The marvellous, phizz-whizzing books of Roald Dahl have been beloved favourites of children's fiction for decades. We've put together a list of 100 quotes from 10 of his splendiferous stories.
1. 'It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.'
2. '"...don't worry about the bits you can't understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music."'
3. 'The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. [...] She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.'
4. 'Matilda longed for her parents to be good and loving and understanding and honourable and intelligent. The fact that they were none of these things was something she had to put up with. It was not easy to do so.'
5. 'Miss Trunchbull, the Headmistress, was something else altogether. She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of the pupils and teachers alike.'
6. 'In any event, parents never underestimated the abilities of their own children. Quite the reverse. Sometimes it was well nigh impossible for a teacher to convince the proud father or mother that their beloved offspring was a complete nitwit.'
7. 'It was one of those golden autumn afternoons and there were blackberries and splashes of old man's beard in the hedges, and the hawthorn berries were ripening scarlet for the birds when the cold winter came along.'
8. 'Do any of us children, she wondered, ever stop to ask ourselves where our teachers go when school is over for the day? Do we wonder if they live alone, or if there is a mother at home or a sister or a husband?'
9. '"Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable."'
10. '"You seemed so far away," Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.
"Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings," Matilda said. "It was wonderful."'
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
1. 'This is Charlie. How d'you do? And how d'you do? And how d'you do again? He is pleased to meet you.'
2. 'There were only two rooms in the place altogether, and there was only one bed. The bed was given to the four old grandparents because they were so old and tired. They were so tired, they never got out of it.'
3. '[Charlie] desperately wanted something more filling and satisfying than cabbage and cabbage soup. The one thing he longed for more than anything else was... CHOCOLATE.'
4. '"Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips."'
5. '"I just knew Augustus would find a Golden Ticket," his mother had told the newspapermen. "He eats so many bars of chocolate a day that it was almost impossible for him not to find one. Eating is his hobby, you know. [...] And what I always say is, he wouldn't go on eating like he does unless he needed nourishment, would he? It's all vitamins, anyway."'
6. 'Charlie picked it up and tore off the wrapper... and suddenly... from underneath the wrapper... there came a brilliant flash of gold. "It's a Golden Ticket!" screamed the shopkeeper, leaping about a foot in the air.'
7. '"Wash your face, comb your hair, scrub your hands, brush your teeth, blow your nose, cut your nails, polish your shoes, iron your shirt, and for heaven's sake, get all that mud off your pants! You must get ready, my boy! You must get ready for the biggest day of your life!"'
8. '"But they can't be real people," Charlie said.
"Of course they're real people," Mr Wonka answered. "They're Oompa-Loompas."'
9. '"And oh, what a terrible country [Loompaland] is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world - hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles."'
10. 'They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!'
1. 'So what I want to know is this. How often do all these hairy-faced men wash their faces? Is it only once a week, like us, on Sunday nights? And do they shampoo it? Do they use a hairdryer?'
2. 'If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.'
3. '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.'
4. '"Help!" screamed Mrs Twit, bouncing about. "There's something in my bed!"
"I'll bet it's that Giant Skillywiggler I saw on the floor just now," Mr Twit said.
"The what?" screamed Mrs Twit.
"I tried to kill it but it got away," Mr Twit said. "It's got teeth like screwdrivers!"'
5. '"There's enough pull here to take me to the moon!" Mrs Twit cried out.
"To take you to the moon!" exclaimed Mr Twit. "What a ghastly thought! We wouldn't want anything like that to happen, oh dear me no!"'
6. 'As she floated gently down, Mrs Twit's petticoat billowed out like a parachute, showing her long knickers. It was a grand sight on a glorious day, and thousands of birds came flying in from miles around to stare at this extraordinary old woman in the sky.'
7. 'When she was about the height of the house above Mr Twit, she suddenly called out at the top of her voice, "Here I come, you grizzly old grunion! You rotten old turnip! You filthy old frumpet!"'
