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Old 12-05-2005, 04:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Authors/books similar to Roald Dahl?

My daughter loves Roald Dahl's books, and we've read every one of them now, and seen all the movies too. We're in withdrawal now that there aren't any more to read . . . . .

Can anybody recommend a similar author, who writes at about the same level? Or is he just in a class by himself?
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Madeleine L'Engle - a wrinkle in time - plus countless others...

i'd also add in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - because i love the story of the little prince, but tehre are a few other's that he's written that are equally as good.

o. henry also has a wonderful set of short stories that don't always go where you expect them to...
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Are you sure you've exhaused all of Mr. Dahl's works? There are lots and lots of short stories that he wrote that are collected and anthologized in a few different volumes. He's got lots of novels for young adults that aren't so well known. Have you read Danny the Champion of the World, for instance? That's one of my favorites. Or The BFG?

While there definitely are other wonderful children's authors, I've never seen anything quite like Roald Dahl's work. It really is uniquely wonderful--an amazing blend of fantasy, humor and horror, with really great character development as well. He was definitely a unique genius.

Last edited by ratbastid; 12-05-2005 at 07:03 AM..
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
Are you sure you've exhaused all of Mr. Dahl's works? There are lots and lots of short stories that he wrote that are collected and anthologized in a few different volumes. He's got lots of novels for young adults that aren't so well known. Have you read Danny the Champion of the World, for instance? That's one of my favorites. Or The BFG?
Yep, we've read both, and we love them both. He really is an amazing author. Here's what we've read, off the top of my head, and I'm sure there's more I've forgotten, including some short stories we read in German:

Matilda
James and the Giant Peach
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Glass Elevator
BFG
Danny the Champion of the World
The Minpins
Boy
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke
Incredible Mr. Fox
George's Marvelous Medicine
My Year
The Enormous Crocodile
Esio Trot
The Giraffe, Pelly and Me
The Twits

I just looked at his website, and there are some more, but I can't tell the adult selections from the kids' selections. There's also a website that his site suggests, www.readingzone.com, which I'll check out.

Quote:
It really is uniquely wonderful--an amazing blend of fantasy, humor and horror, with really great character development as well. He was definitely a unique genius.
Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Perhaps it's only the years since then... but I remember thinking the Phantom Tollbooth reminded me a bit of Dahl.

I have to agree with Mal's suggestions, especially Madeleine L'Engle. I LOVED her books, every one of them. I've read them over and over my whole life. They're not soft ones, those in the Wrinkle in Time series...
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks folks for the Madeleine L'Engle suggestion and others. It sounds like she might be a bit above a 5yo but my daughter has no problem understanding Dahl, so I think we'll go with L'Engle next. Any suggestions what to start with?
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Madeline L'Engle is ridiculously difficult for a child to understand. I remember reading her in my fourth grade class at age 9 and was like: "What is this lady on?" (Not verbatim, of course.) Her writing is typically darker than the exaggerated works of Dahl, so I wouldn't recommend her for a five year old.

How about Shel Silverstein? It's "poetry" but still fun to read (and listen to if you can find it on tape).

Too bad you don't know French (I'm assuming, here)- I LOVE "Le Petit Nicolas" by Goscinny Sempe. I have yet to see them in English, but the books are just hilarious and remind me so much of my childhood dreams.

Edit: I just found a copy in English. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/071...books&v=glance

Last edited by la petite moi; 12-05-2005 at 10:29 AM..
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by la petite moi
Madeline L'Engle is ridiculously difficult for a child to understand. I remember reading her in my fourth grade class at age 9 and was like: "What is this lady on?" (Not verbatim, of course.) Her writing is typically darker than the exaggerated works of Dahl, so I wouldn't recommend her for a five year old.
She's a bit advanced for a 5 year old, but in 2nd grade my teacher red Wrinkle to us and we all loved it.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Shel Silverstein is great, but make sure you get the kid's stuff; he did work for Playboy as well. Phantom Tollbooth was 3nd grade teacher-reading for me, might work for her; the language is very playfull.
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Old 12-07-2005, 07:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you've never read Roald Dahl's the Witches, it's one of his finest works!

