James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

When poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced  to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. After three years he becomes    “the saddest and loneliest boy you could find”. Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever. When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts’ withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion. From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life. James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider and Centipede–each with his or her own song to sing. Roald Dahl’s rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again! We’ll just come right out and say it … James and the Giant Peach is one of the finest children’s books ever written.

Plot : James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

When he was only four years old, James Henry Trotter, who lived in a pretty and bright cottage by the sea in the south of England, went on a holiday to the capital with his loving parents, but his mother and father were gobbled up by a rampaging rhinoceros that had escaped from London Zoo before it was recaptured. After the death of his parents, James was forced to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge, who lived in a high, desolate hill near the white cliffs of Dover. For three years Spiker and Sponge physically and verbally abused James, not allowing him to venture beyond the hill or play with other children. Around the house James is treated as a drudge, beaten for hardly any reason, improperly fed, and forced to sleep on bare floorboards in the attic.

One summer afternoon when he is crying in the bushes, James stumbles across a mysterious yet friendly wizard, who understands James’ situation and gives him a sack of tiny glowing-green magic crystals that he promises will bring happiness if dissolved in water and drank. On the way back to the house, James trips up and spills the sack onto the peach tree outside his home, which had previously never given fruit. The tree becomes enchanted through the crystals, and begins to blossom; indeed a certain peach grows to the size of a large house. The aunts discover this and make money off the giant peach while keeping James locked away. At night the aunts shove James outside to collect rubbish from the crowd, but instead he curiously ventures inside a juicy, fleshy tunnel which leads to the hollow stone in the middle of the cavernous fruit. Entering the stone, James discovers a band of rag-tag anthropomorphic insects, also transformed by the magic.

James quickly befriends the insect inhabitants of the peach, who become central to the plot and James’ companions in his adventure. The insects loathe the aunts and their hilltop home as much as James, and they were waiting for him to join them so they can escape together. The Centipede bites through the stem of the peach with his powerful jaws, releasing it from the tree, and it begins to roll down the hill, flattening Spiker and Sponge to death as it goes. Inside the stone the inhabitants cheer as they feel the peach rolling over the aunts. The peach rolls through villages, houses, and a famous chocolate factory before falling off the cliffs and into the sea. The peach floats in the English channel, but quickly drifts away from civilization and into the expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Hours later, not far from the Azores, the peach is attacked by a swarm of hundreds of sharks. Using the blind Earthworm as bait, the ever resourceful James and the other inhabitants of the peach lure over five hundred seagulls to the peach from the nearby islands. The seagulls are then tied to the broken stem of the fruit using spiderwebs from the Spider and strings of white silk from the Silkworm. The mass of seagulls does indeed lift the giant peach into the air and away from the sharks, although the peach is barely damaged in the incident.

As the seagulls strain to get away from the giant peach, they merely carry it higher and higher, and the seagulls take the giant peach great distances. The Centipede entertains with ribald dirges to Sponge and Spiker, but in his excitement he falls off the peach into the ocean and has to be rescued by James. That night, thousands of feet in the air, the giant peach floats through mountain-like, moonlit clouds. There the inhabitants of the peach see a group of magical ghost-like figures living within the clouds, “Cloud-Men”, who control the weather. As the Cloud-Men gather up the cloud in their hands to form hailstones and snowballs to throw down to the world below, the loud-mouthed Centipede berates the Cloud-Men for making snowy weather in the summertime. Angered, an army of Cloud-Men appear from the cloud and pelt the giant peach with hail so fiercely and powerfully that the peach is severely damaged, with entire chunks taken out of it, and the giant fruit begins leaking its peach juice. All of this shrinks the peach somewhat, although because it is now lighter the seagulls are able to pull it quicker through the air. As the seagulls strain to get away from the Cloud-Men, the giant peach smashes through an unfinished rainbow the Cloud-Men were preparing for dawn, infuriating them even further. One Cloud-Man almost gets on the peach by climbing down the silken strings tied to the stem, but James asks the Centipede to bite through some of the strings. When he does a single freed seagull, to which the Cloud-Man is hanging from, is enough the carry him away from the peach as Cloud-Men are weightless.

As the sun rises, the inhabitants of the giant peach see glimmering skyscrapers peeking above the clouds, and a sprawling urban city far below them. The inhabitants of Manhattan see the giant peach suspended in the air by a swarm of hundreds of seagull, and panic, believing it to be a floating, orange-coloured, spherical nuclear bomb. The military, police, fire and rescue services are all called out, and people begin running to air raid shelters and the New York Subway, believing the city is a about to be destroyed. A huge passenger airplane flies past the giant peach, almost hitting it, and severing the silken strings between the seagulls and the peach. The seagulls free, the peach begins to fall to the ground, but it is saved when it is impaled upon the spike at the top of the Empire State Building. The people on the observation deck at first believe the inhabitants of the giant peach to be monsters or Martians, but when James appears from within the skewered peach and explains his story, the people hail James and his insect friends as heroes. They are given a welcoming home parade, and James gets what he wanted for three long years – playmates in the form of millions of potential new childhood friends. The skewered, battered remains of the giant peach are brought down to the streets by steeplejacks, where its delicious flesh is eaten up by ten thousand children, all now James’ friends. Meanwhile, the peach’s other former residents, the anthropomorphic insects, all go on to find very interesting futures in the world of humans…

In the last chapter of the book, it is revealed that the giant hollowed-out stone which had once been at the center of the peach is now a mansion located in Central Park. James Henry Trotter lives out the rest of his life in the giant peach stone, which becomes an open tourist attraction and the ever-friendly James has all the friends he has ever wanted. Occasionally one of his friends visits: the Old-Green-Grasshopper would pop by and rest in the armchair by the fire with a brandy, or the Ladybug would pop in for a cup of tea and a gossip, or the Centipede to show off a new batch of particularly elegant boots that he had just acquired. Always imaginative and creative, James becomes a successful author, writing his story in James and the Giant Peach – “the book you have just read!”

* James Henry Trotter – The protagonist of the book, a seven year old orphaned boy who is forced into the care of his repulsive and abusive aunts, Spiker and Sponge, after his parents are killed by a rhinoceros. He wants nothing more than to have friends and playmates, which his aunts deny him, which is worse to James than the abuse they give him. His wish is granted in the form of the magical, anthropomorphic insects he meets in the giant peach, and at the end of his adventure, he gets more than he wished for in the form of millions of playmates in New York City. Something of a dreamer, James is nonetheless clever and ever-resourceful throughout his adventure in the giant peach, and his intuitive plans save his life on more than one occasion and those of his anthropomorphic insect friends.

* The Old Man – A friendly yet mysterious wizard who is only seen once, yet is ultimately behind all of magical occurrences in the book, and also starts the adventure when he gives James a bag full of glowing green alligator tongues. It is these magical items which enchant the giant peach and its insect inhabitants, allowing James to begin his surreal journey and escape his evil aunts in the process. The wizard is not seen again after his encounter with James. However in the 1996 re-printing of the book, with illustrations by Lane Smith, the mysterious old man can be seen in the final illustration hiding amongst the New York City crowd.