8. '"I'll swish you to a swazzle!" she shouted. "I'll swash you to a swizzle! I'll gnash you to a gnozzle! I'll gnosh you to a gnazzle!" And before Mr Twit had time to run away, this bundle of balloons and petticoats and fiery fury landed right on top of him, lashing out with the stick and cracking him all over his body.'
9. '"As there are no birds for my pie tonight," he shouted, "then it'll have to be boys instead!" He started to climb the ladder. "Boy Pie might be better than Bird Pie," he went on, grinning horribly. "More meat and not so many tiny little bones!"'
10. 'Mr Twit wriggled and squirmed, and he squiggled and wormed, and he twisted and turned, and he choggled and churned, but the sticky glue held him to the floor just as tightly as it had once held the poor birds in The Big Dead Tree.'
James and the Giant Peach
1. 'He hadn't the faintest idea what it might be, but he could feel it in his bones that something was going to happen soon. He could feel it in the air around him... in the sudden stillness that had fallen upon the garden...'
2. '"It's growing!" Aunt Spiker cried. "It's getting bigger and bigger!"
"The peach, of course!" [...]
"But my dear Spiker, that's perfectly ridiculous. That's impossible. That's - that's - that's - Now, wait just a minute - No - No - that can't be right - No - Yes - Great Scott! The thing really is growing!"'
3. 'In another minute, this mammoth fruit was as large and round and fat as Aunt Sponge herself, and probably just as heavy.'
4. 'As for James, he was so spellbound by the whole thing that he could only stand and stare and murmur quietly to himself, "Oh, isn't it beautiful. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."'
5. 'Most people - and especially small children - are often quite scared of being out of doors alone in the moonlight. Everything is so deadly quiet, and the shadows are so long and black, and they keep turning into strange shapes that seem to move as you look at them, and the slightest little snap of a twig makes you jump.'
6. 'The tunnel was damp and murky, and all around him there was the curious bittersweet smell of fresh peach. The floor was soggy under his knees, the walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.'
7. 'Creatures? Or were they insects? An insect is usually something rather small, is it not? A grasshopper, for example, is an insect. So what would you call it if you saw a grasshopper as large as a dog? As large as a large dog. You could hardly call that an insect, could you?'
8. '"You call that walking!" cried the Centipede. "You're a slitherer, that's all you are! You just slither along!"
"I glide," said the Earthworm primly.
"You are a slimy beast," answered the Centipede.'
9. '"You know what I think is ridiculous?" the Centipede said, grinning away as usual. "I don't mean to be rude, but I think it is ridiculous to have ears on the sides of one's head. It certainly looks ridiculous. You ought to take a peek in the mirror some day and see for yourself."'
10. 'There was not a sound anywhere. Travelling upon the peach was not in the least like travelling in an aeroplane. The aeroplane comes clattering and roaring through the sky, and whatever might be lurking secretly up there in the great cloud-mountains goes running for cover at its approach. That is why people who travel in aeroplanes never see anything.'
Fantastic Mr Fox
1. 'Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were none the less equally mean.'
2. 'And Mrs Fox said to her children, "I should like you to know that if it wasn't for your father we should all be dead by now. Your father is a fantastic fox."
Mr Fox looked at his wife and she smiled. He loved her even more when she said things like that.'
3. 'Bean never took a bath. He never even washed. As a result, his earholes were clogged with all kinds of muck and wax and bits of chewing-gum and dead flies and stuff like that. This made him deaf.'
4. 'Boggis came waddling up. "Dang and blast that filthy stinking fox!" he said. "What the heck do we do now?"
"I'll tell you what we don't do," Bean said. "We don't let him go!"
"We'll never let him go!" Bunce declared.
"Never never never!" cried Boggis.'
5. 'Mr Fox had not spoken for a long time. [...] Mrs Fox knew that he was trying desperately to think of a way out. And now, as she looked at him, she saw him stir himself and get slowly to his feet. He looked back at his wife. There was a little spark of excitement dancing in his eyes.'
6. 'Mr Fox looked at the four Small Foxes and he smiled. What fine children I have, he thought. They are starving to death and they haven't had a drink for three days, but they are still undefeated. I must not let them down.'
