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My daughter is now at an age where she can start to appreciate the books that I can remember reading in my youth, in all fairness she is a lot younger than I was when starting to read Roald Dahl, but they all seem more grown up than we ever did!!
I know most mothers like to brag about their children, how wonderful they are, how clever and talented, but my daughter is well above average for her age and I feel sometimes that she needs pushing with slightly more adventurous text. The first step was to pick a book that would hold her interest but would be more challenging than the books she brings back from school, I came across this wonderful box set of Roald Dahl classics, and felt it was the perfect step up.
~~~~~~ THE BOOKS ~~~~~~
This set comprises of ten paperback versions of Roald Dahl's better known books, they are all very brightly coloured and held in a cardboard box, with a picture of Charlie and Willy Wonka, from "Charlie and the chocolate factory", on the sides with the caption, " Roald Dahl, the most original and inventive children's writer of our times",written across the top , ( a statement I wholeheartedly agree with!).The picture featured above the review is a ciao one, and not entirely accurate!
BOOK ONE - Georges marvellous medicine, is a book about a wonderful and imaginative little boy, who one day is left to keep an eye on his miserable and cantankerous old grandma. The only things he is asked to do by his mother is to bring the occasional cup of tea and to serve a single serving of his grandma's medicine at eleven am. The book is about how, George decides to try and make his grandma a little nicer and not so rotten by concocting his own version of her medicine, and all the side effects that could go with it!!
My daughter loves this one, she howls every time the grandma is mentioned, especially at all the horrible and disgusting things she says, she particularly loves it when grandma talks about finding earwigs in lettuce leaves and how she gobbles them down before they get away!!!
BOOK TWO - Charlie and the chocolate factory, is one of my favourites from childhood, the story is about an eccentric man named Willy Wonka and his amazing sweet factory. The story is about a competition that is run to allow five children to enter and view his previously unseen "chocolate factory", the winners are chose by five golden tickets hidden in five chocolate bars. The main character is Charlie who against all odds is one of the lucky five to find a golden ticket, the rest of the book is set inside the factory and all the incredible and unbelievable things they see!
This book is so appealing to children due to the sheer volume of sweets featured in the book, also the actual factory is cast more of a wonderland when entered, very appealing!
BOOK THREE - Esio Trot, is not a book I am that familiar with, the basic jist of the story is based around a very shy man who falls in love with a kind woman, and are eventually brought together by a tortoise. The story centres around a man whose obsession with tortoises leads him to his true love, my daughter enjoyed this book, especially the so-called "tortoise language", which is in fact English but reversed!!
Again this is cleverly written book, if somewhat short, it's only 57 pages long.
BOOK FOUR - Danny, the champion of the world is probably a little too old for my daughter, but I remember this book vividly, never before had I read a book that made my heart race, as this one did. The story centres around Danny, a young boy who idolises his father, even working with him at the garage his father is employed at. Until one day his father lets him in on the deepest darkest secret of his life, after discovering his fathers illegal activities by night, helps his father out after he is injured…….. I have made it sound more like an adults book, but is actually a rather wonderful explanation of a hobby that many of us wouldn't deem as illegal, but in this case is actually the thing that puts food on the table! I'm sorry, I won't divulge any more information then that as it spoils the whole mystery of the first few chapters!
BOOK FIVE - The giraffe and the pelly and me, is again one of the shorter books, but is just as good as one of the longer ones. The story starts with the building over the road from Billy, (which has been derelict for sometime) being bought and turned into the head quarters of a new window cleaning business, the difference is that the cleaners are actually a giraffe and a pelican. The company's selling point was, because the giraffe is so tall there would be no need for ladders and so stopping any dirty ladder marks up against the houses! The ensuing story is how Billy befriends them and all the adventures they have together. There is some lovely rhyming in this book, so is half and half story and poems.
BOOK SIX - The Twits, was the first book my daughter chose to read, it is about two disgusting and vile people who are dirty and horrible to boot. They play terrible tricks on each other, they detest children, they never wash and they have an awful way of catching birds for Mrs Twits bird pie, the story is about the wonderful trick that the imprisoned muggle wump monkeys and roly-poly bird play on them! Again this is a cleverly written story, with the descriptions of "the Twits", being so vivid at times actually turn your stomach!
BOOK SEVEN - Matilda is the story of a very clever little girl, who through neglect from her parents becomes a very grown up child who has learned to take care of herself, she longs to learn and has a real thirst for knowledge, she ( after a lot of badgering to her parents),starts attending her local school which is run by the spiteful Miss Trunchbull, she soon discovers that she has a special power and the ability to get the better of all who have been mean to her and discovers there are people out there who would welcome her as their child. Another highly recommended book, with a touch of the mystical about it!
BOOK EIGHT - James and the giant peach, is again about a child badly neglected by his guardians( his parents were eaten previously by an angry rhinoceros!) , his aunts Spiker and Sponge, who beat him and starve him. His luck changes when he meets a magic man who gives him a bag of crocodile tongues, which in turn results in an adventure inside a giant peach, I know sounds very far fetched but this is Roald Dahl you know!!
BOOK NINE - The witches, actually frightened me a little as a child, which I suppose in hindsight is what its meant to do! Witches are females who look like you and me, but have an uncontrollable hatred of children, this story is how a young boy and his grandmamma (who says she has previous knowledge of these terrible creatures), gets caught up in the biggest witch convention and inadvertently find out about a plan to rid the world of all children. The ensuing story is how they try to stop the dastardly plot!! This is a great if not a little scary story, I won't let my daughter read this one just yet!!
BOOK TEN - Going solo, is the second part of Roald Dahls autobiography, following on from "boy", and accounts Dahl's first job in Africa and his wartime exploits, including his amazing survival from a plane crash in the Libyan dessert. I am sure many people have read and enjoyed this book, as for myself it was and probably is just too grown up for my tastes!!!
~~~~~~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~~~~~~
This set retails at £54.00, but was purchased from "the book people", www.thebookpeople.co.uk, for the sum of £10.00, I know, I know a bloody bargain!! All the afore mentioned books and many more are available from www.penguin.com.
This is a wonderful set and I would recommend it to all!