Gremlin. It sounds mythological, like “gargoyle” or “griffin,” but it’s not. The Royal Naval Air Service created “gremlin” as recently as WWI, and jokingly used it to refer to little creatures that could cause mechanical problems in aircraft. Roald Dahl popularized the phrase in his book, The Gremlins: A Royal Airforce Story. Thank goodness he did — otherwise the masterpiece Gremlins movies might never have come to be.
Today is Roald Dahl Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of this prolific writer. Dahl would have been 95 years old today. And to celebrate, I thought I would take a look at The Gremlins, the first children's book Dahl in 1943 while he was still in the Royal Air Force.