I wrote a post for Roald Dahl Day last month on Why You’re Never Too Old to Read Children’s Books. I revealed that I had just finished reading Matilda and that it was my first Dahl book ever. (I know, I know!). So, now I’m working my way through the Roald Dahl Collection and for every three books I read, I’m going to let you know what I thought of them! I’ve now read Matilda, Esio Trot and The Twits and I must say that buying the box set was an excellent decision. (Perhaps one of the best I’ve made!). I’m loving them and very much enjoying the wit, the intelligence, the outrageous storylines, the terrifying characters, and the fangirlable ones (which, I have noticed, are very rarely the adults). I can see why many people love Quentin Blake’s illustrations and why so many children find the stories magical and unforgettable. And I can confirm you can still enjoy them as an adult!
Which Roald Dahl book does a book lover choose to read first? Why, Matilda of course! I adored the film adaptation and so I couldn’t wait to see how faithful it was to the book. I wasn’t disappointed; the horrid characters are just (if not more) horrid and the loveable ones are just as loveable. Matilda Wormwood, as we all know, is a highly intelligent young girl whose parents just do not appreciate her. I did not expect the book to be as dark as the film, but it’s even more so! Miss Honey’s story is even more upsetting: she’s poor and cannot afford furniture, food or heating, and Miss Trunchball held her head under bath water as a young child. (And the chokey is just as horrifying). I loved being able to read a story I had grown up with and I’d urge you to pick it up if you, like me, did not get to read it as an actual child. It was wonderful to become immersed into such a fantastic, magical story and read it in (nearly) one sitting.
Did you realise that Esio Trot was tortoise spelled backwards? I certainly didn’t. I can imagine a child being blown away by it when they reach that page! Esio Trot was the first Roald Dahl book I read yet knew nothing about before starting. I thought it would be a cute little story about a tortoise, but it’s actually fun and hilariously disturbing! I see people praising children’s books for being a little more daring and I can see why. Mr. Hoppy and Mrs. Silver are questionable and poor Alfie has done nothing to deserve such harsh treatment and neglect. Esio Trot makes you realise how irrational adults can be. I also felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment after finishing a book within half an hour… !
Tortoise, Tortoise get bigger, bigger. Come on Tortoise grow up, puff up, shoot up! Spring up, Blow up swell up! Gorge! Guzzle! Stuff! Gulp! Put on fat, Tortoise, Put on fat! get on, Get on! Gobble food!!
I had seen a lot of people say that The Twits was their favourite Roald Dahl book, but it was another I knew nothing about. The Twits are awful people who are dirty, disgusting and play nasty tricks on each other. But one day, the birds and the monkeys decide that enough is enough and begin to get their own back on the couple. I could not be more thankful that I did not start this book over lunch as I had planned to. (You’ll know why if you’ve read the first few page!s). It’s a traditional tale of triumph of good over evil, intelligence over stupidity, and er, monkeys over humans. It’s whimsical and silly and gave me a hunger for more Roald Dahl, but probably not spaghetti…
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
Have you read any of these Roald Dahl books recently? Let me know what you thought! Next up… The Witches?