Celebrating Roald Dahl's Birthday Month with Crafts for Some of His Books

Disclosure: Penguin Kids gave me a copy of these books free of charge for this review in return for an honest review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916. To honor him, Penguin Kids asked us to read a few of his books and come up with a craft or activity to go with each of them. Now I will admit that I sadly only really knew the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know I read Charlie and the Glass Elevator when I was young and I have seen the movie version of Matilda, but that is about all of my knowledge of Roald Dahl's stories. I was given a list to choose three of his books from and I showed it to Steve. He didn't recognize any of them until I mentioned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and he said Willy Wonka. Needless to say we included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to our list.

Now Charlie finds one of the lucky golden tickets and gets to tour the locked Wonka's Chocolate Factory with the other four lucky ticket winners and their guardians. Throughout the tour the other winners get into trouble by not listening and following rules. And many of the consequences are quite funny if they are not happening to you. Hazel and I thought it would be fun to plan a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Party. Our craft is the invitation.

 We found a nice shiny gold paper at AC Moore. It was a 12-inch square. I knew the shininess and my ink jet printer would not be friends so I bought some full page clear shipping labels. We printed the invitation with some of the wording from the golden ticket in the story. To download a Word Document of the wording (three to a page), click here. I left it in Word so you can make any changes of dates, names, location, etc.  Once we printed them out we wrapped them around candy bars of course.

Then we have been discussing what should happen at a Willy Wonka party. We know that chocolate fondue is a must. We also discussed blueberry pie and gum in honor of Violet Beauregarde. A photo op would be to make a blueberry body and a spot for the head.  Assuming no allergies there should be walnuts and maybe a craft of making a walnut shell squirrel in honor of Veruca Salt (perhaps similar to this craft but using shells instead of an egg carton). Really just lots of food in honor of Augustus Gloop and a photo booth with a television screen frame for Mike Teavee. (Hazel of course picked right up on his last name.) Some activities would be fishing Augustus Gloop out of the chocolate river. An oompa loompa song and dance game is see who can remember the words to the various songs or record them and have the kids dance to them. And of course end with pin-the-button on the glass elevator. Leave one button spot empty for the kids to aim with their buttons. Blindfold them and play just like pin-the-tail on the donkey. 

Hazel loved this book. While we were reading it she would ask me to just read Charlie so we could read more chapters in a night and not read our normal picture books. As soon as we finished it she wanted to read Charlie and the Glass Elevator which I finally took out of the library today. She cannot wait for us to start on it.  

Now as you probably know if you have been reading Crafty Moms Share for any time, Hazel is a very sensitive child. She gets scared very easily. In fact I can't really take her into any stores right now because of all the Halloween stuff that is out. It gives her nightmares. As I read the descriptions of the other books I looked for something that would not have the possibility of scaring her. Our next book is Esio Trot. I had not heard of Esio Trot, but the summary sounded good and not scary.

Esio Trot is a love story.  The very shy Mr. Hoppy is in love with his downstairs neighbor, Mrs. Silver. Mrs. Silver is a widow and her life seems to center around her tortoise, Alfie. Mr. Hoppy and Mrs. Silver see each other when they are on their balconies. Alfie lives on Mrs. Silver's balcony and she is worried about his size and lack of growth. Mr. Hoppy sees this as his way to her heart. He tells her he knows a secret to make Alfie grow. He tells her his secret which is to speak backwards to the tortoise (thus the title, Esio Trot). She does this and instead of Alfie growing, Mr. Hoppy makes a tortoise claw to bring Alfie up to his balcony and replaces him with a slightly larger tortoise. He does this several times. Eventually Mrs. Silver notices Alfie has grown and is very happy with Mr. Hoppy and it has a wonderful ending. To go with this story we instantly thought of making tortoises of different sizes. We decided to use a cupcake liner and a coffee filter for the shells. We painted them with green paint and bubble wrap (but I think we got too much paint on the smaller bubble wrap). We traced the shells and drew bodies on green craft foam and cut them out. We glued on eyes and stuffed the shells with napkins. Meet Alfie and Tortoise Number 4.

 In the story Mr. Hoppy compared the tortoises to Alfie or the last "Alfie" to make sure their colorings and markings were similar. Ours are not perfect, but we had fun making them.

 Our final book was the only one Amazon recommended for six-year-olds (all the others were seven- or eight-year-olds). I have to say it was the scariest of the three books we got. It is The Enormous Crocodile

 In this story the enormous crocodile loves to eat children but is not very good at catching them. He has come up with a plan to eat the village children. On his way to the village he runs into other animals and he tells them what he is up to and they try to tell him not to do it. He doesn't listen. Each time he almost gets a child one of the animals comes out of the jungle to save them. We decided to go the easy route with this one and make a clothespin crocodile. We talked about using one of Hazel's large clothespins, but didn't want to take them away from her play area since she uses them with her silks and cloths. We cut white foam for his teeth and used zig zag scissors to make the teeth. Then we cut a place for the eyes to stick up and used google eyes.

The best part of the clothespin crocodile is his mouth opens and shuts! Hazel wanted to find some children to put with it as well as the other animals: a hippo, monkey and elephant, so she could re-enact the story. We haven't done it yet and she is worried that our clothespin crocodile is not considered enormous, but we like him.

Those are the wonderful Dahl stories we read and did crafts for, however we did go to the library and take out and read Fantastic Mr. Fox and  The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me. We loved both of them. In fact when we were in the book store Hazel did not want to leave because she was looking at Dahl's other books. She was very interested in The Witches, but it ended up giving her nightmares after looking at the pictures. Needless to say we did not read it. Penguin Kids however did send us a bunch of stuff to use with an event based on  The Witches and Dahl's other books. I brought most of them to our local library since we would not be holding a big event and I knew the witch pictures would probably scare Hazel.

 They also sent us some Roald Dahl bookmarks. We kept a few of those and gave the rest to the library as well.

So by celebrating Roald Dahl and his birthday, Hazel has been introduced to some fun new books and is really enjoying exploring his less scary stories.