What I love most about this story is how it is truly terrifying, but also totally cheerful. I can see why Dahl is my daughter’s very favorite author of all time. She is a sunny, happy little child with a profound morbid streak. Case in point – she repeatedly checks out the same book on torture from the library week after week, but will become inconsolable over the thought of *anyone* having hurt feelings. And I think that she is fairly typical, but I think many children are ‘encouraged’ to suppress their more macabre leanings to appease the adults around them. Dahl and a handful of other authors got this – that children are simultaneously light and dark and that these two ideas don’t have to be at odds with one another.