Other authors...I agree on Le Petit Nicolas, though the style is not the same, less whimsical, and more funny stories of a seemingly real little boy's life.

Also I really enjoyed C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, though it's not quite the same...what can I say.

Judy Blume is a good author for topics like relationships and feelings, one of my favourites (but I'm a girl) is "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret".

I have to say that from the age of 10 when I first read a Roald Dahl book I was hooked, and having read pretty much everything by him, I have never found any other children's author as great. Sorry to disappoint.
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Old 12-07-2005, 08:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by little_tippler
If you've never read Roald Dahl's the Witches, it's one of his finest works!
Oddly enough, that seems to be just about the one kid's novel of his we haven't read, and my wife found it in the library yesterday. So it's next on our list after we finish the Judy Blume book we're reading now (the first one of hers we've read). She seems bored with that one, although it has its moments. She's just ravenous for a good adventure/funny/fantasy story she can lose herself in, and when she saw Witches and Dahl's name she jumped up and down with glee.

I'll definitely have to check out Le Petit Nicolas too, maybe they have it in the main library here.

Quote:
I have to say that from the age of 10 when I first read a Roald Dahl book I was hooked, and having read pretty much everything by him, I have never found any other children's author as great. Sorry to disappoint.
Yeah, me neither . . . I'll keep looking though
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Old 12-07-2005, 08:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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raveneye, I'll let sexymama know about this thread.

Without going into detail, she is probably an expert on this field and can keep you both reading well into your child's teens.
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Old 12-07-2005, 09:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks, Lebell. She's 5 and we read to her for at least a half hour every day. I read a couple pages, then she reads a page. She understands Dahl's level of writing pretty well, I want a bit of a challenge for her, and his level seems about perfect right now.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Kudos to you for getting your kid into reading at such a young age. I've done stories in a LOT of classrooms and it's always stunning how many kids, even in 8th grade and up, that have real trouble reading when called on. Good to see that some parents still see the value of reading.


I'm gonna second Redlemon's Phantom Tollbooth suggestion. That was a GREAT kids book.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Oh, I just thought of a series that I loved as a kid: Ramona the Pest!! It isn't Dahl style, but I loved those books, so funny. Maybe Harriet the Spy, too. I also like The Midwife's Apprentice, and it's rather educational.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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"How to Eat Fried Worms"

"Fat Men From Outer Space" and any other Daniel Pinkwater you can lay hands on.

"Alice in Wonderland"

"Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH"

"The Book of Three" (Lloyd Alexander)

"The Jungle Book" and "The Second Jungle Book" (Particularly if you get the Chuck Jones Cartoons of Mowgli's Brothers, The White Seal, and, most particularly, Rikki Tikki Tavi to go along with them. They're almost word for word Kipling.)

The Narnia Books.

(Man, I loved Incredible Mr. Fox. I Still get that Rhyme about "Boggins, Bunce, and Bean" stuck in my head 30 years later.)
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Old 12-07-2005, 05:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, definitely Alice Through the Looking-glass. So intriguing.
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Old 12-07-2005, 07:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
Kudos to you for getting your kid into reading at such a young age. I've done stories in a LOT of classrooms and it's always stunning how many kids, even in 8th grade and up, that have real trouble reading when called on. Good to see that some parents still see the value of reading.
Well thanks . . . . it's not just us though, her school should get most of the credit. In Florida public school starts at age 4, "pre-K", and she happened to get a great teacher.

It was pure luck I think -- we wanted to put her in the most minority school in our area (we're idealists who try to live the "colorblind" ethic ) so that she would experience what it feels like to be in the minority herself and she wouldn't feel uncomfortable around a diverse array of folks later on in life. It turned out that that school is a Montessori, and she just thrives in it, went through the first couple years of reading exercises her first year. We've always read to her, but had no idea she'd be reading this early. We didn't do much of anything ourselves, it's really all her motivation and her teacher's guidance.

