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A book I remember borrowing on a regular basis from the library when I was younger was Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts. When I saw it for sale in the book people catalogue I decided immediately to purchase it for my son based purely on nostalgia. I gave the book to him as a present last Christmas and this is my experience of it.
I bought the book in a hard back formal which has a recommended retail price of £14.99 on the back cover but from memory it cost me £3.99. The book being hard back feels really good quality and like it will last many more years to come. The front cover of the book features a picture of various animals creeping up on two unsuspecting children and we are told that the book is written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Inside the book there are nine different little stories and there is no contents page featured in the book so it is literally a case of scrolling through the book until you find the part you want. The small tales in the book are as follows:
The pig The crocodile The lion The scorpion The ant eater The porcupine The cow The toad and the snail The tummy beast
Each of the individual segments varies in length and so some cover a few pages whilst others are just over one or two. What is the same though is the fact that the writing is central to the page and is written in small sentences so it looks like one thin block of text within the page. The language used in the stories is written using rhyme and I like how the text flows because of this. I do think that this is the kind of book that you would need to read to a child though because there are a lot of tricky words used which would perhaps be difficult for them to tackle. I also think that as an adult it is fun to build the suspense as you read the story to your child because they quite often have parts where you could make the listener jump which is something my son loves!
A lot of the animals featured in the book are baddies who like to sting or eat people but to break this up there are tales of a flying cow and a toad so large he could jump to France. I do think that despite the scarier tales being broken up that if your child is easily scared then this book may be best avoided.
The illustrations in the book are done by Quentin Blake. They are wonderful as they seem so detailed yet seem somewhat roughly drawn as well. He does an excellent job of making the animals look a little but menacing but not too threatening as well if that makes sense.
My son and I have dipped in and out of this book over the past year and whilst it isn’t a current favourite for him I do feel confident that as he grows older that this book will be read more and more as I enjoyed it when I was older than my son, who is six now. If you see this book at a good price I would certainly recommend picking it up!