7. 'So he and his four children started to dig once again. The work went much more slowly now. Yet they kept at it with great courage, and little by little the tunnel began to grow.'
8. '"I dare not do that," said Mr Fox, "because this place I am hoping to get to is so marvellous that if I described it to you now you would go crazy with excitement. And then, if we failed to get there (which is very possible), you would die of disappointment."'
9. 'The sight of food seemed to give new strength to Mrs Fox. "A feast it shall be!" she said, standing up. "Oh, what a fantastic fox your father is! Hurry up, child, and start plucking those chickens!"'
10. 'Then Mrs Fox got shyly to her feet and said, "I don't want to make a speech. I just want to say one thing, and it is this: MY HUSBAND IS A FANTASTIC FOX."'
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
1. 'The sweet-shop of my dreams would be loaded from top to bottom with Sherbet Suckers and Caramel Fudge and Russian Toffee and Sugar Snorters and Butter Gumballs and thousands and thousands of other glorious things like that.'
2. 'It looked as though some madman was ripping out the whole of the inside of the house, because now pieces of staircase and bits of the banisters and a whole lot of old floorboards came whistling through the windows.'
3. 'Then a HEAD appeared at the open window. I stared at the head. The head stared back at me with big round dark eyes. Suddenly, a second window was flung wide open and of all the crazy things a gigantic white bird hopped out and perched on the window-sill.'
4. '"Now what on earth would that be?" asked the Pelican. "I have heard of a fish-pie and a fish-cake and a fish-finger, but I have never heard of a fish-monger. Are these mongers good to eat?"'
5. 'We will polish your glass
Till it's shining like brass
And it sparkles like sun on the sea!
We are quick and polite,
We will come day or night,
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me!'
6. '"I am a Geraneous Giraffe and a Geraneous Giraffe cannot eat anything except the pink and purple flowers of the tinkle-tinkle tree. But those, as I am sure you know, are hard to find and expensive to buy."'
7. 'He looked up and saw us. He saw the Giraffe, the Pelly, the Monkey and me all staring down at him from above, but not a muscle moved in his face, not an eyebrow was raised. The chauffeurs of very rich men are never surprised by anything they see.'
8. 'If you wish to be friends with a Giraffe, never say anything bad about its neck. Its neck is its proudest possession.'
9. 'Then the sweets and chocs and toffees and fudges and nougats began pouring in to fill the shelves. [...] There were Gumtwizzlers and Fizzwinkles from China, Frothblowers and Spitsizzlers from Africa, Tummyticklers and Gobwangles from the Fiji Islands and Liplickers and Plushnuggets from the Land of the Midnight Sun.'
10. 'All you do is to look
At a page in this book
Because that's where we always will be.
No book ever ends
When it's full of your friends
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.'
George's Marvellous Medicine
1. '"I'm going shopping in the village," George's mother said to George on Saturday morning. "So be a good boy and don't get up to mischief." This was a silly thing to say to a small boy at any time. It immediately made him wonder what sort of mischief he might get up to.'
2. 'George was bored to tears. [...] He was tired of staring at pigs and hens and cows and sheep. He was especially tired of having to live in the same house as that grizzly old grunion of a Grandma.'
3. '"Whenever I see a live slug on a piece of lettuce," Grandma said, "I gobble it up quick before it crawls away. Delicious." She squeezed her lips together tight so that her mouth became a tiny wrinkled hole. "Delicious," she said again. "Worms and slugs and beetley bugs. You don't know what's good for you."'
4. 'Oh, how he hated Grandma! He really hated that horrid old witchy woman. And all of a sudden he had a tremendous urge to do something about her. Something whopping. Something absolutely terrific. A real shocker. A sort of explosion.'
5. 'So-ho! thought George suddenly. Ah-ha! Ho-hum! I know exactly what I'll do. I shall make her a new medicine, one that is so strong and so fierce and so fantastic it will either cure her completely or blow off the top of her head.'
