Roald Dahl is a well-known children's author best recognised for such works as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach." His collection of parodies of popular fairy tales, titled "Revolting Rhymes," is a lesser-known but equally amusing and clever work. These poems can serve as an interesting medium for activities.
Other People Are Reading
One simple activity you can do with the book is read the poems out loud. This story-time approach can be livened by using different voices for characters and even acting out some scenes. For instance, the story of "Cinderella" has quotes from Cinderella, her fairy godmother, the prince and the wicked stepsisters. This activity is simple and does not require too much preparation.
Roald Dahl was a talented writer of metrical poetry, and more advanced students can benefit from learning how to analyse formal and metrical poetry. The story of "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" is written in couplets, or pairs of rhyming lines. You can do scansions of the strong and weak beats and identify the rhyme scheme. Dahl's poems are different in that they tell traditional fairy tales, but he often changes some of the plots, so as to keep you and your students guessing. You can also do an analysis of themes, discuss the tone, identify word choices and discuss the connotation and denotation of word choices and talk about the imagery.
You can discuss or write about comparing and contrasting Dahl's work to the fairy tales on which they are based. First doing some poetry analysis can help accomplish this task, as things like tone and word choice are often purposeful.
Write a Poem
After discussing Dahl's work, you can write your own poem based on a traditional story. "Revolting Rhymes" is a collection of parodies, so you can talk about the definition of a parody and write your own similar work. You may choose to make this activity more difficult by asking your writers to write in proper metrical form. You can ask younger individuals who do not write a poem to illustrate a poem instead.
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