Oompa Loompa doo-p-dee dee...the UK is again poised to pay tribute to the acclaimed children's author Roald Dahl with a series of swishwifflingly scrumdiddlyumptious events across the country!
The annual Roald Dahl Day, which is centred around the late author's birthday on the 13th September, will see children (and a worrying number of fully grown adults) dressing up as their favourite characters and joining in with fun activities inspired by "the world's greatest ever storyteller".
The Dahl-themed festivities will be particularly significant this year due to 2016 being what would have been the legendary author's 100th birthday. And Britain is sure to be whizzpopping with family-friendly #RoaldDahl100 entertainment in honour of this special anniversary, and hopefully inspiring the next generation of Roald Dahl fans with his madcap yarns.
Official party packs (see below) are now available online from the Roald Dahl website's party pack registration page. They also offer fantastic dressing up tips (as do Netmums) for all parents and teachers looking to make the day even more fun!
But why is Dahl so revered? Ultimately, it's obviously down to the genius of the tales themselves. Simple. But it also helps that the iconic wordsmith's books are firmly back in the public eye (not that they ever went away) due to high profile Hollywood interpretations, such as Steven Spielberg's recent BFG and Wes Anderson's excellent 2009 stop-motion animated Fantastic Mr Fox.
Steve Gardam, Director of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, gave me his insights about why Mr Dahl's popularity sees no signs of waning in 2016.
He said: "Roald Dahl's stories take us around the world, from a fox's den in an English wood, to a crocodile at a funfair in the African bush, and a giant peach landing on the Empire State Building in New York. The many places he lived and visited during his life gave a rich mix of experiences which he used to craft his tales. His words create places and characters in our minds, but they are always full of fantasy and magic, so we can all imagine them in our own way.
"The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre is based in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire - the heart of the countryside that inspired Roald Dahl most of all."
Agreed. On a personal level, I remember being completely and utterly engrossed by Roald's oddball tales. He was the first author that actually made reading FUN, rather than the snooze-inducing chore that it can be for kids! Ultimately, Dahl allowed my imagination to run wild during my shy childhood years. No other writer came close. No-one. Take that, Enid Blyton! It's therefore easy for me to see why Dahl is still the darling (or should that be Dahl-ing) of children's literature.
Don't be a Twit! Celebrate the life and work of this remarkable man at an event near you. For example, we're putting on a Roald Dahl-inspired event in Birmingham at the Custard Factory on the 10th September in honour of the great man. See you there!
Happy Birthday, Roald.