6. 'Will she go pop? Will she explode?
Will she go flying down the road?
Will she go poof in a puff of smoke?
Start fizzing like a can of Coke?'
7. 'The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, in it went.'
8. '[George] couldn't help thinking back upon all the mad and marvellous things that had gone into the making of this crazy stuff - the shaving soap, the hair remover, the dandruff cure, the automatic washing-machine powder, the flea powder for dogs, the shoe-polish, the black pepper, the horseradish sauce and all the rest of them, not to mention the powerful animal pills and powders and liquids... and the brown paint.'
9. 'Up [Grandma] went like a jack-in-the-box... and she didn't come down... she stayed there... suspended in mid-air... about two feet up... still in a sitting position... but rigid now... frozen... quivering... the eyes bulging... the hair standing straight up on end.'
10. '"All right?" she yelled. "Who's all right? There's jacky-jumpers in my tummy! There's squigglers in my belly! There's bangers in my bottom!"'
1. 'A REAL WITCH hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more sizzling and red-hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.'
2. 'One child a week is fifty-two a year. Squish them and squiggle them and make them disappear. That is the motto of all witches.'
3. 'I gazed up at my grandmother, who sat there like some ancient queen on her throne. Her eyes were misty-grey and they seemed to be looking at something many miles away. The cigar was the only real thing about her at that moment, and the smoke it made billowed round her head in blue clouds.'
4. 'Mrs Spring looked after me and cooked my meals. I liked her very much, but she wasn't a patch on my grandmother for telling stories.'
5. 'My blinding ambition, you see, my dream of dreams, was to become one day the owner of a White Mouse Circus. I would have a small stage with red curtains in front of it, and when the curtains were drawn apart, the audience would see my world-famous performing mice walking on tightropes, swinging from trapezes, turning somersaults in the air, bouncing on trampolines and all the rest of it.'
6. 'A boy at school called Ashton had had nits in his hair last term and the matron made him dip his whole head in turpentine. It killed the nits all right, but it nearly killed Ashton as well.'
7. 'That face of hers was the most frightful and frightening thing I have ever seen. Just looking at it gave me the shakes all over. It was so crumpled and wizened, so shrunken and shrivelled, it looked as though it had been pickled in vinegar.'
8. 'Down vith children! Do them in!
Boil their bones and fry their skin!
Bish them, sqvish them, bash them, mash them!
Brrreak them, shake them, slash them, smash them!'
9. 'What's so wonderful about being a little boy anyway? Why is that necessarily any better than being a mouse? [...] Little boys have to go to school. Mice don't.'
10. '"Good!" I cried. "That's great! It's the best news I've ever had!"
"Why do you say that?" she asked, surprised.
"Because I would never want to live longer than you," I said. "I couldn't stand being looked after by anybody else."'
1. 'The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world to themselves.'
2. 'Looking at it carefully, she decided it had to be some kind of PERSON. Obviously it was not a human. But it was definitely a PERSON.'
3. 'In the moonlight, Sophie caught a glimpse of an enormous long pale wrinkly face with the most enormous ears. The nose was as sharp as a knife, and above the nose there were two bright flashing eyes, and the eyes were staring straight at Sophie. There was a fierce and devilish look about them.'
4. '"Just because I is a giant, you think I is a man-gobbling cannybull!" he shouted. "You is about right! Giants is all cannybully and murderful! And they does gobble up human beans! [...] Bonecrunching Giant crunches up two whoppsy-whiffling human beans for supper every night! Noise is earbursting! Noise of crunching bones goes crackety-crack for miles around!"'
5. '"Me gobbling up human beans! This I never! The others, yes! All the others is gobbling them up every night, but not me! I is a freaky Giant! I is a nice and jumbly Giant! I is the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country! I is THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT! I is the BFG."'
6. '"This is a sizzling-hot muckfrumping country we is living in. Nothing grows in it except snozzcumbers. I would love to go somewhere else and pick peachy fruits in the early morning from the back of an elefunt."'
