Willy Wonka. The BFG. Matilda. Fantastic Mr. Fox. The one thing all of those iconic characters have in common is their creator: beloved author Roald Dahl.
Dahl, a British Air Force veteran who took up writing after the second World War, would have turned 100 Tuesday. He died from the blood disease Myelodysplastic Syndrome in 1990 at the age of 74, but not before leaving behind an unforgettable legacy.
Dahl's stories, which often were written from the perspective of a child pitted against some sinister adult or group of adults, became some of the most famous children's books of all time. His penchant for humor mixed with darkness made his tales of mischief and fantasy, which often featured whimsical adventures and dozens of made-up words, stand out from his contemporaries. Many of his most famous works have been adapted into popular feature films and TV shows, including "Charlie in the Chocolate Factory," which was adapted twice (once starring the late Gene Wilder in 1971 and again in 2005 starring Johnny Depp).
Here are 12 quotes to celebrate Dahl's birthday:
1. "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." — from "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator"
2. "A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
3. "I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be." — from “My Uncle Oswald”
4. "Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world."
5. "It's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren't feeling twinkly yourself."
6. "Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog." — from "Matilda"
7. "If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books."
8. "When you're writing, it's rather like going on a very long walk."
9. "The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it."
10. "A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom."
11. "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
12. "If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important."