Children love Roald Dahl books because they are full of ridiculous and absurd characters, storylines and names. You never quite know what is going to happen in a Roald Dahl book but all of them are very entertaining to read and most have a moral to the tale.
We have chosen 6 amazing Roald Dahl short stories your students will love. They differ according to the age of the reader with some unsuitable for very young children.
However, there is a great Roald Dahl short story for everyone.
Roald Dahl’s book The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is actually a layered story told through three different people.
It was inspired by the real life Pakistani mystic Kuda Bux. In 1952 Dahl wrote an article about Kuda Bux; he later worked that text into this story.
Henry Sugar is a rich playboy who goes to stay at a friends’ mansion for the weekend. As it is raining he gets bored and goes to the library.
There he finds an exercise book which contains the account of Dr John Cartwright about a man who could see without his eyes.
This man is Imhrat Khan who sought out the doctor in Bombay asking for his help. He describes being able to see without using his eyes. The doctor agrees to help him use this gift for fame and fortune.
The story then switches to how Imhrat Khan came to learn this incredible skill from a yogi.
After years of training he is able to see through playing cards and walk across hot coals.
Finishing the account Henry Sugar decides to teach himself how to do what Imhrat Khan could do. He learns quickly and goes to a London casino, winning thousands of pounds.
But it doesn’t make him feel as happy as he thought it would, the yoga training had changed him.
So instead he travels the world winning money and setting up orphanages in each place that he visits.
Mr Hoddy is the story of human folly. It tells the tale of Claud Cabbage who is due to meet the father of his girlfriend, Clarice. As he wants to marry her, Claud needs to impress her father with how he is going to support them both after they are married.
His actual plan is to win money at the dog track, but Clarice warns him that her father hates greyhounds and not to mention this plan. She urges him to think of something else, anything else!
When Claud arrives at the house and begins to be grilled by Mr. Hoddy he tells him that he plans to work with his friend who owns a gas station and their plans for expansion. Not content with this Mr. Hoddy presses him for more details.
Unfortunately, Claud gets carried away and tells Mr. Hoddy that they are going to run a ‘maggot factory’, raising them from rotting meat and selling them to fishermen all over the world.
He goes into greater and greater detail about the variety of maggots they will raise, how they will feed them and even how they plan to keep them warm in the winter.
Finally, Mr. Hoddy has enough, he’s a grocer and the thought of maggots being the source of his daughter’s financial stability disgusts him. He tells Claud to stop talking and escorts him from the house.
Kids love animals and most would love to be able to talk to them. So they will love this tale of The Boy Who Talked To Animals. The story is about a turtle who one day lands on a resort beach in Jamaica.
The locals all want to kill the turtle for its shell and its meat but a young boy, David begins crying hysterically, wanting to save the turtle. His parents volunteer to buy the turtle from the resort owner telling him that David is very sensitive to animals.
While they are arguing about the price for the turtle David speaks to it and tells it to swim away. In the night, the young boy disappears and is nowhere to be found. The next day two fishermen come into the resort with a strange tale.
They saw a young boy out in the ocean riding on the back of a turtle!
This is a fun story for younger children with typical Roald Dahl absurd storylines that are also hilarious and with a moral to the tale.
The Upsidedown Mice is the story of an old man called Labon. He is 87 years old, and he lives in a house that is infested with mice.
He devises a plan to rid his house of the mice. First, he glues mousetraps to the ceilings and puts cheese in them for bait. When the mice see this they just laugh.
But then Labon begins to glue his carpet and furniture to the ceiling as well. Everything is now upside down.
When the mice see this they become alarmed. One of the senior mice decides that they must do something at once.
The mice decide to stand on their heads. Unfortunately this has the effect of making all the blood rush to their brains, and they all end up fainting.
The following morning, Labon picks up all the unconscious mice and puts them into a basket. The moral of the story is that when the world seems to be upside down remember to keep your feet firmly on the ground.
The Swan is a story best suited to older students as some younger children may find it upsetting. Ernie has been given a rifle for his birthday, he’s not a nice boy, in fact he’s a bully and so is his friend, Raymond.
Taking the rifle to go hunt rabbits they meet Peter Watson who is their favorite victim as he is smart and polite, nothing like them. They threaten him with the rifle, but Peter tells them they would go to prison if they shot him. Instead they punch him and tie him up.
The bullies take Peter to a railway line and tie him between the rails. The train passes over him and he’s unharmed. Disappointed, the bullies take him to a nearby lake where they shoot a duck and force Peter to wade out and retrieve it, punching him till he agrees.
Next they shoot a swan, and Peter hides the cygnets beneath the mother’s body to protect them. He turns on the bullies telling them that it was a horrible thing to do. Ernie tells him they can bring the swan back to life. He cuts the wings off the swan and ties them to Peter.
They make him climb a high tree and shoot the rifle at him to make him jump off. One of the shots hits Peter in the leg and he falls. The author tells readers that some people are unconquerable, and Peter is one of these people.
As he is tumbling down he sees a light over the lake and spreads his wings. People later report seeing a great white swan circling over the village. Mrs Watson happens to be looking out the window at the same time that her son flops down out of the sky and faints.
She calls an ambulance and while she’s waiting for help she cuts the two wings from her son’s arms.
The Enormous Crocodile is for the youngest readers and is one of the best books to give them for reading out loud. They will love the silly names Dahl gives to the animals and how the jungle animals work together to stop the enormous crocodile.
All the enormous crocodile wants to do is eat children for lunch. He tells his friend Notsobig of his plan, but his friend thinks children would taste bitter and would need to be coated in lots of sugar. Besides, there are plenty of tasty fish in the river.
Disappointed by his friend’s response the enormous crocodile wanders into the jungle telling the animals there of his plan to eat children.
They are all horrified and tell him so. He sneaks into the village and disguises himself in various ways trying to grab a child for lunch.
But at each attempt the jungle animals foil his efforts. Trunky the elephant, Muggle-Wump the monkey and the Roly-Poly bird are all working together to stop the enormous crocodile eating children.
In the end Trunky the elephant flings the crocodile out into space, and he’s burned up by the sun.
We hope that you and your students have enjoyed our selection of Roald Dahl short stories.
The author is known for his satirical and sometimes dark humor so make sure you read the story first to ensure that it is suitable for the age of your students.
Thanks for reading our guide.
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