Roald Dahl has been a household name for decades since he turned his writing to children’s stories in the 1960s. He has been welcomed into many homes as we turn down for the night; pyjamas on and under the duvets, we go for one of his signature darkly comic tales.

Here we will run through Roald Dahl’s top books, according to search data, and the beloved characters we have come to know.


Released last in his career, Matilda was published in 1988. However, it has gone on to be his most successful book. With 110,000 average monthly searches as of 11th August 2022, Matilda remains Dahl’s most popular book.

The amazing tale of a young girl with telekinetic powers inspired the imaginations of many children, and her love for books only goes on to further our passion for his work. Matilda has incredible intelligence, but her family doesn’t care for it. However, through the loving heart of Miss Honey, she finds her place – with a bit of mischief along the way.

It’s not a surprise that this book has been adapted for stage and screen, considering its success on many of our bookshelves. And with iconic characters such as Miss Trunchbull, it is no wonder we can see it at the top of our list.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

With iconic characters such as Grandpa Joe, Augustus Gloop, and Veruca Salt, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a wonder for all ages.

Focused on the magical science of Willy Wonka’s candy creations, it is easy to see why any child would be excited by this story. From the intrigue of the mysterious Wonka to the comedic Oompa Loompas and the likeable protagonist, this novel is hard to resist. It is no wonder that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory receives on average 90,500 searches a month, making it Roald Dahl’s second most popular children’s book.

Another creation for the screen, we have seen multiple adaptations of this book into cinematic works. Whether your preference is Gene Wilder, Johnny Depp, or the writing, the story still thrives with the same sugar-rushed energy.

Fantastic Mr Fox

Thriving with animalistic instinct and wit, Fantastic Mr Fox is the tale of treachery, endangerment, and chicken. This sits third on our list with an average monthly total of 60,500 searches.

When Mr Fox decides to steal from his neighbour’s farm, he finds himself at the end of a foxhunt. We get to go on the journey of stealth as Mr Fox outwits Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.

This was turned into an animated film in 2009 with stars such as George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

The Witches

And what is a Roald Dahl book line-up without a dose of wickedness? Published in the early 1980s and set in England and Norway, The Witches is a dark fantasy novel that inspires fear and intrigue.

The Witches is a horror story for the ages as it repeatedly appears in horror story lists, even after three decades. And with a wicked 49,500 searches on average a month, it sits comfortably as Dahl’s fourth most popular book. Who wouldn’t fear the child-hating, squared-feet witches?

The horror and wonder of this novel made it perfect for movie adaptation where we can see children turn you into mice!

James and the Giant Peach

Last in our list is James and the Giant Peach with 22,200 average searches a month.

This tale offers gruesome imagery, a climate with an intense rescue mission carried out by some birds, and a happy ending. When James is orphaned and left to the care of his horrible aunties, he seeks friendship with bugs living inside of a giant peach. With this peach, they go on a long adventure to New York City.

This became a stop-motion animation picture created in 1996.

Dahl has brought joy and comedy to many of us. Whether we grew up reading his work or are now reading it to our children, his stories of large objects, magic, and talking animals are timeless creations. It is no wonder so many have been adapted for the big screen.

Roald Dahl’s stories are all about escaping bad situations for better ones. From the orphaned James to the poverty of the Bucket family, even the darkest moments are brightened by creativity and friendship. And this is not an extensive list. Dahl wrote many more tales which have inspired generations of readers, from The Enormous Crocodile and The BFG to Esio Trot.