It's ironic, because most parents we know seem to be aghast that we send her there (the school and the neighborhood is about 90% "black"), I think they think we're nuts, and sometimes I wonder if it was the right thing . . . it's in one of the poorest neighborhoods, and it looks like a prison, and it's scary driving thru there. But it turns out to be a great school, and we couldn't be happier with how she's doing and all the friends she's made, and she loves her teacher and vice versa. The teacher is actually the one who suggested Dahl to us this year, and we got hooked right away.
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Old 12-08-2005, 04:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Have you considered Louis Sachar? His most famous right now is 'holes', but that's probably too advanced for your kid. But the Wayside School stories sound like they might be up your alley. Remember the one about Maurecia, who loved ice cream and was loved by everyone? She told her teacher that she had tried every flavor of ice cream in existence. So the next day the teacher brought in some ice cream that she called 'Maurecia' flavored. Everyone loved it, because everyone loved Maurecia, but Maurecia thought it tasted like nothing, because it tasted like herself.
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Old 12-08-2005, 10:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
I'm gonna second Redlemon's Phantom Tollbooth suggestion. That was a GREAT kids book.
JustJess suggested it first; I was just adding information.
Quote:
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"Fat Men From Outer Space" and any other Daniel Pinkwater you can lay hands on.
Oh HELL yes. I remember reading "Alan Mendelson, the Boy from Mars" back in the day, but I coudn't convince anyone else that it was a real book. It's in 5 Novels : Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars; Slaves of Spiegel; The Last Guru; Young Adult Novel; The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, and then also get 4 Fantastic Novels: Borgel, Yobgorgle: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario, The Worms of Kukumlima, and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:16 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I would recommend all of Enid Blyton's books. They are perfect for 5 year olds. The author has this amazing knack of capturing the imaginations of both children and adult alike, and sending us all reeling into the magical realm. I had started with The Enchanted Woods and The Faraway Tree series and they were excellent. I was pushing my mom away so that I could read on my own. I would read the books over and over again.. never got tired of them.

Here's a rough list :

The Enchanted Wood (1939)
The Magic Faraway Tree (1943)
The Folk of the Faraway Tree (1946)
Up the Faraway Tree (1951)
The Wishing Chair (1937)
The Wishing Chair Again (1950)

And then there are whole series on Mr Twiddles, Brer Rabbit (vintage), Binkle and Flip, Mr. Meddle, Amelia Jane, Come to the Circus. And the following are more suitable for when she gets a little older : Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl (recommended in school), St. Clare's.
There are also a smattering of oners like The Three Golliwogs, The Astonishing Ladder, The Flyaway Broomstick.. and much much more.

I personally found myself unable to detach from The Enchanted Wood and The Faraway Tree series as well as the Circus, St. Clare's, Malory Towers, and The Naughtiest Girl series... it's been over 20 years.. and I still remember.. Oh the nights of reading and getting pulled into this other world was.. just.. priceless.
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I loved The Indian In the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks when I was young. If I recall correctly, there are three books in the series...and while they aren't exactly on par with Dahl, they have adventure, a bit of fantasy, and were fun and engaging. I also second (or third) The Wrinkle In Time series..I read the first when I was 7 and was hooked.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:38 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I loved The Indian In the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks when I was young. If I recall correctly, there are three books in the series

THREE? I only knew about two!
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Old 12-09-2005, 03:34 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Yes, there are three books in the Indian In the Cupboard series. I loved them all.

Louis Sachar's books, especially the Wayside ones, are hilariously funny and a good read.

For more of the surreal, Madeleine L'Engle is good, especially if you're reading to her. They might be a bit tough for a five-year-old, but still enjoyable.

And the Narnia books are excellent, of course.

