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updated 9/13/2006 12:37:08 PM ET 2006-09-13T16:37:08

Britain celebrated its first Roald Dahl Day on Wednesday to mark the 90th birthday of the much-loved author of children's classics "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Matilda" and "James and the Giant Peach."

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Children and parents across Britain participated with parties and book-readings this week to celebrate the writer, who died in 1990.

A special train ferried fans from London to Great Missenden, 35 miles west of the city, where Dahl lived for more than 30 years.

Guides from the Roald Dahl Museum conducted tours of the town, stopping to read passages from stories and pointed out landmarks that inspired scenes from Dahl's books, including the library where Matilda reads and Sophie's orphanage from the "BFG," the Big Friendly Giant.

"I think his stories are still very much contemporary and they haven't aged at all," said Isabelle Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the museum. "The enthusiasm of children and adults testifies he is still very much alive in people's imaginations."

Dahl's books, many of them darkly comic and featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters, have sold over 100 million copies.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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