The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Hello fellow Ciao reviewers! I’m here with another review on a favourite childhood book by the amazing Roald Dahl, called Esio Trot.
Now I bet you wondering….has she gone completely mad? What the heck does the title mean? I promise that all will be explained in the review but first here is a little note from the author. This note is in the front of the book and just sets the scene for the book. Quite nice really:
"Some years ago, when my own children were small, we usually kept a tortoise to two in the garden. In those days, a pet tortoise was a common sight crawling about on the family lawn or in the back yard. You could buy them quite cheaply in any pet-shop and they were probably the least troublesome of childhood pets, and quite harmless. Tortoises used to be brought into England by the thousand, packed in crates, and the cam mostly from North Africa. But not many years ago a law was passed that made it illegal to bring any tortoises into the country. This was not done to protect us. The little tortoise was not a danger to anybody. It was done purely out of kindness to the tortoise itself. You see, the traders who brought them in used to cram hundreds of them tightly into the packaging-crates without food or water and in such horrible conditions that a great many of them always died on the sea-journey over. So rather than allow this cruelty to go on, the Government stopped the whole business. The things you are going to read about in this story all happened in the days when anyone could go out a buy a nice little tortoise from a pet-shop."
Now on with the story itself!
Esio Trot is the story of Mr. Hoppy and Mrs. Silver. Mr. Hoppy is a retired mechanic who lives in a flat, inside an apartment block. Now Mr. Hoppy has to main interests in his life. One being to grow beautiful flowers on his balcony. The second interest was Mrs. Silver, the love of his life. Mr. Hoppy can only admire Mrs. Silver, who lives in the apartment below, as he has never had the courage to tell her he loves her. Unfortunately, Mrs, Silver does not return his affections. All her attentions go on a very sweet little tortoise called Alfie.
For as long as Mrs. Silver has had Alfie, he has been very small. Sure, a tortoise can live for hundreds of years but they can also get to be really big in size! Not little Alfie. Alfie has been at the same weight of 13 ounces for years and Mrs. Silver would love nothing more than for him to grow just a little bit.
So, up pops a light bulb above Mr. Hoppy’s head. Mrs. Silver would do anything to make Alfie grow bigger and Mr. Hoppy has an idea. He tells Mrs. Silver than he can make her tortoise grow by saying a magic set of words:
Mr. Hoppy tells Mrs. Silver that these are real words but just backwards, as a tortoise is a very backward creature. He tells her to whisper the words to Alfie three times a day and that will make him grow bigger! The words actually say:
"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!"
See? My crazy title does make sense! Honest! *grin*
However, Mr. Hoppy knows that these words won’t make Alfie bigger, but Mr. Hoppy has a plan to make Alfie bigger by himself and not by feeding him more food!
If you want to know the outcome, then I suggest you buy the book and read to your hearts content!
I thought that this was a very sweet story. Roald Dahl has done a marvellous job of showing younger minds, perhaps for the first time, what love really is. The fact that Mr. Hoppy would do anything to please Mrs. Silver makes it a wonderful love story. Esio Trot won Roald Dahl the 1989 Children’s Author of the Year Award and quite rightly so. What I have liked about this book was that Roald Dahl has put in his author’s note. This seems to set the scene for the book and gives it a personal edge! Very nice! Once again, Quentin Blake has reprised his role in doing the illustrations for the book. I was very impressed by the layout of this book. I don’t believe that young children would get bored with reading this book as the layout between the pictures and the text is excellent. Some of the pictures are in boxes and some are not, some take up the entire page and some take up two! The idea with the layout with the book seems to be that one idea is presented on a page in text format and then a picture goes with it. For example, the part where Mr. Hoppy explains that the words Mrs. Silver must read are simply backwards. You then get the words the correct way around and a picture of Mrs. Silver at the bottom as if she has just realised it! The book has impressed me on many levels and seems to be another winner for Roald Dahl. Simple characters and a simple story has brought out the best in Roald Dahl. It's another story by him that is very easy to read! It’s a book which is suitable for anyone to read and I loved going back to again! I hope that you do to!!
Here are a few techie details for your information.
Title: Esio Trot Author: Roald Dahl Illustrator: Quentin Blake Price: £3.99 (Could have changed) Hardback or paper: Both ISBN: 0-224-02786-7 Published: 1990 Publisher: Puffin Books Where to buy: Amazon, Ebay or WHSmiths