James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

October 3rd, 2014 by

jamesandthegiantpeachmovieSubmitted by Autumn, Age 12 from Alabama

Rating: ★★★★★

I love this book so much! It’s a really cool book you will like it. I’ve read it 5 times because it’s that good. It’s a little sad in the beginning but it gets better.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

April 3rd, 2014 by

The-Witches-roald-dahlSubmitted by Allison, Age 9 from Virginia

Rating: ★★★★½

Are you scared of witches? Well you should because the witches are everywhere. They dress up as ordinary ladies but they are evil and diabolical little sneaks. The witches hate children. And do everything they can to get rid of them.So if I were you I would watch your back!

Danny The Champion Of The World by Roald Dahl

April 3rd, 2014 by

Danny Champion of the World_Roald DahlSubmitted by Ryan, Age 10 from Virginia

Rating: ★★★★★

This book is another famous story by Roald Dahl. Its funny its seurious . Its about this kids dad who breaks the law. Im pretty sure you will love this book. Also it mentchens the BFG if you like the BFG then you will love this one. So try Danny The Champion Of The World.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

January 7th, 2014 by

fantastic-fox_roald-dahlSubmitted by richard, Age 11 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Fantastic Mr. Fox was an awesome book by Roald Dahl. Also fantastic Mr. fox was very clever. Mr. fox [and family] get trapped in a burrow and have no food. so they are trying to ran away from bunce, been, and boggis are waiting for them. My favorite part of the book was the ending because it was very funny. I recommend this book to anyone who likes funny books. also if you read other Roald Dahl books.

Our Splendiferous Afternoon of Roald Dahl

December 22nd, 2013 by

dahl-booksA few weeks ago, we spent a wonderful couple of hours in the presence of the legendary author Roald Dahl. No, we didn’t hang out with his corpse or a Zombie Roald Dahl — more like, the author was present in spirit. That’s because we attended an event called A Splendiferous Afternoon of Roald Dahl!

jarret-j-krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

On December 8th, actors, singers, and even the grandson of Roald Dahl gathered in NYC to celebrate the author with performances and speeches — all hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and artist of the Lunch Lady series.

The event raised money for a charity called First Book, which donates books to needy kids, so it was a good cause in addition to being a good time!

It truly was a splendiferous marvelous fantabulous afternoon, and we want to share it with you! So here’s our re-cap:

The event started with a performance from the Broadway musical Matilda — you can guess which Roald Dahl book the show is based on! Actress Sophia Gennusa belted out the song “Naughty,” which is totally inspirational, not to mention catchy! Here’s a version of the song that was performed in England:

Paul-Giamatti

Paul Giammati

Then actor Paul Giammati read from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — but he didn’t just read from it. He also took on the voices and body language of the characters, and his maniacal Willy Wonka laugh definitely caused all of us in the audience to crack up ourselves.

It felt like being transported into the factory, gliding along the chocolate river in a candy boat and watching the unfortunate Violet Beauregarde turn from a gum-chewing little girl into a giant blueberry right in front of our eyes.

Mara-Wilson-Amy-Ryan

Mara Wilson and Amy Ryan

Next, we learned about how some seemingly nice and harmless ladies can actually be evil creatures intent on squelching children — as actresses Amy Ryan and Mara Wilson read from The Witches. (Fun fact: Mara Wilson played Matilda in the movie version from 1996; now she’s 26 years old!)

Our favorite part of this performance was that it ended on a cliffhanger: We were told that there are a few telltale characteristics of witches that will help us distinguish them from normal women and that we should always keep these warning signs in mind — and that’s where the reading ended! We assume many in the audience raced to the library immediately after the event to research this very important info.

Sophia-Gennusa-Luke-Kelly

Luke Kelly, coincidentally looking like a BFG next to Sophia Gennusa from Matilda the Musical

Roald Dahl’s grandson, Luke Kelly, did the next reading, which was from the book The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. But first, he shared some lovely family stories — for instance, some nights Dahl would stand outside his daughters’ windows with a horn so they would think The BFG was real! (He never fooled them, btw; they always knew it was him.)