* Aunt Spiker – A dominating, cruel, malicious, and thoroughly repulsive lady, who derives a sadistic pleasure in manipulating and tormenting young James, who she sees as nothing more than a slave. Spiker is described as tall and thin – almost emaciated – with steel glasses. She meets her end when she is crushed to death as the giant peach rolls over her.

* Aunt Sponge – A lazy, greedy, selfish,and morbidly fat woman, and equally as cruel and repulsive as her sister Spiker. Sponge is more or less dominated by Aunt Spiker, but attempts to save her own life instead of Spiker when she sees the giant peach rolling towards her. Nonetheless they trip up over each other and meet the same end.

* The Centipede – An anthropomorphic male centipede, depicted as a boisterous rascal with a good heart, he is perhaps James’ closest friend among the insects, taking an almost brotherly role to the boy. He is generally optimistic and even brave yet also loud-mouthed and rash, which gets himself and his companions into some bad situations, but his powerful jaws also save them on a few occasions. It was the Centipede who set the peach in motion by biting through the stem which connected it to the peach tree. The Centipede has an ego for many things including being the only actual pest of the group and his number of legs (he claims to have a hundred, but as his nemesis the Earthworm points out, he actually has only forty-two). He often asks for help with putting on his many boots, or taking them off, or shining them. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that he becomes Vice-President-in-Charge-of-Sales of a high-class firm of boot and shoe manufacturers. The 1996 movie adaptation has a different future for the Centipede; in the film, he runs for mayor of New York City, stating “Brooklyn boy promises the moon, and then some.”

* The Earthworm – An anthropomorphic male earthworm who is more or less enemies with the Centipede, with whom he frequently argues. The Earthworm is depicted as a much less physical character than the Centipede, and with a much more bleak and pessimistic outlook which causes much of the trouble between him and the more jovial Centipede. The Earthworm is paranoid and has an extreme phobia of birds – although being an Earthworm, this phobia is not unfounded. He is also blind (having no eyes, like any earthworm), and often imagines that things are worse than they really are. The Earthworm does however become an unwitting hero when he begrudgingly saves himself and the other inhabitants of the peach. They use him as bait to lure in over five hundred seagulls, which are then tied to the stem and used to hoist the peach out of the sea and away from sharks. The Earthworm is not without a warm, affectionate side; he is seen to get along well with James. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that he becomes the face of a major women’s face cream company due to his smooth, pink, featureless skin. After this the Earthworm becomes something of a celebrity and appears on commercials and on television. A newspaper cutting at the end of the 1996 movie adaptation shows the Earthworm in an advert as a smooth spokesman for skin cream, wearing Stevie Wonder-type blind glasses with two attractive women standing by.

* The Old Green Grasshopper – An anthropomorphic male grasshopper, his personality has aspects of both the Centipede and the Earthworm, although he is generally more sophisticated (and certainly more optimistic than the Earthworm). The Old Green Grasshopper takes something of a fatherly role to James and is depicted as elderly, although he loves life more than the rest of the inhabitants of the peach and is a passionate musician, playing a violin from his own legs and providing music for his companions. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that he becomes a member of the New York Symphony Orchestra where his playing is greatly admired. A newspaper cutting at the end of the 1996 movie adaptation exclaims “Grasshopper Debuts: Phenomenal four-handed fiddling: 20 minute standing ovation for Brahms violin concerto.”

* The Ladybug – A good-natured, motherly anthropomorphic female ladybug who takes care of James as if he were her son. She explains that the more black spots a ladybug has on the red shell, the more respectable and intelligent they are, and having nine spots, she is therefore very respectable and intelligent. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that the Ladybug, who had been haunted all her life by the fear that her house was on fire and her children all gone, married the head of the New York Fire Department and lived happily ever after with him. In the 1996 movie adaptation, the Labybug becomes a well-recommended maternity nurse, and a newspaper clipping has the headline “Dr Ladybug delivers 1000th baby: Expectant mothers love Ladybug: Baby boom kids in expert hands”, and tells that she is pioneering new techniques.

* Miss Spider – An anthropomorphic female spider not unlike the Ladybug in personality and generally friendly and decent in manner, although she is described by Dahl as having a “large, black and murderous-looking head, which to a stranger was probably the most terrifying of all”. She has particular resentment towards Spiker and Sponge – especially Sponge, who is responsible for the cruel deaths of Miss Spider’s father and grandmother. Miss Spider makes hammocks using her webs for the rest of the insects to sleep in (the Earthworm uses a much longer bed then the rest). Her webs are very strong and it is her webs, along with silk from the Silkworm, which tie the flock of seagulls to the stem of the giant peach and enable it to be lifted out of the sea and into the air, escaping the sharks. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that Miss Spider, along with the Silkworm, learns to make nylon thread instead of silk, and they set up a factory together and make ropes for tightrope walkers. In the 1996 movie adaptation (in which Miss Spider is a more youthful, sultry version of her counterpart in the novel), Miss Spider becomes an exotic dancer and singer at jazz clubs, and even opens her own, the Spider Club, in a lavish opening where she performs.

* The Glowworm – A six-legged, anthropomorphic female glowworm, she quietly hangs from the ceiling in the hollowed-out stone at the center of the giant peach and provides lighting for the interior of the fruit in the form of a bright green bioluminescence. An incessantly sleepy character, she doesn’t speak often and is slow to move. In the last chapter of the book and after the destruction of the peach, it is revealed that she becomes the light inside the torch on the Statue of Liberty, and thus saved a grateful city from having to pay a huge electricity bill every year. Her ending is exactly the same in the 1996 movie adaptation.

* The Silkworm – An anthropomorphic silkworm who is a shy, introverted creature that sleeps most of the time, but can easily be woken up in order to weave beautiful, very fine yet strong silk patterns. In the original 1960s printings, the Silkworm was male, but in the early 1990s reprints, the Silkworm is female. It is the Silkworm’s threads which help James to save the Centipede when he falls off the peach, thousands of feet in the air, while dancing. The character of the Silkworm is omitted from the 1996 movie adaptation.

References in the book to other Roald Dahl works : James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach possibly references Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the beginning and end of the novel. When the peach rolls off the tree, it rolls through a “famous chocolate factory”, possibly a reference to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (the illustration even depicts the word “WONKA” on the side of the building). Towards the end of the book, people in New York City accuse the passengers aboard the peach to be Whangdoodles, Snozzwangers, Hornswogglers or even Vermicious Knids. All of those animals (except the last) are mentioned by Willy Wonka to live in Loompaland, which is also the home of Oompa-Loompas. Vermicious Knids are extraterrestrials, and feature in the sequel book, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Film version : James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

Although Roald Dahl turned down more than one offer to make an animated film of James and the Giant Peach during his lifetime, his widow, Liccy Dahl, consented to let a film adaptation be made in conjunction with Disney in the mid-1990s.[1] It was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, who both also had worked on the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas which was also a Disney project. The movie is a combination of live action and stop-motion due to costs.[2] It was narrated by Pete Postlethwaite (who also played the wizard). The film was released in 1996.

