In 2013 I recalled the joy of reading Fantastic Mr Fox three years earlier to my then ten-year-old son. Those were the golden days of parenting, when his bedtime ritual involved mum and dad taking turns to sit beside his bed and read aloud with him, putting on silly voices and acting out characters within the stories.
Mr Fox flattened his body against the ground and lay very still, his ears pricked. He waited a long time, but he heard nothing more.
‘It must have been a field-mouse,’ he told himself, ‘or some other small animal.’
He crept a little further out of the hole … then further still. He was almost right out in the open now. He took a last careful look around. The wood was murky and very still. Somewhere in the sky the moon was shining.
I chose these sentences at random from Chapter Three, The Shooting, but they serve to illustrate my point. Every word is needed, you can’t just skim read the sentences and get the same effect. And every word read aloud “feels” good in the mouth!
So have a hunt in a secondhand bookshop, buy yourself a new copy or download a Kindle version (as I did from Amazon.com after my Facebook timeline memory popped up). And then find a quiet place to read aloud or, better still, read it to your child at bedtime. I think like me, you’ll find reading Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox aloud is fantastic!
© 2017 Robert Fairhead
Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of a middle-aged dad and dog owner. Among other things, Robert is an editor and writer at Tall And True, an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers. In 2020, he published his first collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story (available from Amazon).