cover image The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets

The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets

Roald Dahl, illus. by Quentin Blake, Puffin, $4.99 paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-14-241742-3

Containing excerpts from earlier tributes to Dahl's work and wit, this is an eclectic and funny collection of tidbits by and about the late author. The kernel of the book is "Spotty Powder," a characteristically droll chapter from an early draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which one of several "horrid little boys and girls" who were dropped from the final version gets her just desserts. Other standouts are Dahl's nature-themed ruminations on the months of the year (on October, "This, like September, is a lovely month, mild and misty and smelling of ripe apples"), a list of "favorite things" he kept beside him when he wrote, and a biographical sketch of Blake—whose quirky, inimitable spot art is sprinkled throughout—followed by Dahl's heartfelt appreciation of his longtime illustrator. Also included are the author's recollections of childhood holidays, his tips for aspiring writers, and hilarious comments teachers wrote on his report cards ("A persistent muddler. Vocabulary negligible, sentences malconstructed. He reminds me of a camel"). Highly entertaining, it's a sparkling window into Dahl's vivid personality and oeuvre. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)