There are numerous changes in the plot of the film from the plot of the book, although the film was generally well received. Liccy Dahl said that, “I think Roald would have been delighted with what they did with James.”[1] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, praising the animated part, but calling the live-action segments “crude.”[3] The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (by Randy Newman). It won Best Animated Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

ISBN Number : James and the Giant Peach Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-14-037156-7 (paperback, 1995)
* ISBN 1-55734-441-8 (paperback, 1994)
* ISBN 0-14-034269-9 (paperback, 1990)
* ISBN 0-394-81282-4 (hardcover, 1961)
* ISBN 0-394-81282-9 (library binding, 1961)


03 2010

The Minpins Book by Roald Dahl

The Minpins Book by Roald DahlBook Review : The Minpins Book by Roald Dahl

Someday someone will write a book that begins with a mother forbidding her child to enter the deep dark woods and ends with that child achieving incredible success without ever setting a toe in the forbidden forest. But not this book. Here, Billy’s mom issues a few scary warnings about the woods to her son–”Beware! Beware! The Forest of Sin! None come out, but many go in!”–turns her back for a second, and the next thing you know the devil shows up and whispers something to Bobby about wild strawberries. Blammo! Guess where Billy goes–straight to the forbidden forest, of course. At this point, if you are reading the story aloud to your child, you may think there’s a parable on the way. But just when you might expect to run into monsters named Lust, Avarice and Three-Toed Sloth (okay, maybe not Lust), a real monster comes careening along and you realize that this story is just a fairy tale after all–and quite a lovely one at that.

The Minpins taps into the powerful, wonderful child’s fantasy of discovering a hidden civilization of tiny folk that accepts and honours him or her. The very best part of this fairy tale is the denouement, where Billy receives the gift of nightly escape on the wings of a swan. One of Roald Dahl’s only picture books–with fabulously crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations by Patrick Benson–The Minpins is superb for reading aloud to children. And it culminates in a sentence or two of advice that your children just might remember for the rest of their lives.

The Minpins (often misquoted as The Minipins) is a book by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Patrick Benson. It was published in 1991, a few months after Dahl’s death in November 1990, and it is believed to be the author’s final contribution to literature after an illustrious career spanning almost half a century.

Synopsis : The Minpins Book by Roald Dahl

Little Billy is forbidden by his mother to enter the Forest of Sin behind his house. She tells him of the Whangdoodles, Hornswogglers, Snozzwanglers and Vermicious knids that live in the forest. Worst of all is the Terrible Bloodsuckling Toothpluckling Stonechuckling Spittler, which chases its prey while glowing clouds of hot smoke pour out of his nose, and then swallows them up in one gulp. Little Billy doesn’t believe his mother, and the Devil tells Little Billy that the monsters don’t exist, and there is a plethora of luscious wild strawberries in the forest. Soon, Little Billy is walking through the forest when he hears something coming after him, and runs to escape it. As he looks back, he sees puffs of orange-red smoke catching up with him. He escapes what he is sure must be the Spittler by climbing up a tree as high and as fast as he can. When he comes to a rest, he notices windows opening all over the branches, and discovers a whole city of little people, the Minpins, living inside the tree. The leader of the Minpins tells Little Billy that the monster waiting under the tree is the Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher, who grunches up everything in the forest. It seems that there is no way for Little Billy to safely get down from the tree and return home. But upon learning of the close friendship between the Minpins and birds, Little Billy devises a plan to rid the forest of the Gruncher: Little Billy flies on the back of a swan and use his scent to lure the Gruncher into a lake. The water of the lake puts out the fire in the Gruncher’s belly, killing him. The Minpins are grateful to Little Billy for ridding the forest of their tormentor. They reward him by sending the swan to serve as Little Billy’s own personal transport every night, which he uses to explore the world and to continue his newfound friendship with the Minpins.

ISBN Number : The Minpins Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-670-84168-4 (hardcover, 1991)
* ISBN 0-14-056821-2 (paperback, 2001)
* ISBN 0-14-054970-6 (paperback, 1994)
* ISBN 0-14-054371-6 (paperback, 1993)


03 2010

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me Book by Roald Dahl

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me Book by Roald Dahl

The giraffe, the pelican and the agile monkey set out to prove that they are the best window-cleaning company around.

The story itself is loosely based around Billy, a young boy who has always dreamed of owning a sweet shop, especially since there is an abandoned one named The Grubber (an old slang English word for sweet shop) near where he lives. One day, he finds that the old building has been renovated and has become the head office for the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company. Billy then meets its workers, a Giraffe, a Pelican (or “Pelly” as he is called by the others) and a Monkey, whom he then befriends. They all band together when they receive a letter from the Duke of Hampshire asking them to clean the windows of Hampshire House.

When they get there, things go smoothly until the Giraffe and the Monkey, while cleaning the windows of the Duchess’s bedroom, spot a burglar who attempts to steal the Duchess’s diamond jewellery. The Pelican then flies in and catches the burglar in his beak, holding him there while the others panic. Eventually, the police arrive to arrest the burglar, whom the Chief of Police identifies as “The Cobra”, one of the world’s most dangerous cat burglars.

As a reward for retrieving the Duchess’s diamonds, the Duke invites the L.W.C.C. to live on his estate as his personal helper. Billy’s dreams come true as since the Giraffe, Pelican and Monkey will no longer be needing the Grubber building; with a little help from the Duke, the Grubber is reopened into the most fantastic place in the whole city! And they live happily ever after!

ISBN Number : The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-224-06493-2 (hardcover, 2003)
* ISBN 0-224-02999-1 (hardcover, 1985)
* ISBN 0-14-131127-4 (paperback, 2004)
* ISBN 0-14-056819-0 (paperback, 2004)
* ISBN 0-14-036527-3 (paperback, 1993)
* ISBN 0-14-050566-0 (paperback, 1987)


02 2010

The Witches Book by Roald Dahl

The Witches Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : The Witches Book by Roald Dahl

“This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.” So begins one of Roald Dahl’s best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator’s parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James’s parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who has learned a storyteller’s respect for witches and is wise to their ways.

The bond between the boy and his grandmother becomes the centrepiece of the tale–a partnership of love and understanding that survives even the boy’s unfortunate transformation into a mouse. And once the two have teamed up to outwitch the witches, the boy’s declaration that he’s glad he’s a mouse because he will now live only as long as his grandmother is far more poignant than eerie.

Of course, there’s adventure here along with Dahl’s trademark cleverness and sense of the grotesque. Dahl also communicates some essential truths to children: if they smoke cigars, they’ll never catch cold, and, most importantly, they should never bathe, because a clean child is far, far easier for a witch to smell than a dirty one.

The Witches is a book for children by Roald Dahl, first published in London in 1983 by Jonathan Cape. The book, like many of Dahl’s works, is illustrated by Quentin Blake. Its content has made the book the frequent target of censors. It appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999 at number twenty-two. The book was also adapted into a stage play.

