Dahl, Roald. More About Boy: Roald Dahl's Tales from Childhood. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009. ISBN 9780374350550. $24.99. 229 p.
Reviewer: Alison Canar
Reading Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young adult
Genre: Informational books; Autobiographies;
Subject: Dahl, Roald--Childhood and youth--Juvenile literature; Authors, English--20th century--Biography--Juvenile literature; Books--Reviews;
Sometimes fact is even stranger than fiction. Many elements from Dahl's stories are scattered through his own childhood: creative candies and sweet shops, dead mice and practical jokes, and—of course—cruel headmasters. Dahl begins with an overview of his family life. His father died when he was only a boy, leaving his young mother to raise five children on her own with another on the way. Dahl's childhood was split between lonely terms at boarding school and blissful summers near the lake in his mother's native Norway. This book carries the reader through all of Dahl's adventures and misadventures until the time that he joins the Royal Air Force at the outset of World War II. Interested readers can find this story in a later book, Going Solo.
More About Boy contains the full text of the previously published Boy, but it is updated with photos, stories, and letters from the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre's archives. The additions do much to add realism to the story and help the reader get an up-close look at Dahl's life. However, the best part of this story is still Dahl's charming wit, which shines through each reflection. Dahl has a few serious moments, such as when he speaks about his admiration for his mother. He also writes about the trial of his faith when he learned that a cruel, callous headmaster from his youth had risen to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Readers young and old can relate to the experiences of this beloved author.
Volume 30, no. 3 (January/February 2010
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