ByElise Jost, writer at
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!" Twitter @elisejost
Elise Jost

The Days of the Year will range from the random to plain weird — September 17 is Apple Dumpling Day and September 18 is Hug A Greeting Card Writer Day — but some will actually give you reason to celebrate. Take the Roald Dahl Day today: While it's not like we'd need any justification to love this iconic author, there's nothing like allowing yourself a nostalgic day of diving back into your old library classics.

But although most of us have read or seen the movie adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach, some books are much less known. Still, they deserve your attention, and the plots, whether dark or hilarious, would work fantastically on screen. So while we wait for the DVD release of this year's The BFG, check out these 5 underrated Roald Dahl books, and see if you can picture them as movies.

See also:

1. Lamb to the Slaughter, 1953

This short story is based on a simple yet chilling idea: A wife murders her husband with a lamb chop, and serves the lamb to the detectives who came to investigate the case. Their attempts to find the murder weapon are in vain. While it was already adapted into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock's TV series in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, it could very well work as a thriller, with more time to explore the wife's character and her relationship with her husband.

Fan casting: Margot Robbie as Mary Maloney, the wife, for her ability to play cute and crazy at the same time

Margot Robbie in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' / Universal Pictures
Margot Robbie in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' / Universal Pictures

2. My Uncle Oswald, 1979

Some of Dahl's stories are scary, but the reason this one's just not meant for the kids is different. Oswald Hendryks Cornelius is attractive, rich, and partly as a consequence of these two things, he sleeps with a lot of people — in fact, he believes himself to be "the greatest fornicator of his time." Along with his partner in crime Yasmin Howcomely, they collect sperm from the wealthiest and most intelligent people on the planet in hopes of selling it to rich single ladies. It's like James Bond with an inverted action-to-sex-scenes ratio.

Fan casting: Mad Men's Jon Hamm as Oswald, for his seasoned charm and businessman appeal

Jon Hamm in 'Mad Men' / AMC
Jon Hamm in 'Mad Men' / AMC

3.The Minpins, 1991

Published after Dahl's death in 1990, The Minpins is a classic children's adventure with monsters whose names you'll find it hard to pronounce and magical creatures living in the forest. A boy named Billy meets the Minpins, tiny people living in trees, and helps them defeat the monster they fear most. There's a bit of The BFG to it, but mostly it might remind you of Studio Ghibli's Arrietty, which itself was adapted from The Borrowers.

4. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, 1991

Robert Lee has been appointed vicar of Nibbleswicke, but he suffers from a strange condition: He always says the most important word of his sentence backwards, and the people of his parish are shocked by his statements. He does find a cure, but there's some great comedic potential in this story.

Fan casting: Steve Carrell, for his skill in playing clumsy and funny characters

Steve Carrell in 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' / Warner Bros.
Steve Carrell in 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' / Warner Bros.

5. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, 1985

Little Billy dreams of opening a candy shop, but the building he'd set his sights on is soon invested by the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company, whose employees are a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. Still, they become friends, and get involved together in a crazy crime-stopping adventure. If you don't want to see a pelican holding a burglar captive in his beak, then I'm afraid I don't know what you want!

For more Roald Dahl magic, check out this behind-the-scenes video of Gene Wilder in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

What's your favorite Roald Dahl story? Book or movie?


Latest from our Creators