I used to have the tapes of Roald Dahl and listen to them repeatedly until they didn't work anymore! I think the variety and the strength of the characters Dahl created were the real draw to his books. They always seemed a bit mischievous - whether it was Danny and his father or George and his horrible Grandma!
The Redwall series from Brian Jacques was and still is a favourite of mine. As the book is based on talking animals, the stories completely take you into a different world where you can imagine yourself being part of Abbey life with the moles, mice and rabbits or battling with the evil rats and foxes to protect the good folk of the forests!