Fantastic Mr Fox: Facts About the Roald Dahl Book

Here are some facts about Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl.

  • Fantastic Mr Fox was first published in the UK in 1970 by George Allen & Unwin, and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf.

  • It first came out in paperback in 1974.
  • Several artists have illustrated the different versions of Fantastic Mr Fox over the years, including: Quentin Blake, Tony Ross, Donald Chaffin and Jill Bennett.
  • In 2009, the book was made into a film directed by Wes Anderson, and featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Michael Gambon and Owen Wilson.
  • Fantastic Mr Fox has also been adapted for the stage and turned into an opera.
  • When Wes Anderson was writing the Fantastic Mr Fox movie script he spent a lot of time at Roald Dahl’s home in Buckinghamshire. Dahl’s widow allowed him to look at Dahl’s writing shed and the gypsy caravan he kept in his garden.

  • The book is said to have been inspired by the ‘Witches’ Tree’, an old tree that grew close to his home in Great Missenden. Roald Dahl always used to tell his children that a family of foxes lived under the tree, in a hole beneath the trunk. Unfortunately, the tree is no longer standing.
  • In the book, Mr and Mrs Fox aren’t given first names, but in the film version, Mrs Fox is called Felicity after Roald Dahl’s widow.
  • The pub that Roald Dahl used to drink in, ‘The Nag’s Head’, appears in the Fantastic Mr Fox movie.

What next? Discover more facts about Roald Dahl and his books.

The BFG: Facts About the Roald Dahl Book

Here are some facts about Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

  • BFG is an acronym for Big Friendly Giant.
  • The BFG was first published by Jonathan Cape in 1982.

  • The book was illustrated by Quentin Blake.
  • Roald Dahl dedicated the book to his daughter, Olivia, who died of in 1962 at the age of 7.
  • The book was turned into an animated TV movie in 1989. David Jason voiced the BFG.
  • In 2016, Stephen Spielberg directed a live-action movie adaptation starring Mark Rylance as the BFG.
  •  The character BFG first appeared in Danny, the Champion of the World as a character in a bedtime story told to Danny by his father.
  • In the first drafts of the story, the character of Sophie was called Jody. He changed the name, naming the character after his grand-daughter, Sophie Dahl.

  • The language spoken by the BFG is called gobblefunk. Roald Dahl created more than 200 words and phrases for the BFG to say.
  • Roald Dahl liked The BFG more than most of his other books.
  • The BFG’s shoes were based on Norwegian sandals worn by Roald Dahl.
  • It is thought that the BFG character was partly inspired by Roald Dahl’s builder, Wally Saunders.
  • The BFG has been adapted for the stage by David Wood.
  • The book has sold more than 35 million copies.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Facts About the Roald Dahl Book

Here are some facts about Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published by Alfred A. Knopf in the US in 1964. The first UK edition was published by George Allen & Unwin in 1967.

  • Roald Dahl loved chocolate and, as a child,  he used to receive packages from Cadbury for him to taste and then give them his opinions about the new chocolate bars.
  • In the UK version of the book, Charlie Bucket finds a 50p coin in the snow. In the US version, he finds a $1 bill.
  • J. K. Rowling named Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as one of her ten books every child should read.
  • The book has twice been made into a movie. In 1971, with the title Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder played the role of Willy Wonka. In 2005, Tim Burton directed another movie based on the book, starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. There are many differences between the film versions and the Roald Dahl book itself.
  • The book has also been adapted for the stage on numerous occasions, been turned into a radio play, been the subject of several video games, and the inspiration for a 2006 ride at Alton Towers.
  • The completed first draft of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was much longer then the final version of the book. Several scenes were removed and many characters were changed or left out completely.

  • Some of the children who never appeared in the finished book are: Wilbur Rice, Tommy Troutbeck, Miranda Mary Piker, Augustus Pottle, Elivira Entwhistle, Clarence Crump and Bertie Upside.
  • Several rooms and sweets of the chocolate factory only appear in the early drafts of the book. These are: Spotty Powder (a sweet that gives you spots for a few hours so that you can get the day off school), The Vanilla Fudge Room, The Warming Candy Room and The Children’s-Delight Room.
  • The book sold 10,000 copies in the US in its first week of release.
  •  The Ooompa-Loompas were called Whipple-Scrumpets in one oft he book’s early drafts.
  • Quaker Oats released the Wonka Bar to coincide with the release of the 1971 film.
  • A sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released in 1972.It was called Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Roald Dahl started to write the third book in the series, Charlie in the White House, but is wasn’t completed before his death in 1990.
  • The story grew from a bedtime story Roald Dahl told his eldest children, Tess and Olivia.
  • Willy Wonka was originally named Mr. Ritchie.
  • It is believed that Roald Dahl threw out the very first draft of the book after his nephew told him it was rubbish.
  • Roald Dahl wanted Maurice Sendak to illustrate the book, but he was too busy. The book ended up being illustrated by Quentin Blake.

How many books did Roald Dahl write?

Roald Dahl wrote novels for both children and adults. He also wrote poetry and works of non-fiction.

Below is a Roald Dahl bibliography, divided into different categories.

Children’s Fiction by Roald Dahl

  1. The Gremlins
  2. James and the Giant Peach
  3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  4. The Magic Finger
  5. Fantastic Mr Fox
  6. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
  7. Danny, the Champion of the World
  8. The Enormous Crocodile
  9. The Twits
  10. George’s Marvellous Medicine
  11. The BFG
  12. The Witches
  13. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
  14. Matilda
  15. Esio Trot
  16. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke
  17. The Minpins (published in 1991, after Roald Dahl’s death)

Children’s Poetry by Roald Dahl

  1. Revolting Rhymes
  2. Dirty Beasts
  3. Rhyme Stew

Novels for Adults by Roald Dahl

  1. Sometime Never: A Fable for Supermen
  2. My Uncle Oswald

Short Stories by Roald Dahl

  1. Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying
  2. Someone Like You
  3. Lamb to the Slaughter
  4. Kiss Kiss
  5. Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl
  6. Switch Bitch
  7. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More
  8. The Best of Roald Dahl
  9. Tales of the Unexpected
  10. More Tales of the Unexpected
  11. Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories
  12. The Roald Dahl Omnibus
  13. Two Fables
  14. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl
  15. The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl
  16. The Roald Dahl Treasury
  17. The Great Automatic Grammatizator
  18. Skin and Other Stories
  19. Roald Dahl Collected Stories

Non-Fiction by Roald Dahl

  1. The Mildenhall Treasure
  2. Boy: Tales of Childhood
  3. Going Solo
  4. Measles, a Dangerous Illness
  5. Memories with Food at Gipsy House
  6. Roald Dahl’s Guide to Railway Safety
  7. My Year

Roald Dahl also wrote plays and film-scripts.

So, to answer the original question, Roald Dahl wrote 17 children’s novels and 20 books for children in total. In total he has published 48 books (not including published screenplays and plays). This total does include treasuries and collected works and books published after his death. The total will continue to grow as his work is published and repackaged in different forms in the years to come.