Plot : The Witches Book by Roald Dahl

The book’s witches, described as “demons in human form”, form a well-connected organization which aims to destroy children. No motive is given, other than witches’ abhorrence of children, and the foul stench children give off to witches. This organization has branches in every country in the world, and is particularly powerful in Norway, where the origin of witches is said to have been and where, as a result, the witches’ operation is known to all. The chapters in different countries are forbidden to communicate, although the witches in each country are generally all friends. Each witch seeks to eliminate at least one child per week.

In a household in Norway, an orphaned boy (the book’s narrator) is told by his grandmother how to recognise witches, so that he may avoid them. She tells him stories about five children who fell victim to the evil powers of the witches:

* A girl named Solveg was given an apple by a witch and was trapped inside a painting for the rest of her life, a total of 53 years;
* A boy named Herald who woke up healthy one morning and had been turned to stone by the end of the day;
* A girl named Birgit was turned into a chicken and kept as a pet by her family;
* A boy named Leif was turned into a porpoise while swimming with his family;
* A girl named Ranghild was led away by a witch and never seen again.

The grandmother describes how to recognize a witch: witches have no hair, and must therefore wear wigs directly on their naked scalps, resulting in a condition they call “wig-rash”; witches have thin, curved, claw-like fingernails that they must disguise with gloves; witches have no toes; a witch’s spit is bright blue, leaving a pale bluish film on their teeth; and a witch has unusual pupils in which one may see “fire and ice dancing” in the centre. The boy implies also that ghouls and barghests exist, although not as dangerous as witches. The boy is warned by his grandmother of the leader of the witches, the Grand High Witch, the terrifying ruler of all the witches in the world.

The boy then has his first encounter with a witch, when he is playing in his treehouse and spots a strange woman in black staring up at him with an eerie smile. When he sees that she is wearing gloves, he instantly becomes afraid; when the witch offers him a snake to entice him, he climbs up the tree which he is in and stays there until his grandmother comes and gets him for supper. This persuades the boy and his grandmother to be wary.

When the grandmother later becomes ill, their holiday to Norway is postponed in favour of a time in England. They stay at a luxury hotel, where they discover that the English witches have come to hold their annual meeting. At the annual convention of English witches (ironically disguised as a “Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children” convention), the Grand High Witch, angry at the witches’ failure to destroy all of the children in England, unveils a master plan wherein the English witches should purchase sweet shops (using counterfeit banknotes given to them by the Grand High Witch) and give away free chocolate laced with Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse Maker, a mixture which will change anyone who eats it into a mouse at a specific time. The witches are instructed by the Grand High Witch that the formula will activate at 9:00 a.m. the day after the children have eaten the chocolate, when they are at school. The teachers, she hopes, will panic and kill the mice, thereby doing the witches’ work for them.

By chance, the boy is hiding in the convention room at the time, training his pet white mice. He recognizes some characteristics described by his grandmother, and therefore remains hidden whilst the witches unveil their true selves (removing their wigs to reveal chafed, bald scalps, their shoes to reveal squared feet, their gloves to reveal long, sharp claws, and grinning with their mouths full of blue saliva).

The Grand High Witch turns a fat child named Bruno Jenkins (lured to the convention hall by the promise of free chocolate) into a mouse as a demonstration of her potion. Shortly after, the witches smell the narrator’s presence (based on the premise that children smell repulsive to witches) and change him into a mouse by giving him an overdose of the formula.

Luckily, the formula had overlooked one thing: the transformed child still keeps his mind, his personality, his sentience and his voice. The transformed boy returns to his grandmother’s room, and tells her who he was and what he had heard. They steal a bottle of the witches’ potion and pour it into the green pea soup in the kitchen reserved for the witches’ dinner. The witches all turn into mice almost instantly, having ingested overdoses. The hotel staff panic and kill all England’s witches in their form of mice. The boy and his grandmother then create a plan to use the potion recipe the witches created to attack the Grand High Witch’s Norwegian headquarters, hoping to change all remaining witches into mice, release cats into the building to kill them, and then use the Grand High Witch’s counterfeit money to fund a mission to repeat the process all over the world.

Film Version : The Witches Book by Roald Dahl

The book has been adapted into a film by director Nicolas Roeg, released in 1990 and distributed by Warner Bros. In the film the boy is named Luke, the grandmother Helga and The Grand High Witch Eva Ernst.


02 2010

George’s Marvellous Medicine Book by Roald Dahl

George's Marvellous Medicine Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : George’s Marvellous Medicine Book by Roald Dahl

When George’s parents are away for the day, he’s tempted to do something about his tyrannical grandmother. “Something” means going round the house collecting all kinds of horrible ingredients that will make up a magic potion to make her disappear. But instead of disappearing, she gets bigger.

George’s grandma is a grizzly, grumpy, selfish old woman with pale brown teeth and a small puckered-up mouth like a dog’s bottom. Four times a day she takes a large spoonful of thick brown medicine, but it doesn’t seem to do her any good. She’s always just as horrid after she’s taken it as she was before.

So when George is left alone to look after her one morning, it’s just the chance he needs…

Quentin Blake is well known as Roald Dahl’s principal illustrator but has also written and illustrated a great many picture books of his own, such as Mister Magnolia and Zagazoo. He was the first Children’s Laureate from 1999 to 2001

Plot Summary : George’s Marvellous Medicine Book by Roald Dahl

George Kranky, a small boy who lives on a farm with his mother, father and grandmother, is fed up of his Grandma’s selfishness, grumpiness and her attitude towards him. George seeks to cure it by brewing a special medicine to cure her (made from every harmful product in the house, and several animal medicines from his father’s shed), only to end up making his Grandma as tall as a house. While this does not improve her disposition, it does make her happier. George’s father Mr. Killy Kranky (a farmer) and mother come home; when the father sees the giant hen (produced by the medicine given to the hen to prove to Grandma that the reason she is that huge is because of his medicine, although this attempt is failed), he is excited while the mother is first in shock and then starts to ignore the grandmother.

George’s father hits on the idea of making more of George’s marvellous medicine to make his animals bigger and fatter so they can be sold for higher prices at the market. Unfortunately, George cannot remember the recipe (basically because he put in everything he could find); after four failed attempts, involving some oddly deformed chickens, they create a formula which makes things shrink. The nasty Grandma, feeling ignored, thinks that the medicine is her tea and drinks all of it, shrinking to nothing, and complains the entire time. The mother is sad, while the father is happy and says all is well because the grandmother was a nasty old hag; by lunchtime, the mother agrees with her husband. George then realizes that in a mere two days, he has touched, with his fingertips, the edge of another world. Yet everyone else has already forgotten about it. The story then ends.

