When kids start reading their first stories and books, parents usually jump to a Roald Dahl book first. Although Dahl’s fictional world’s filled with memorable characters, there are also more serious issues and scary moments that might scare children. So, are all Roald Dahl books suitable for kids seven and under?
Some books by Roald Dahl are suitable for kids seven and under, such as The Magic Finger, Fantastic Mr. Fox, or Esio Trot. However,some books by Roald Dahl tackle sad, scary, or more abstract topics, so they’re more suitable for kids over seven. Matilda’s one example of such a book.
In this article, I’ll discuss the most suitable age range for reading Roald Dahl books. I’ll also mention specific books your seven-year-olds (or younger) would enjoy reading. They should avoid some books if they’re too young, so I’ll mention those also.
Although parents quickly grab any Roald Dahl books from their shelf when their kid starts showing the slightest traces of literacy, not all books are suitable for the early age. Parents across the internet discuss and debate if their kids should read anything by Roald Dahl because of the dark themes and anti-semitic views.
Some parents think there’s nothing wrong with their five-year-old reading a Dahl book, while others believe five’s too young for any Dahl book. It all depends on the type of book and the topics covered. Therefore, the best age range for Roald Dahl’s books ranges from six to twelve.
Children nowadays start learning how to read and write when they’re four. It’s a long process that usually takes around two years to master. During that time, four and five-year-olds usually only know how to recognize some sounds and scribble their names. When they’re six, they can start reading shorter stories and books.
The best Roald Dahl’s books for five and six-year-olds should:
- Be short.
- Have illustrations.
- Have an audiobook option (optional).
The age range for Roald Dahl’s books also depends on the themes he covered. Dahl wrote everything from funny stories to sad and scary events, and parents should ensure their kids aren’t too young for some more serious books.
Common themes Dahl tackled in his books include:
- The power of friendships
- The love for learning and reading
- Good vs. evil
- Anger and hate issues
Younger readers would only read about the first three sets of themes. The more serious topics (the last four) are reserved for the ages 7-12. So, while some Roald Dahl books are suitable for kids seven or under, that’s not the case with every book by this author.
Let’s see some books kids seven and under can read and enjoy.
This is a fable about a sly fox who steals food from nearby farmers for his family. When the farmers occupy their hill, Mr. Fox and his animal friends have to save the day. It’s a fun story filled with amazing characters and amusing episodes.
This book will teach young readers about the importance of family and make them laugh simultaneously.
The Magic Finger‘s one of Dahl’s most celebrated books for younger readers. It tells a story of a girl with a magic finger. With it, she punishes the Gregg family, who likes hunting and killing animals. When they turn into animals, they’re made to see how cruel they are to the animals. By the end of the book, they start caring for birds and destroy their weapons.
This book has funny episodes and important lessons like caring for animals.
This book‘s perfect for six-year-olds who like animals. When Billy meets a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey, they start a window-cleaning company. However, the animals start to get hungry since they need specific food. When they go to clean the windows of a duke, they become the main heroes who catch a burglar there.
It’s a funny book filled with amazing characters. The book can teach readers about the importance of friendship and how good deeds pay off in the end.
If your kid loves giraffes, check my article 9 Best Kids’ Books About Giraffes to see what other books feature these fantastic animals.
Your five and six-year-old will love everything about this book (consider reading it to them or playing an audiobook). The main premise is a love story between two older people. Mr. Hoppy’s funny plan, which involves switching tortoises of his love interest Mrs. Silver will make every child laugh. Plus, there’s a play on words that the kids will appreciate.
Although the books below are among the most memorable titles in children’s literature, parents and teachers shouldn’t give them to readers who are seven or under. Apart from serious topics and sometimes even disturbing themes, these books are longer and require better comprehension of abstract notions.
Roald Dahl’s books kids seven and under shouldn’t read until older (8+) include:
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The story deals with Charlie, who’s extremely poor. It’s an overwhelmingly sad story (at the beginning) that younger readers could find disturbing. Also, there were issues with the representation of Oompa Loompas.
- Matilda: This book has plenty of sad moments in the story. Although the main message is powerful, the headmistress’s and Matilda’s parents’ acts of abuse and scary representation might scare younger children.
- James and the Giant Peach: This is a story most kids would find terrifying. A rhinoceros eats James’s parents, and his aunts verbally and physically abuse him.
- The Witches: The main character’s (no name) parents die in this story. The story’s also about scary-looking witches who want to turn small kids into mice. Many children would find this book terrifying.
Roald Dahl wrote many more books for almost every age group. So, check my article How Many Books Did Roald Dahl Write? to see the list of all Dahl’s books in one place.
Some Roald Dahl books suitable for kids who’re seven and under include:
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- The Magic Finger
- The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
- Esio Trot
You should avoid reading some Roald Dahl books to kids who’re seven or under because of their more serious topics, such as:
- Anger and hate issues
These topics are covered in the following Dahl’s works:
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- James and the Giant Peach
- The Witches
- CNN Opinion: Why I Hope My Kids Never Read Roald Dahl
- BBC: What Is the Best Age to Learn to Read?
- KidsHealth: Reading Milestones
- Goodreads: Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Goodreads: The Magic Finger
- Goodreads: The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
- Goodreads: Esio Trot
- The Conversation: From Pygmies to Puppets: What to o with Roald Dahl’s Enslaved Oompa-Loompas in Modern Adaptations?
- U.S. News: When Do Kids Learn to Read?
- Tutor Doctor: Roald Dahl Books: Our Picks for Each Age Group
- The School Reading List: Recommended Reading List Books for Year 3 Pupils Aged 7-8
- The School Reading List: Recommended Reading List Books for Year 2 Pupils Aged 6-7
- The School Reading List: Books for 7 Year Olds
- The School Reading List: Books for 6 Year Olds
- The Guardian: Is Roald Dahl’s Matilda Too Grown-up for a Five-Year-Old?
- everyday mamas: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Roald Dahl
- Mumsnet: Children’s Books