Luke Kelly also revealed some tidbits about the unfinished story that Dahl was working on when he died. It’s about a man named Billy Bubbler who makes up all sorts of crazy inventions, like cavity fillings that are made out of sweets. One of his creations is a machine that lets people talk with dogs — and this was going to be the main adventure in the story. It’s just too bad Dahl never got to finish it!

After that, we visited England in the 1920s, with a reading by actor James Naughton from Dahl’s memoir, Boy: Tales of Childhood. He took us back to Dahl’s days at Llandaff Cathedral School, when he admired an older student with serious bicycle skillz and waged war against the disgusting mean old lady who owned the local candy store. Also, would you like to hear a theory about how rats are mashed into licorice? Read this book!

james-naughton

James Naughton

 

Matt-Cavenaugh-Jenny-Powers

Matt Cavenaugh and Jenny Powers

From there, we journeyed to a land of pure imagination, thanks to Broadway performers Jenny Powers and Matt Cavenaugh. They sang “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

And to finish things off, the entire adult cast of the show — including Jarrett J. Krosoczka — returned to the stage to perform a reading from James and the Giant Peach. And so we watched James wander through the juicy oversized fruit all the way to the pit, where he meets The Centipede, The Earthworm, The Old Green Grasshopper, The Ladybug, Miss Spider, and The Glowworm for the first time.

roald-dahl-cast

The full cast!

Then we all clapped and cheered and chattered about how awesome this splendiferous afternoon had been as we made our way out into the theater lobby… and discovered that while we had been visiting with Dahl, New York City’s first real snow of the season had started to fall!

“Epic!” everyone yelled, and we all tromped outside into the swirling white splendiferous night.

PS – This amazing event was held at Symphony Space in Manhattan. If you happen to live in the NYC area, you and your parents should check it out. They have a program called the Thalia Book Club for avid readers and writers ages 9-13!

PPS – If you’ve been inspired to read (or re-read) some of Roald Dahl’s splendiferous books, check out our recommendations and other fun stuff right here on Kidsmomo!

 

Event photos courtesy of First Book Manhattan.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

March 26th, 2013 by

BFG_Roald-DahlSubmitted by kaylee, Age 11 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★★

There is a rumor spreading that there is a witching hour where (something) comes and takes you while you’re sleeping in bed, then eats you up! This is one of Roald Dahl’s amazing books! The bfg is not a plain old giant. He is sweet and nice.He is the one who won’t go anywhere near the other giants because he is the smallest! My favorite part is when bfg is telling stories of dreams from little children. I love this book. It’s very descriptive and I’d recommend this book for people who like funny and mysterious books.

Movies Based on Roald Dahl Books

September 12th, 2011 by

Guess who has a birthday this month? Karen! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN!

(She doesn’t like to make a big deal about it, so naturally I make a big deal about it.).

Another awesome person who has a birthday this month? ROALD DAHL! His birthday was on September 13th, and he would have turned 95 tomorrow. As I’ve mentioned many times before, he’s one of my favorite authors. One of the hardest questions to answer, EVER: Which Roald Dahl book do you like the most? Well… I’m gonna avoid answering that, like I always do, by focusing on mini-reviews for some of the movies based on his kids’ books:

The BFG (1989)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

While there are quite a few differences from the book (especially at the end!), I’m glad that this was done with animation and not live-action. It was made in 1989 (when an old fogey like me was still a little kid), and I think we’re due for a new movie adaptation! Maybe this time around they’ll make it live-action and call up Ian McKellan (who plays Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series) as the BFG.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Rating: ★★★★★

Don’t let the title (or the old-fashioned poster) fool you — even though Willy Wonka is in the title, Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe are very important in this musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! One of my favorite scenes is when Willy Wonka sings “Pure Imagination” as the kids enter the chocolate-mixing garden room. My only pet peeve: this version is missing the nut-cracking squirrels, but I’ll let it slide since everything else about this version was just scrumdidilyumptious! Oh, but in real life: Oompa Loompas are kind of creepy.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Well, the squirrels are in this movie! And the bright visuals are stunning — exactly the wacky, zany color pallette I always imagined Charlie and Wonka’s factory would have. While I didn’t love Johnny Depp’s performance as Willy Wonka, all of the actors who played the kids were great — I actually wanted to be Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, and they’re horrible! Oh, and Oompa Loompas in 2005 are still kind of creepy.