Ingredients Of His New Medicine : George’s Marvellous Medicine Book by Roald Dahl

* Bathroom items: Golden Gloss Hair Shampoo, toothpaste, some shaving soap, vitamin enriched face cream, hair remover (“Smear it on your legs”), Brillident (for cleaning false teeth), Dishworth’s Famous Dandruff Cure, liquid paraffin, Nevermore Ponking Deodorant Spray and nail varnish.
* Shed items: Chicken Medicine, Horse strength throat lozenges, cow ointment, sheep dip and pig pills.
* Kitchen cupboard: Curry powder, mustard powder, a tin of black peppercorns, a bottle of extra hot chilli sauce and a bottle of horse radish sauce.
* Other kitchen items: SuperWhite (for automatic washing machines), WaxWell Floor Polish, flea powder, canary seeds and Dark Tan Shoe Polish.
* Bedroom items: Lipstick ,”Flower of Turnip,” (it smells like old cheese), Helga’s Hair Set, Pink Plaster Face Powder and a powderpuff.
* Garage items: Engine oil, anti-freeze and a handful of grease.
* Also: One quart dark brown gloss paint (for colour) and petrol.


02 2010

The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

The Twits Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl has such an unusual first name due to fact that his parents spelt his name wrong on the Register of Births. From this non-literary background came one of the masters of children’s literature.

The Twits is one of his many successful and highly entertaining books. The Twits are a couple that nobody would like to know. They are hairy, dirty, smelly and generally unpleasant. Roald Dahl’s characters are possibly the most horrid people you will ever read about. Mr and Mrs Twit spend their days inventing new ways to be be nasty to each other. Each time Mrs Twit does something bad to Mr Twit, he just invents something worse to do to her. The Twits are not only unpleasant towards each other but they also hate animals. It is because of the Twits’ attitude towards animals that we see their really awful side: Mr Twit keeps a family of monkeys that have to spend their days upside down and Mrs Twit likes to make pies with freshly caught birds.

Dahl’s story, as is characteristic with all his books, has a happy ending. Only how will the animals beat the Twits?

Mr and Mrs Twit are extremely nasty, so the Muggle-Wump monkeys and the Roly-Poly bird hatch an ingenious plan to give them just the ghastly surprise they deserve! This edition has a great new Quentin Blake cover as well as a whole new exciting end section about Roald Dahl and his world.

More Info : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

The Twits is a humorous children’s book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It was written in 1979, and first published in 1980.

Mr. and Mrs. Twit are two ugly, smelly, nasty, stupid people who spend their lives playing nasty tricks on each other. They also enjoy being cruel to animals, which they do by luring birds to glue-smothered trees so they can be baked into bird pie, and tormenting their pet monkeys, Muggle-Wump and his family, by getting them to stand upside down, one on top of the other. They hate children, and Mrs. Twit often carries a walking stick in her right hand that she uses to hit children and animals.

One day, the arrival of the Roly-Poly Bird from Africa allows the monkeys and the surviving birds to get the revenge they have craved for years. They glue the carpet and furniture to the living room ceiling while the Twits are out. On the Twits’ return, two ravens swoop over and drop glue from paintbrushes held in their claws onto the Twits’ heads. When the Twits go indoors and see their furniture upside down, they stand on their heads, believing they are upside down, and because of the glue on their heads, they remain stuck that way. With the Twits out of the way, the Muggle-Wumps are able to return to their native Africa with the help of the Roly-Poly Bird. Eventually, the Twits’ bodies collapse into themselves, until there is nothing left of them but their clothes.

Characters : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

Mr Twit

Mr Twit is a trollish person, having hair that covers his whole face, except for his forehead, eyes and his nose. His hair (which he falsely believes makes him look wise and grand), is spiky and hard rather than smooth and soft. He is 60 years old, and he never washes. His beard contains scraps of food dropped there while he ate, including tinned sardines, stilton cheese, and corn flakes. Occasionally, he picks these scraps out and eats them. He is also a possible cannibal; when some boys come into his garden and climb the glue-ridden branches of the tree and get stuck by the seats of their pants, he threatens to bake them in a pie instead of the birds; they escape by unzipping their pants and falling out of the tree, however. Mr Twit is a beer drinker, even doing so at breakfast. He is known to get very quiet when he is plotting his latest evil trick, the victim of which is usually his wife.

Mrs Twit

Mrs Twit is the shrewish wife of Mr Twit. She, unlike her husband, was once very beautiful, but thinking ugly thoughts caused her to transform into the ugliest woman in the world. She is no more hygienic than her husband,she has black scaggy hair and no more pleasant either: she uses her cane as a weapon against children and animals. Mrs Twit has only one real eye; the other is made of glass, and she sometimes takes it out and uses it to frighten her husband.

The Tricks of The Twits From The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

The Glass Eye

Mrs Twit likes to let Mr Twit know that she is always watching him. She does this by placing her glass eye into Mr Twit’s mug of beer at the breakfast table. This always makes Mr Twit jump in shock of the horror.

The Frog

In revenge for the glass-eye trick, Mr Twit places a frog in Mrs Twit’s bed. He teases Mrs Twit by claiming the item in her bed is a Giant Skillywiggler, with teeth like screwdrivers with which it would bite off her toes. Mrs Twit faints during this trick, later to recover as the frog sits on her face.

The Shrinking Stick

Mr Twit wants to get revenge on Mrs Twit so he adds some wood to her stick every night so she thinks she is shrinking.

The Wormy Spaghetti

Seeking revenge for the Frog trick, Mrs Twit engineers the Spaghetti Incident. Mr Twit enjoys spaghetti for his lunch, and so the day after the Frog trick, Mrs Twit mixes worms from the garden into the cooked spaghetti, and hides the lot by covering it in a tomato and cheese sauce. Mr Twit notices that his lunch is moving, but Mrs Twit claims that the spaghetti is of a new brand, ‘Squiggly Spaghetti’. Mr Twit eats it all, causing Mrs Twit to burst out laughing and reveal the trick.

Mrs. Twit Goes Ballooning Up

After the Worms in the Spaghetti trick, Mr Twit makes Mrs Twit believe that she is slowly shrinking by gluing pieces of wood no thicker than a penny onto her cane each night, as well as onto the legs of a stool. He says that the only cure for this condition is to be stretched. He does this by tying Mrs Twit by her ankles to an iron ring in the ground outside, then tying helium-filled balloons to her arms until she is rising off the ground. As Mr Twit is about to leave her where she is for a few nights, Mrs Twit tells him to make sure that her ankles are secured so she doesn’t float away. This only serves to prompt Mr Twit to cut the rope, sending Mrs Twit flying off. She bites the balloons off one at a time and sinks back to earth and lands on top of Mr Twit, beating him up with her stick.

Sticky Tree

There is an unimaginatively-named “Big Dead Tree” in the Twits’ garden. This, Mr Twit uses to trap birds, by spreading “HUGTIGHT” sticky glue on the branches. Those that get stuck, he eventually picks off to be put into a pie baked by Mrs Twit. He also manages, inadvertently, to catch four boys by the same method when they foolishly climb the tree themselves. Mr Twit sees them and very nearly bakes them instead. Luckily, they escape in time. It is this use of glue that gives his pet monkey Muggle-Wump and his family the idea of using it against the Twits.

