Why I think Mr Fox is so Fantastic
By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager
It’s almost 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – the world’s number one storyteller. So as 13th September, now known as #RoaldDahlDay approaches, what better time for me to share my favourite Roald Dahl book of all time… and there is no question as to what it is. Fantastic Mr Fox!
While not wanting to give away my age, I have to admit that I didn’t first pick up the book until I was a mother but Roald Dahl quickly became a much loved author in the household. And Fantastic Mr Fox quickly became an equally loved personal favourite of mine.
With my ‘mum’ hat on; Fantastic Mr Fox gave me a great way to help the children understand their emotions as the book tells the story through the eyes of the animals. And with the Quentin Blake illustrations, the words were literally brought alive in a way that always made bedtime reading especially engaging.
However, as my children grew up and I became a primary school teacher – the book began to take on a whole new meaning. The Boggis, Bunce and Bean alliteration and the typical Dahl language which is used throughout the story make it an excellent starter for group reading with the younger children. Plus, as it is one of his shorter books it means you can easily finish it within a week (important for keeping the children’s interest).
I also found that children naturally gravitate towards Dahl’s books because they are so unique in their appeal. Possibly because he always tried to view the world from a child’s perspective – us grown-up human beans can’t be trusted, after all! From a teaching perspective, this actually gives us an opportunity to explore lesser known authors as part of termly book themes, because we can be confident that the children will seek out his books on their own.
For those schools who have Accelerated Reader, ALL of Roald Dahl’s books have been quizzed… so when trying to encourage reading for pleasure, the children will be able to take a quiz on any of his books (see www.ARBookfind.co.uk). And if you don’t have Accelerated Reader, there is a free quiz on the BFG available at www.TaketheQuiz.co.uk – why not use the BFG for a group reading exercise and then use the free quiz as a basis for class discussion at the end, to unpick and unpack together?
I’ll actually be on holiday when it is Roald Dahl Day this year, which makes me wonder whether I’ll be the only one reading Fantastic Mr Fox on the beach, or if I might spot fellow Dahl lovers devouring their own favourites!
Strategic Education Manager
Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.