See More…

Kidsmomo Podcast #51: “Yo, Daddy-o!”

June 29th, 2011 by

From Crush the Turtle to Mr. Quimby, fathers come in lots of shapes and sizes.

And today, on the heels of Father’s Day, we honor them all in our latest podcast, all about books about dads!

 

    Listen now: 

      (7:47)
    Download the MP3 (3.7 MB)

  • “Father-daughter make-over time!” — aka our mystery book (AND special guest) revealed!
  • Our Books About Dads picks (Amalee and Danny, the Champion of the World)
  • A dad-son book review from YOU (Peak)
  • Disney animal dads
  • We praise our awesomeness

Also, don’t forget: we’re kicking off our special month-long Summer Grab Bag theme! So send us a review of any of your favorite books, or any new books you’re reading this summer. And check out our Summer Grab Bag picks — all books that we’ve never recommended on Kidsmomo before!

— Karen and Nancy

Photo by flickr user Jim, the Photographer

Matilda, A Musical!

March 6th, 2011 by

WARNING! This blog entry contains spoilers for Roald Dahl’s delightful masterpiece, Matilda. If you haven’t read it yet, go read it now! (And then return to Kidsmomo.com ASAP!)

So, if you have read Matilda, then you’ve undoubtedly imagined yourself in Matilda’s shoes — her awesome, psychokinetic, eye-power-yielding shoes! But before she discovered her secret superpower, Matilda was just a quiet, smart, little girl who loved to read and didn’t fit in with her family. Matilda was like every other student at her school, Crunchem Hall — terrified of headmistress Miss Agatha Trunchbull. So what would you do if Miss Agatha Trunchbull sniffed you out in a classroom, leaned over your desk, and started… singing?

That’s what would happen if you were part of Matilda, A Musical! Commissioned by the uber-famous Royal Shakespeare Company, the play in two acts includes songs like:

“Pathetic” (Miss Honey)
“The Chokey Chant” (The Company)
“Bruce” (Children)
“Quiet” (Matilda)
“The Smell of Rebellion” (Miss Trunchbull and Children)
“Revolting Children” (Children)

Matilda was played by three girls about YOUR age who alternated performances. I wonder if the kid who played Bruce got to had to eat a lot of chocolate cake?

The musical ran in England from November 2009 to January 2011, but never fear! Rumor has it that it’ll be appearing on Broadway in the United States! (I certainly hope so!)

Check out this trailer (the voice presumably belongs to the scary Miss Trunchbull) that we discovered on School Library Journal and the official website.

— Nancy

As a kid, Nancy tried many times to move things with her mind by staring at them for a long time, but always just ended up with bugged-out eyeballs.

Meet Nancy

Kidsmomo Podcast #37: “The Horror, The Horror!”

November 9th, 2010 by

It seems like we always have to mention food and bad puns — even when we’re talking about scary stories! But there’s also plenty of spine-tingling terror in our latest podcast, all about spooky stuff. Are you frightened by the idea of a duel with the devil, an evil plot to turn children into rodents, and ghosts who move among mortals? Then beware our new podcast!

      (12:47)
    Download the MP3 (6.1 MB) 

  • Which witch is the worst? You’ll meet her when we reveal our mystery book!
  • Our dream Halloween costume ideas
  • Our spooky book picks (The Boneshaker, Dying to Meet You)
  • Horror recs from two of YOU (The Haunting of Derek Stone and Deep and Dark and Dangerous)

Also, don’t forget: next up, we’re celebrating the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 with a special month-long theme dedicated to books for Potterphiles! So send us a review of a book that you would recommend to a Harry Potter fan, check out our “Beyond Hogwarts” booklist, and watch our review of the new movie. Cheers, mate!

— Karen and Nancy

Copy of The Boneshaker provided to Kidsmomo by the author.

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