7. '"When all the other giants is galloping off every what way and which to swollop human beans, I is scuddling away to other places to blow dreams into the bedrooms of sleeping children. Nice dreams. Lovely golden dreams. Dreams that is giving the dreamers a happy time."'
8. 'The Bloodbottler pointed a finger as large as a tree-trunk at the BFG. "Runty little scumscrewer!" he shouted. "Piffling little swishfiggler! Squimpy little bottle-wart! Prunty little pogswizzler!"'
9. 'It is quite possible that one or two late-night wanderers might have thought they saw a tall black shadow skimming swiftly down a murky sidestreet, but even if they had, they would never have believed their own eyes. They would have dismissed it as an illusion and blamed themselves for seeing things that weren't there.'
10. '"Oh, Queen! Oh, Monacher! Oh, Golden Sovereign! Oh, Ruler! Oh, Ruler of Straight Lines! Oh, Sultana! I is come here with my little friend Sophie... to give you a..." The BFG hesitated, searching for the word.
"To give me what?" the Queen said.
"A sistance," the BFG said, beaming. The Queen looked puzzled.'
Danny, the Champion of the World
1. 'Most wonderful of all was the feeling that when I went to sleep, my father would still be there, very close to me, sitting in his chair by the fire, or lying in the bunk above my own.'
2. 'I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile, because it's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren't feeling twinkly yourself.'
3. 'Grown-ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.'
4. 'His face was pale in the pale yellow glow from the lamp in the ceiling, but his eyes were shining like stars. "So here it is," he said, and now suddenly his voice became soft and whispery and very private. "Pheasants," he whispered, "are crazy about raisins."
"Is that the big secret?"
"That's it," he said.'
5. 'I had a queer feeling that the whole wood was listening with me, the trees and the bushes, the little animals hiding in the undergrowth and the birds roosting in the branches. All were listening. Even the silence was listening. Silence was listening to silence.'
6. 'The difference lay in my father. A change had come over him. It wasn't a big change, but it was enough to make me certain that something was worrying him quite a lot.'
7. 'It is a most marvellous thing to be able to go out and help yourself to your own apples whenever you feel like it. You can do this only in the autumn of course, when the fruit is ripe, but all the same, how many families are so lucky?'
8. '"The weasel is the bravest of all animals. The mother will fight to the death to defend her own children. She will never run away, not even from a fox which is one hundred times bigger than her. She will stay beside her nest and fight the fox until she is killed."'
9. '"I don't blame him one bit. If I was unlucky enough to be married to Mrs Snoddy, I would drink something a bit stronger than gin."
"What would you drink, Dad?"
"Poison," he said. "She's a frightful woman."'
10. 'His face was bright, his eyes big and bright and wonderful, and he was staring around him like a child who has just discovered that the whole world is made of chocolate.'
Famous Quotes from Roald Dahl Books
- 'This is a sizzling-hot muckfrumping country we is living in. Nothing grows in it except snozzcumbers. I would love to go somewhere else and pick peachy fruits in the early morning from the back of an elefunt.' - The BFG
- 'The difference lay in my father. A change had come over him. It wasn't a big change, but it was enough to make me certain that something was worrying him quite a lot.' - Danny, the Champion of the World
- 'Down vith children! Do them in! Boil their bones and fry their skin! Bish them, sqvish them, bash them, mash them! Brrreak them, shake them, slash them, smash them!' - The Witches
- 'The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, in it went.' - George's Marvellous Medicine
- 'He hadn't the faintest idea what it might be, but he could feel it in his bones that something was going to happen soon. He could feel it in the air around him... in the sudden stillness that had fallen upon the garden...' - James and the Giant Peach
- 'Charlie picked it up and tore off the wrapper... and suddenly... from underneath the wrapper... there came a brilliant flash of gold. "It's a Golden Ticket!" screamed the shopkeeper, leaping about a foot in the air.' - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- 'Do any of us children, she wondered, ever stop to ask ourselves where our teachers go when school is over for the day? Do we wonder if they live alone, or if there is a mother at home or a sister or a husband?' - Matilda