Trivia : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

* The idea of The Twits was triggered by Dahl’s simple desire to “do something against beards” since he had an acute dislike of them himself. The first sentence of the story — “what a lot of hairy faces one sees nowadays” — is a genuine complaint.[citation needed]

* The Twits as a book has remained so successful since its publication in 1980 — that it was adapted for the stage in 1999.

* Certain things within the book, such as Mr Twit’s beard, “Wormy Spaghetti” and bird pie, appear within Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes.

* A monkey named Muggle-Wump (whether the same character as the one in The Twits or a member of the same family is not known) also appears in The Enormous Crocodile. A monkey bearing a more than passing resemblance to Quentin Blake’s illustration of the same character also appears in The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.

* A Roly-Poly Bird likewise makes an appearance in The Enormous Crocodile and is also to be found in Dirty Beasts.

Film : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

A film adapatation of the book is in the works with Walt Disney Pictures, with screenplay written by John Cleese. Shrek producer John H. Williams is developing the film at Disney, and it’s thought that Cleese himself will play one of the titular Twits. It is rumored that Conrad Vernon will direct the film. It has a release date set for 2012.

ISBN Number : The Twits Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-224-06491-6 (hardcover, 2003)
* ISBN 0-14-130107-4 (paperback, 2002)
* ISBN 0-375-82242-9 (hardcover, 2002)
* ISBN 0-14-131138-X (paperback, 2001)
* ISBN 0-14-034640-6 (paperback, 1991)
* ISBN 0-14-031406-7 (paperback, 1982)
* ISBN 0-224-01855-8 (hardcover, 1980)


02 2010

The Enormous Crocodile Book by Roald Dahl

The Enormous Crocodile Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : The Enormous Crocodile Book by Roald Dahl

The Enormous Crocodile is a horrid greedy grumptious brute who loves to guzzle up little boys and girls. But the other animals have had enough of his cunning tricks, so they scheme to get the better of this foul fiend, once and for all!

The Enormous Crocodile grinned, showing hundreds of sharp white teeth. “I’m going to fill my hungry empty tummy with something yummy yummy yummy yummy!” The Enormous Crocodile boasts that he is going to eat a child for lunch and he sets out to trick all the children in his attempts for food. But his plots and disguises are foiled by the animals in the jungle – especially by Trunky, the elephant. A crunchingly golloping tale for age 5+.

Synopsis : The Enormous Crocodile Book by Roald Dahl

One day an enormous crocodile goes tramping through the forest telling all the animals he’s going to eat children. The animals tell him that it’s a horrible thing to do but he tries to use his tricks to eat the tasty children nonetheless. However, every time he tries, the animals of the forest save the children. Later on, a giant elephant finishes the crocodile off by swinging him around in the air by his tail and letting him go until he flies into the sky and crashes head first into the hot sun.

ISBN Number : The Enormous Crocodile Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-7857-0812-X (library binding, 2002)
* ISBN 0-375-91046-8 (library binding, 2000)Posts
* ISBN 0-375-81046-3 (hardcover, 2000)
* ISBN 0-224-04684-5 (hardcover, 1999)
* ISBN 0-224-01579-6 (hardcover, 1978)
* ISBN 0-14-230245-7 (paperback, 2003)
* ISBN 0-14-036556-7 (paperback, 2002)
* ISBN 0-14-131152-5 (paperback, 2001)
* ISBN 0-14-056822-0 (paperback, 2001)
* ISBN 0-14-130971-7 (paperback, 2000)
* ISBN 0-14-050342-0 (paperback, 1980)

About the Author

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He was educated in England before going to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. With the outbreak of World War II, he became an RAF fighter pilot. He began writing for adults at the close of the war, with the encouragement of C. S. Forester. His first children’s book, James and the Giant Peach, was published in 1961 and each of his subsequent books became bestsellers. He is still the best selling children’s writer of all time. Roald Dahl died in 1990.


02 2010

Danny the Champion of the World Book by Roald Dahl

Danny the Champion of the World Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : Danny the Champion of the World Book by Roald Dahl

“My father, without the slightest doubt, was the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had”. Danny feels very lucky. He adores his life with his father, living in a gypsy caravan, listening to his stories, tending their gas station, puttering around the workshop, and occasionally taking off to fly home-built gas balloons and kites. His father has raised him on his own, ever since Danny’s mother died when he was four months old. Life is peaceful and wonderful … until he turns 9 and discovers his father’s one vice. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world. Danny is right up to Roald Dahl’s impishly brilliant standards. An intense and beautiful father-son relationship is balanced with subtle escapades that will have even the most rigid law-abider rooting them on. Dahl’s inimitable way with words leaves the reader simultaneously satisfied and itching for more. (Ages 9 to 13) –Emilie Coulter –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

A new edition of the well-loved story of Danny and his father who outwit their greedy, rich neighbour, Mr Victor Hazell. With a great new cover by Quentin Blake as well as a whole new exciting end section about Roald Dahl and his world.

Plot : Danny the Champion of the World Book by Roald Dahl

Danny’s mother died suddenly when he was only four months old and from then on he lived with his father in an old Gypsy vardo at the back of a filling station, where his father fixed cars. By the time Danny was seven years old, he was able to take apart, and then put back together a switch motor.

Danny’s father owned the filling station, and it was the only piece of land for miles around that was not owned by a wealthy but unpleasant local man called Mr. Victor Hazell, who owns a brewery and drives around in a silver Rolls-Royce. After Mr. Hazell threatened Danny and Danny’s father subsequently refused to give him service, various inspectors came to visit them, including a health inspector who said he was concerned about the condition of the caravan, and another inspector who wanted to check that the petrol being sold was of an adequate standard. Danny’s father was convinced that Mr. Hazell was having these inspectors sent in to try and drive them out, and this made him furious.

When Danny was nine years old he woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t find his father. When his father eventually returned, he said that he’d been to poach pheasants from Hazell’s Wood. Danny’s father then let Danny in on a secret of poaching: pheasants love raisins, and placing a raisin inside a “Sticky Hat” (a piece of paper rolled into a cone shape with glue on the inside) is the perfect trap with which to catch a pheasant, since it won’t run away if it can’t see. Another trick that Danny’s dad taught him was the “Horse-Hair Stopper”: A horse’s tailhair, when threaded through a raisin, would cause the raisin (upon swallowing) to become lodged in the pheasant’s throat. This in turn causes the pheasant to become so preoccupied with trying to swallow the raisin that a poacher can easily catch it. Other methods are less effective. Soaking the raisins in gin to make the pheasant drunk only works if the bird eats more than a dozen of them.

One evening, Danny’s father went poaching and promised to be back no later than 10:30 p.m. Danny, waking at 2.10am, discovers his father’s absence. Fearing the worst, he sets off in an Austin Seven motor car that his father has been repairing, but while driving along the road he notices a car in the distance. He eventually passes the car and realises that it’s the police, who then come back to pursue him. However, the windy layout of the road makes it easy for Danny to drive through a gap in a hedge without being seen, and the police car races past.

