where Dahl’s writing style made a massive difference. Although the movie quickly became a cult science fiction and fantasy classic, the audiobook version is more believable. It’s also more faithful to the original story.
Matilda is an often underrated Roald Dahl masterpiece. The book about a genius five-year-old named Matilda Wormwood sparked the imagination of generations of young kids. But while the book doesn’t get much love today, it’s one of the most popular Dahl titles regarding adaptations.
All over the world, Matilda was available as a theatre musical, a movie, an audiobook, and even an animated series. It might be Dahl’s most successful long-format novel for children. In 2022, a new version titled Matilda the Musical hit the big screen.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Mr. Fox is a clever fox. He’s a tricky character living underground with his family. Mr. Fox does whatever he can to feed his family, including battling against nature and immense forces to achieve his goals.
He recruits other animals to help with his mission, including Badger, the Moles, the Weasels, and the Rabbits. The book is a classic children’s story with opera, stage, and movie adaptations. The 2009 movie has a stellar cast of well-known and Academy Award-winning voice actors, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, and Bill Murray.
James and the Giant Peach
This book exudes symbolism without being too complicated for kids to understand. The fantastic Dahl tale follows James and a rather creepy Giant peach character.
It’s a story about magic, family issues, and not fitting in. Yet it has a powerful lesson that, in the end, your family is the one that can help you through challenging times. The fantasy film adaptation featured a stellar cast with Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Paul Terry, and Joanna Lumley.
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If you want to recapture your childhood with magical stories in the likes of Roald Dahl and other children’s books authors, audiobooks are an excellent way to do it. The Speechify audiobook service offers an extensive library of fantasy titles, bestsellers, and many children’s books that you and your young ones will love.
What was Roald Dahl’s last book before he died?
Esio Trot is the last book Roald Dahl ever wrote and published before passing on November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England.
What is Roald Dahl’s most famous quote?
Dahl once said, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.” Another famous quote is from a New York Times interview where he stated, “Children are highly critical and they lose interest so quickly.”
What is Roald Dahl most famous for?
Roald Dahl is arguably most famous for his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That’s quite the accomplishment given that he was a former fighter pilot, intelligence officer, Washington, D.C., assistant air attaché, veteran, and Newfoundland explorer.
What is the name of Roald Dahl’s first book?
The Gremlins is the first book written by Roald Dahl. What’s interesting is that Walt Disney commissioned it in 1943.