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Rhyme Stew - Roald Dahl

Rhyme Stew - Roald Dahl

Rhyme Stew - Roald Dahl

Rhyme Stew


Author : Roald Dahl

Format : Paperback

Condition : New

Dimensions : 13cm x 20cm x 0.5cm


Rhyme Stew

An irresistible collection for older children and adults alike, Rhyme Stew bubbles over with Roald Dahl's inimitable humour and invention.

'Mary, Mary quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

"I live with my brat in a high-rise flat

so how in the world would I know."'


Roald Dahl Interview

1. What is it like writing a book?
When you’re writing it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valley and mountains and things, and you get the first vie of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit further, maybe up to the top of a hill, and you see something else, then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the dame landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book because it’s got the be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see everything you’ve done all ties up. But it’s a very, very long slow process.

2. How do you get the ideas for your stories?
It starts always with a tiny little seed of an idea, a little germ, and that even doesn’t come very easily. You can be mooching around for a year or so before toy get a good one. When I do get a good one, mind you, I quickly write it down so that I won’t forget it because it disappears otherwise rather like a dream. But when I get it, I don’t dash up here and start to write it. I’m very careful. I walk around it and look at it and sniff it and then see it I think it will go. Because once toy start, you’re embarked on a year’s work and so it’s a big decision.

3. How did you get the idea for James and the Giant Peach?
I had a kind of fascination with the thought that an apple…(there’s a lot of apple trees around here, and fruit trees, and you can watch them throughout the summer getting bigger and bigger from a tiny little apple to bigger and bigger ones)…and it seemed to me an obvious throughout, what would happen if it didn’t stop growing? Why should it stop growing at a certain size? And this appealed to me and I thought this was quite a nice little idea and (then I had to think) of which fruit I should take for my story. I thought apple, pear, plum, peach. Peach is rather nice, a lovely fruit. It’s pretty and it’s big and it’s squishy and you can go into it and it’s got a big seed in the middle which you can play with. And so the story started.

4. What is your work routine?
My work routine is very simple and it’s always been so for the last 45 years. The great thing, or course, is never to work too long at a stretch because after about 2 hours you are not at your highest peak of concentration so you have to stop. Some writers choose certain times to write, other [choose] other times and it suits me to start rather later, I start at 10 o’clock and I stop at 12. Always. However well I’m going, I will stay there until 12, even if I’m a bit stuck. You have to keep your bottom on the chair and stick it out. Otherwise, if you start getting in the habit of walking away, you’ll never get it done.

5. How do you keep the momentum going when you are writing a novel?
One of the vital things for a writer who’s writing a book, which is a length project and is going to take about a year, is how does he keep the momentum going. It was the same with a young person writing an essay. They have got to write 4 or 5 or 6 pages. But when you are writing it for a year, you go away and you have to come back, I never come back to a blank page, I always finish about half way through. To be confronted with a blank page is not very nice. But Hemingway, a great American writer, taught me the finest trick when you are doing a long book which is, he simply said in his own words “When you are going good, stop writing”. And that means that is everything’s going well and you know exactly where the end of the chapters going to go and you know just what the people are going to do, you don’t go on writing and writing until you come to the end of it, because when you do then you say, well, where am I going to go nest? And you get up and you walk away and you don’t want to come back because you don’t know where you want to go. But if you stop when you are going goo, as Hemingway said, when you are going goo, stop! And you know what you are going to say next, but you make yourself stop, put your pencil down and everything, and you walk away. And you can’t wait to get back because you know what you want to say next and that’s lovely and you have to try and do that. Every time, everyday all the way through the year. If you stop when you are stuck, then you are in trouble!

6. How easy was it to write Matilda?
I got it wrong. I spent 6 or 8 or 9 months writing it, and when I’d finished, it wasn’t right. I mean it just wasn’t right. I hadn’t backed up and I hadn’t kept changing, because the character, the main character the little girl keeps changing at you all the time and I hadn’t bothered to go back and re-write that for several chapters. So a year ago I started the whole book again and re-wrote every word and I knew where I was wrong and I was able to get the character right and all the other characters and all the different motivations and the things like that and it was a very interesting experience that I’ve never had to do before, but maybe in my old age I’m getting not so good at it and it takes longer. I rally had to re-write the whole book! And now I’m fairly happy with it. I think it’s OK. But it certainly wasn’t before.

