13/09/2011 05:55 BST | Updated 12/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Roald Dahl Day 2011: James And The Giant Peach Is 50-Years-Old

James and the Giant Peach is 50 years old. In the story his parents die a violent death and James escapes abusive relatives. Why was Roald Dahl so dark?

There's a perception that children's literature involves endless picnics where the strawberry jam and lashings of ginger beer never run out. But Roald Dahl pursued a different path, satisfying children's appetite for the violent, greedy and disgusting.