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October Members-only Session: “The Great Mouse Plot”

Published on
October 27, 2022
Updated on
November 15, 2022
min read
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Written by
Alastair Budge

For our October members-only session we read an extract from Roald Dahl’s memoirs, Boy: Tales of Childhood. It was an amazing session where we talked about childhood, evil adults, and the experiences that shaped this iconic children’s writer.

October Members-only Session: “The Great Mouse Plot”
Table of contents

Roald Dahl is one of the most loved and admired children’s writers in the English-speaking world. He is responsible for classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, and his books have been translated into 58 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies.

In his 1984 memoirs, Boy: Tales of Childhood, he recounts a particularly memorable episode from his life.

In this extract from his memoirs, Dahl tells the story of a prank he and his friends played on the owner of a sweetshop, Mrs Pratchett.

Roald Dahl – The Great Mouse Plot

It is a hilarious and mischievous tale, which gives us a glimpse into the imagination and mischievousness of the young Roald Dahl.

So, what better topic for our conversation session?

In this session, everyone had been provided with the text and some questions to think about beforehand.

We split into small groups and talked about our first impressions of the extract, about how Roald Dahl thought about the differences between children and adults, and his writing style.

Here are some questions I asked people to think about.

📖 First impressions

  • Did you enjoy reading this extract?
  • What did you find difficult to understand?
  • Did you learn any interesting new vocabulary?
  • If you are familiar with later Roald Dahl books, can you see any elements of this story where he might have got inspiration?
  • If you read only the extract, were you curious about the rest of the book? Would you like to read it all?

😈 Evil adults

  • Why do you think the boys decide to play this trick on Mrs Pratchett?
  • Did she deserve it?
  • How do you think the punishment affected Roald Dahl?
  • Do you have childhood memories of evil adults like Mrs Pratchett?

👦 Childhood memories

  • Who do you think Roald Dahl is writing the story for?
  • Do you think this is a happy memory for Roald Dahl?
  • Did you play any tricks like this in your childhood?
  • Who do you think Roald Dahl is writing the story for?
  • Do you think this is a happy memory for Roald Dahl?
  • Did you play any tricks like this in your childhood?
  • He wrote Boy when he was 68. How do you think this affected the account?

I learned a lot, and it was certainly a fascinating hour, and it seems like lots of people will be keen on reading the rest of the book now.

If you're a member of Leonardo English, keep a lookout for the next session.

And if you're not yet a member but this sounds like fun, I'd love for you to check out our membership options.

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