The Ramona the Pest books are good--Beverly Cleary is their author (she's also a notable native Oregonian). If your daughter doesn't get into them now, Cleary also has some excellent works for young adults, as does L'Engle (topics range from high school romance to divorced parents). As an adult, Cleary's autobiography is also worth a read.

Judy Blume's books such as Fudge and Superfudge are good reads for younger kids. Blubber is also an entertaining book with a good lesson. Some of her other books deal with more grown-up topics that are more appropriate for older children.

The Hobbit is also a good book and perfect for a smaller child. Don't dismiss it out of hand for a girl--where I come from, girls don't read those books, they read Anne of Green Gables, and so I missed out on years of Tolkien enjoyment because of it (however, I do love Anne of Green Gables too).

I'm glad to hear you're reading to your daughter. It makes all the difference. Being read to by my parents made me a voracious reader (and a spelling bee champion) in turn. It's a good start, and maybe she'll end up like me, reading at the college level by 5th grade

EDIT: I should also add that cultivating a relationship with your local public library is a very good thing to do. Most larger libraries have a librarian who specifically deals with the children's books and who can give you good recommendations as what to read next. Also take an opportunity to talk to your child's public school librarian. He or she will be glad to know that a student's parent is interested in reading with their child, and will also have good recommendations for you. Furthermore, encourage your child to talk to the librarian. I have fond memories of many of my librarians.
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:34 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I'm finally getting to this page and apologize for not getting to it sooner. At age 5 the first thing I would encourage is that you continue to read picture books. There are so many GREAT pieces of art/literature in picture book form. Some favorite authors, that do not control vocabulary, and are a lot of fun to read, include:
Robert Munch (I'll Love You Forever, Mortimor, and more)
Chris Van Allsbury (Jamanji, etc.)
Bill Pete (Huge Harold, etc.)
Jan Brett (Hedgehog's Surprise, The Mitten, etc.)
Audry Wood (The Napping House, etc.)
Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, etc.)

As for chapter books, it depends totally on the genre.

Fantasy:
Ella Enchanted
Redwall series (my son loved these -- they seem like older kid books to me)
The Princess School series
The Dragonrider (this is very popular right now, although I admit I haven't read it yet.)
Inkheart
Series of Unfortunate Events (I'm surprised no one has mentioned them yet!)

Realistic Fiction
Junie B. Jones (very funny, great play on words!)
Judy Moody (ditto)
Anything by Clemens

Historical Fiction
Little House on the Prairie series
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (maybe too old -- but I LOVE it!)

There is so much more out there. I love kids literature! Unfortunately, there is no other Rohl Dahl -- he is a unique and wonderful author. But, when you run out of reading material, just send me a message, with a specific need, and I, most likely, can get a few titles for you.
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Last edited by sexymama; 12-10-2005 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 12-19-2005, 08:45 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I'll put out a second on Series of Unfortunate Events. I am reliably informed by my sister that they are very Dahl-esque.

Bruce Coville was very popular when I was in grade school. You may like to try Goblins in the Castle, that was one of my favourites when I was young. Mind, I wasn't so young as five, but with your help she should be okay with it.
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:20 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I'll also second the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. I read those to my nephews and nieces whenever I'm visiting them. They range from 5 to 9 right now and I occasionally have to explain a word or three to the youngest but he does just fine.

I also recommend Thornton Burgess. His writing is fairly simple but the stories are all good.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:21 AM   #28 (permalink)
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There is so much more out there. I love kids literature! Unfortunately, there is no other Rohl Dahl -- he is a unique and wonderful author. But, when you run out of reading material, just send me a message, with a specific need, and I, most likely, can get a few titles for you.
Thanks, sexymama, and everyone else! (Just checking back on this thread after returning from the break.) I really appreciate your taking the time to think about these titles/authors and make a list of them. These suggestions will keep us busy for the next several years

We finished Witches a while back, and of course she loved it, just as much as I did, so we've just about finished Dahl now. I'll be printing out your suggestions and taking them with me the next trip to the library. Looking forward to reading them
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