Taken from our popular Roald Dahl Poster and Teaching guide, below are question ideas for children about the Roald Dahl books they have read.
1 Many of Roald Dahl’s stories involve the characters going on journeys. Write about two or three of these journeys from different books and say what purpose they serve in the books.
2 Dahl’s stories are very popular with children but many adults object to them, saying that there is too much cruelty, violence and rudeness in his books. Do you think that the adults have a point?
3 Some people think that Roald Dahl’s stories are rather like fairy stories, with characters who are either very good or very bad. Is that true? Are there any books where the characters are not so clear-cut?
4 What sort of things do you admire in Roald Dahl’s books? Give examples from titles you have read. Many people think he is brilliantly inventive with his plots and language and that he is often very witty. Is this what you like? What else attracts you to his books?
5 One of the aspects of Roald Dahl’s books that readers enjoy is the way that he gets going with the story really quickly. Is this true of all books? Look at the openings of some of them and share your findings.
6 How many of Dahl’s characters are children who have to survive without their parents, or with awful parents? Do you think children like books where the parents are absent or horrible? Why?
7 Have you seen any films of Dahl’s books? What was enjoyable about the film(s) and what differences were there from the books?
8 Do you talk to your friends about the Roald Dahl books that you read? What aspects do you usually share with each other?
9 Have you found anything out about Roald Dahl’s life, especially about his early life as a child? Do you think you can understand more about some aspects of his books when you know more about him as a person?
10 Which is your favourite Dahl title and why?
11 Quentin Blake’s illustrations can be found in nearly all of Dahl’s books. How do they add to your experience of reading the books?
12 Some of the early versions of Dahl’s books were not illustrated by Quentin Blake but by other illustrators. For instance, Jill Bennett illustrated Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny the Champion of the World and Faith Jaques illustrated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you can get hold of these early versions, it is very interesting to see how their illustrations compare with those of Quentin Blake. Take two or three key moments and see how each illustrator approaches the drawing.
Teaching activities are also available for Fantastic Mr Fox, Esio Trot, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny the Champion of the World, Matilda and the BFG with our Poster and teachers guide.