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Ever since his first children’s book, The Gremlins, was published in 1943, Roald Dahl has been a smash hit with children the world over. Surviving the test of time, Dahl's works continue to entertain and delight. His books are still made into movies, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971, 2005) and The BFG (2016). Dahl's appeal to children is tied up with his own biggest inspiration: children and their psyche.

One of the biggest reasons children love Dahl’s writings is that he is “always on the children’s side,” in the words of fellow author Michael Rosen. Dahl, a giant of a man himself, allied himself with the smallest of human beings: that’s why his books show naughty children outwitting mean, overbearing adults. Dahl’s own childhood, especially at school, was not happy, filled with strict, oppressive teachers who caned and flogged him. This seeded in Dahl a deep-seated loathing for authority figures and bossy adults, which, no doubt, is reflected in characters such...

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