My eldest son has just about reached the age where he can start to enjoy longer story books. By 'longer' I mean books that have chapters and a few well-placed black and white illustrations - you know the kind. Books that take a few weeks (or even months) to read aloud chapter by chapter, and require him (and me!) to remember what happened in the previous chapters.
We have just finished The BFG by Roald Dahl - which I loved as a child. It was quite a slog at times. The Big Friendly Giant has quite a unique use of language which (although hilarious to an adult) can be quite tricky and tongue-twistering (there's a unique use of language if ever I saw one!) when you are reading aloud to a small boy. My son had to stop me several times to complain because he couldn't understand what the BFG was saying - so I did simplify the dialogue at times. (The BFG's language was apparently inspired by the way Roald Dahl's wife mixed up her words after suffering from a brain tumour). But we enjoyed it, it is a great story, and what a sense of accomplishment we felt when we finished that wonderful final chapter this afternoon.
We have now moved onto The Twits, which I am glad to say is much easier to understand for an almost 5 year old boy. It is also a joy to read out loud, and very funny to boot.
The Twits is quite a short book, so we have already decided that our next adventure will be with Fantastic Mr Fox. Partly inspired by the film due out shortly, (check out the trailer here) and also because I never read it as a child.
It is safe to say that Roald Dahl is widely regarded as one of the greatest children's authors ever - and his books continue to inspire and delight children everywhere. Not just a writer for children though, I was given a copy of this book a few Christmas's ago and it has to be one of my favourite books. It is great to just dip into as well as the fact that every story has a little surprise hidden inside.