He finds his father in Hazell’s Wood, where he has fallen down a specially-dug pit-trap and suffered a broken ankle, and eventually manages to get him back to the car. They head home, where they call Doc Spencer, a good friend of Danny’s father and a fellow poacher, to treat Danny’s father for his injury. Danny’s father is prescribed strong sleeping pills to deal with the pain of his broken ankle, but declines to use them.

While Danny’s father is recovering from his injury, they hear that Mr. Hazell’s annual pheasant-shooting party is approaching, which he hosts to curry favor and prestige among the gentry. They decide to humiliate him by luring all the pheasants away from the forest, so there will be no pheasants to shoot. Danny suggests that they should put the contents of sleeping tablets inside raisins which the pheasants will then eat; his father dubs this new method the “Sleeping Beauty.” Having poached 120 pheasants from Mr. Hazell’s woods, they hide the drugged pheasants at the local vicar’s house, while they take a taxi home. The next morning, the vicar’s wife delivers the sleeping pheasants in a specially-built oversized baby carriage. As she is walking toward them, the pheasants began to wake up and fly, but they droopily fall back down. An angry Hazell arrives at the filling station just as the pheasants are waking up. With the help of Sgt. Samways, the local constable, Danny and his father herd the groggy birds onto Hazell’s Rolls Royce, where they scratch the paintwork and defecate all over it, inside and out. Once the pheasants have woken completely, they fly away from the scene – in the opposite direction from Hazell’s wood. Mr. Hazell drives off in disgrace, his fancy car and shooting party both ruined.

Danny is hailed as “the champion of the world” by his father, Doc Spencer, and Sgt. Samways, but their victory is a bittersweet one, due to the fact that all the pheasants flew away. But Doc Spencer shows them six pheasants who have died from eating too many drugged raisins. They each receive two pheasants, except the Doc, who didn’t want any.

Danny and his father walk off toward town, intending to buy a new oven for cooking their pheasants. As they stroll along, Danny muses about how fortunate he is to have a father who is so imaginative and fun to be with.

TV Movie : Danny the Champion of the World Book by Roald Dahl

The book was adapted into a made-for-TV movie in 1989 by Thames Television. It was directed by Gavin Millar and starred Jeremy Irons as Danny’s father and his son Samuel Irons as Danny, with Robbie Coltrane as Victor Hazell. It was released to Region 2 DVD in 2006.

ISBN Number : Danny the Champion of the World Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-435-12221-5 (hardcover, 1977)
* ISBN 0-14-032873-4 (paperback, 1988)
* ISBN 0-224-03749-8 (hardcover, 1994)
* ISBN 0-14-037157-5 (paperback, 1994)
* ISBN 0-224-06469-X (paperback, 2002)
* ISBN 0-375-81425-6 (hardcover, 2002)
* ISBN 0-375-91425-0 (library binding, 2002)
* ISBN 0-141-31132-0 (hardcover, 2004)


02 2010

Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr Fox Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

In the tradition of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, this is a “garden tale” of farmer versus vermin, or vice versa. The farmers in this case are a vaguely criminal team of three stooges: “Boggis and Bunce and Bean / One fat, one short, one lean. / These horrible crooks / So different in looks / Were nonetheless equally mean.” Whatever their prowess as poultry farmers, within these pages their sole objective is the extermination of our hero–the noble, the clever, the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Our loyalties are defined from the start; after all, how could you cheer for a man named Bunce who eats his doughnuts stuffed with mashed goose livers? As one might expect, the farmers in this story come out smelling like … well, what farmers occasionally do smell like.

This early Roald Dahl adventure is great for reading aloud to three- to seven-year-olds, who will be delighted to hear that Mr. Fox keeps his family one step ahead of the obsessed farmers. When they try to dig him out, he digs faster; when they lay siege to his den, he tunnels to where the farmers least expect him–their own larders! In the end, Mr. Fox not only survives, but also helps the whole community of burrowing creatures live happily ever after. With his usual flourish, Dahl evokes a magical animal world that, as children, we always knew existed, had we only known where or how to look for it. (Ages 9 to 12) –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Boggis, Bunce and Bean are the meanest three farmers you could meet. They are determined to get Mr Fox – but he has other plans! This edition has a great new Quentin Blake cover and new author biography.

Plot Summary : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

This story is about a fox named Mr Fox. In order to feed his family, Mr Fox steals chickens, ducks, turkeys, and cider each night from three mean and wealthy farmers: Boggis, Bunce and Bean. The farmers are fed up with Mr Fox’s theft and try to kill him. One night, the farmers wait outside Mr Fox’s foxhole in an attempt to ambush him. When Mr Fox emerges from his home, the farmers fire at him. However, the farmers only succeed in blowing off Mr Fox’s tail.

Determined to catch him, the farmers use spades and shovels to dig their way into the foxes’ home. However, Mr and Mrs Fox and their four children escape by digging a tunnel deeper into the ground. The farmers then use bulldozers in order to dig deeper into the ground, but to no avail.

The three men therefore decide to watch the entrance to the fox tunnel with shotguns at the ready, while the farmers’ men patrol the area to make sure the foxes do not escape.

After three days of starving, Mr Fox comes up with a plan. He and his children dig a tunnel into Boggis’s chicken house. There, they steal some chickens and depart without leaving any sign of their presence. They also raid Bunce’s storehouse of ducks, geese and vegetables as well as Bean’s underground cellar of cider.

Along the way, the foxes meet Badger and other digging animals who are also starving due to the farmers’ siege of the hillside. Mr Fox, feeling responsible for the whole affair, invites the other animals to a feast made from the loot. At the feast, the animals decide to make an underground town where they will be safe, while discreetly obtaining food from the farmers.

Meanwhile, Boggis, Bunce and Bean keep guard on the tunnel entrance in pouring rain, unaware that Mr Fox and his friends are stealing their food right under their noses. The book ends with the indication the three will be waiting forever.

In the book, local children sing the following verse (a limerick) to taunt the three farmers:

Boggis, Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were none the less equally mean.

Characters : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

* Mr Fox
* Mrs Fox
* Badger
* Mrs Badger
* Mole
* Mrs Mole
* Rabbit
* Mrs Rabbit
* Weasel
* Mrs Weasel
* Boggis
* Bunce
* Bean
* Rat the Rat
* 4 little Foxes

Film version : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

The book has been adapted into a film by director Wes Anderson. It was made using stop-motion animation and features the voices of George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, Bill Murray as Badger, and Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean. The movie adds scenes before Mr. Fox attacks the three farmers and after their bulldozing of the hill, as well as a slightly altered ending and more of a fleshy plot about Mr. Fox’s past life as a thief.

Stage Adaptations : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

The book was adapted into a play of the same name by David Wood and was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in 2001. The play is licensed (in UK only) through Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. for repertory performances and Samuel French Ltd. for amateur performances.

Opera : Fantastic Mr Fox Book by Roald Dahl

Tobias Picker adapted the book into an Opera (the only adaptation with origins in the USA) which had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera performing December 9-22 in 1998. the Opera starred Gerald Finley as Mr. Fox and Suzanna Guzman as Mrs. Fox.


