Britain celebrated its first Roald Dahl Day on Wednesday to mark the 90th anniversary of the birth of the much-loved author of children's classics Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach. Fans across Britain were encouraged to wear yellow, Dahl's favourite colour, speak in Dahl's invented language "gobblefunk," trade books and make up Ooma Loompa dances.
Children and parents participated in parties and book-readings this week to celebrate the writer, who died in 1990. New book club openings, films, tea parties, and readings marked the occasion. A south England theme park is giving free admission to the first 500 people who are dressed all in yellow, on Saturday. A special train ferried fans from London to the town of Great Missenden, where Dahl lived for more than 30 years, 35 miles (55 kilometres) west of London.
Guides from the Roald Dahl Museum conducted tours of the town, stopping to read passages from stories and pointed out landmarks that inspired scenes from Dahl's books, including the library where Matilda reads and Sophie's orphanage from The BFG, the Big Friendly Giant.
"I think his stories are still very much contemporary and they haven't aged at all," said Isabelle Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the museum. "The enthusiasm of children and adults testifies he is still very much alive in people's imaginations." Dahl's books, many of them darkly comic and featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters, have sold over 100 million copies.
He also wrote adult books, which touched on the dark side of human nature.