7. What is the secret to keeping your readers entertained?
My lucky thing is I laugh at exactly the same jokes that children laugh at and that’s one reason I’m able to do it. I don’t sit out here roaring with laughter but you have wonderful inside jokes all the time and it’s got to be exciting, it’s got to be fast, it’s got to have a good plot but it’s got to be funny. It’s got to be funny. And each book I do is a different level of that. On, The witches is quite different from The BFG or James and Danny. The fine line between roaring with laughter and crying because it’s a disaster is a very, very fine link. You see a chap slip on a banana sin in the street and you roar with laughter when he falls slap on his backside. If in doing so you suddenly see he’s broken a leg, you very quickly stop laughing and it’s not a joke anymore. I don’t know, there’s a fine line and you just have to try and find it.

8. How do you create interesting characters?
When you’re writing a book, with people in it as opposed to animals, it is no good having people who are ordinary, because they are not going to interest your readers at all. Every writer in the world has to user the characters that have something interesting about them and this is even more turn in children’s books. I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty of bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel. If they are ugly, you make them extremely ugly. That I think is fun and makes and impact.

9. How do you include horrific events without scaring your readers?
You never describe any horrors happening, you just say that they do happen. Children who got crunched up in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate machine were carried away and that was the end of it and the parents screamed, “Where has he gone?” and Wonka said, “Well, he’s gone to be made into fudge”, and that’s where you laugh, because you don’t see it happening, you don’t hear the child screaming or anything like that ever, ever, ever.

10. How much has living in the countryside influenced you?
I wouldn’t live anywhere else except in the country, here. And, of course, if you live in the country, your work is bound to be influenced by it in a lot of ways, not pure fantasy like Charlie with chocolate factories, Witches and BFG’s but the others that are influenced by everything round you. I suppose the one [book] that is most dependent purely on this countryside around here is Danny, The Champion of the World and I rather love that book and when I was planning it, wondering where I was going to let Danny and his father live, all I had to do, I didn’t realise it, all I had to do was look around my own garden and there it was.


Roald Dahl Poem

R – Is for reading and the Royal Air Force.
Roald Dahl never read a book while flying a plane! But he did love reading adventure stories and he h=did join the RAF when he was 23.

O – Is for Oslo –
The capital of Norway, where Roald Dahl’s father (and much of his family) came from. Roald’s mother was from Norway too and Roald was born in Llandaff, Wales in 1916.

A – Is for addicted
To chocolate! As a schoolboy, Roald tasted new chocolate bars for Cadbury’s. He once said, ‘If I were a headmaster I would get rid of the history teacher and get a chocolate teacher instead.’

L – Is for language.
Whizzpopping, strawbunkies, hippodumplings, hushyquiet, natterbox and … the list of words Roald Dahl invented is endless! Nothing is um-possible when it comes to making up words.

D – Is for drawings
By Quentin Blake (or ‘Quent’ as Roald called him). His wonderful illustrations perfectly complemented Roald Dahl’s stories.

D – Is for dream blowing.
Roald would sometimes prop a ladder against the side of his house, climb up and push a bamboo cane through his children’s window, pretending to be the Big Friendly Giant!

A – Is for anarchic!
Roald Dahl’s stories have some really rotten characters that do the most disgusting things – just wait until you meet the Grand high Witch and the gruesome Twits. Eugghh!

H – Is for hut.
Roald Dahl wrote many of his books in a white hut in the garden of his home, Gipsy House. The hut as built from bricks and had a yellow front door – yellow was his favourite colour.

L – Is for loved
By millions of children (and grown-ups!). Roald Dahl died in 1990 and his stories are still popular all over the world.



The Roald Dahl Foundation supports specialist paediatric Roald Dahl nurses throughout the UK caring for children with epilepsy, blood disorders and acquired brain injury. It also provides practical help for children and young people with brain, blood and literacy problems – all causes close to Roald Dahl during his lifetime – through grants to UK hospitals and charities as well as to individual children and their families.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, based in Great Missenden just outside London, is in the Buckinghamshire village where Roald Dahl lived and wrote. At the heart of the Museum, created to inspire a love of reading and writing, is his unique archive of letters and manuscripts. As well as two fun-packed biographical galleries, the Museum boasts and interactive Story Centre. It is a place for the family, teachers and their pupils to explore the exciting world of creativity and literacy.


Rhyme Stew



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