02 2010

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book Cover by Roald DahlBook Review : Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

Picking right up where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory left off, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator continues the adventures of Charlie Bucket, his family and Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy maker. As the book begins, our heroes are shooting into the sky in a glass elevator, headed for destinations unknown. What follows is exactly the kind of high-spirited magical madness and mayhem we’ve all come to expect from Willy Wonka and his creator Roald Dahl. The American space race gets a send-up, as does the President, and Charlie’s family gets a second chance at childhood. Throw in the Vermicious Knids, Gnoolies and Minusland and we once again witness pure genius.

History : Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is a children’s book by British author Roald Dahl. It is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, continuing the story of young Charlie Bucket and eccentric candymaker Willy Wonka as they travel in the Great Glass Elevator.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1972, and in the UK by George Allen & Unwin in 1973.

Unlike the preceding book, no film adaptation of this book has ever been made. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) angered Dahl so much that he refused to allow the producers to adapt the sequel,[citation needed] while Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have announced that they have no intention of making a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory although part of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator appears at the end of the film.

Dahl began making a third book, which was to be titled “Charlie in the White House,” but only left the first chapter.

Plot : Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

The book begins where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends: Willy Wonka has just given Charlie ownership of his factory, and they crash through the roof of Charlie’s house and inform his family of the good news.

Charlie’s grandparents (except Grandpa Joe, who had already gotten out of the bed) are nervous about going inside the travelling elevator, and after twenty years in bed, refuse to get up. The bed is thus pushed into the elevator, which then takes off. At a critical moment during the return trip to the factory, a panicking Josephine grabs Wonka away from the controls and steers the elevator with its occupants into an Earth orbit. The elevator circles the planet until Wonka sees the chance to link it with the newly-launched Space Hotel, a private enterprise of the United States government.

In the White House, President of the United States Lancelot R. Gilligrass, the Vice-President and Gilligrass’s strict nanny, Elvira Tibbs, and his Cabinet see a mysterious object dock with the Space Hotel and think it contains hostile agents of a foreign or extraterrestrial government. The space shuttle containing the hotel staff and three astronauts approaches the Space Hotel, and the shuttle’s crew prepares for the worst. On the Hotel, Wonka and the others hear the President address them across a radio link as Martians, and Wonka proceeds to tease Gilligrass with nonsense words and grotesque poetry. But in the midst of this, the hotel’s elevators open, revealing five gigantic, brown-green, boneless creatures shaped something like eggs with eyes. They change shape, each forming a letter of the word SCRAM, and Wonka motions everybody to get out of the Space Hotel quickly.

Those shape-changers, Wonka tells the others, are predatory extraterrestrials called Vermicious Knids that have infested the Space Hotel. Since they can’t reach Earth’s surface to prey on its natives because they burn up in the atmosphere as shooting stars, the Knids are waiting in the Space Hotel for the new arrivals in the shuttle, some of whom they instantly devour. Capable of flying in anaerobic space at improbable speeds, they pursue the survivors but are unable to board the space shuttle. Instead, they dive-bomb the shuttle’s engines and hull, destroying the rockets as well as the cameras and radio antenna. Without its rockets, the shuttle is unable to escape the Knids by breaking orbit and returning to Earth.

Seeing all this from the relative safety of the Great Glass Elevator, which is Knid-proof (one Knid bruised itself badly on the Knid-proof glass and has been chasing the Elevator ever since), Charlie suggests that he and his companions use the Elevator to tow the shuttle in to land. Willy Wonka, in agreement, pilots the Elevator into range, whereupon Charlie’s Grandpa Joe connects the two vessels by means of a steel cord. The Knids change into living segments of a towing line, with which they intend to drag the spacecrafts away. The bruised Knid wraps his body around the Elevator, providing an anchor for this operation. his plan proves again to be a double-edged sword. Willy Wonka activates the Elevator’s retro-rockets and plunges to Earth, taking the shuttle and the Knids with it. The Knids burn to ashes as a result of the friction with the atmosphere during re-entry. At the right moment, Wonka releases the shuttle, which floats safely home. The Elevator then crashes into the chocolate factory, ending its flight in the Chocolate room.

Since Charlie was presented the factory as a gift by Wonka, he wants his family to help him run it. Georgina, George and Josephine still refuse to move out of their bed. Wonka proposes a pill he invented, Wonka-Vite, to make them young again. (He says that it is too valuable to waste on himself, which is why he needed an heir in the first place.) The three bedridden recipients get greedy and take much more than they need to. Instead of becoming a mere twenty years younger, the three grandparents lose eighty years, making George one year old, Josephine three months, and Georgina absent altogether, having become “minus two” (she was seventy-eight). Charlie and Wonka journey in the Great Glass Elevator to Minusland to get Georgina back with Vita-Wonk, a sprayable compound that makes people older. Minusland is a dark, gloomy region far beneath the surface of the Earth, filled up entirely with fog, and inhabited only by the invisible and highly dangerous Gnoolies, creatures which, with a single bite, turn their victims into more Gnoolies (Wonka states that the process, a form of long division, takes a long time and is very painful). After administering an even worse overdose of Vita-Wonk to Grandma Georgina, they return to the upper world.

There, Georgina has become 358 years old. Her memory entails a lot of history, beginning with the Pilgrim voyage in the ship “Mayflower” and ending in the present moment, spanning over many wars and truces in between. Using a more cautious dose of Wonka-Vite, her companions subtract much of this age from her, leaving her at seventy-eight as she was before. Charlie and Mr. Wonka administer Vita-Wonk enough to recall Josephine and George to their original age.

The grandparents are still incensed with Wonka’s adventurous nature. They refuse, as before, to come out of bed. Then mysterious visitors arrive in a helicopter. The Oompa-Loompas give Wonka a letter from President Gilligrass, congratulating the occupants of the Great Glass Elevator on saving the lives of the shuttle astronauts and hotel staff and inviting them as the guests of honour to a White House dinner. The grandparents don’t want to be left out, so they leap out of bed and join Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Wonka, and Charlie’s parents to enter the helicopter sent to pick them up.

Awards and nominations : Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

* Nene Award (1978)
* Surrey School award (UK 1975)

ISBN Number : Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Book by Roald Dahl

* ISBN 0-375-91525-7 (library binding, 2001)
* ISBN 0-394-92472-X (library binding, 1972)
* ISBN 0-375-81525-2 (hardcover, 2001)
* ISBN 0-670-85249-X (hardcover, 1995)
* ISBN 0-394-82472-5 (hardcover, 1972)
* ISBN 0-14-240412-8 (paperback, 2005)
* ISBN 0-14-131143-6 (paperback, 2001)
* ISBN 0-14-038533-9 (paperback, 1997)
* ISBN 0-14-037155-9 (paperback, 1995)
* ISBN 0-14-032870-X (paperback, 1988)
* ISBN 0-14-032043-1 (paperback, 1986, illustrated by Michael Foreman)
* ISBN 0-14-030755-9 (paperback, 1975)
* ISBN 0-04-823106-1 (board book, 1973)


02 2010