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Janet's Roald Dahl's Children's Books Challenge! **Completed**


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#41 Janet

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

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Matilda by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
Five-year old Matilda longs for her parents to be good and loving and understanding, but they are none of these things. They are perfectly horrid to her. Matilda invents a game of punishing them each time they treat her badly and she soon discovers she has supernatural powers.

Matilda is something of a child genius – but her parents just think of her as a noisy chatterbox. Left at home alone for long periods, Matilda teaches herself to read and is soon visiting the local library on a frequent basis. When she eventually attends school, her teacher, Miss Honey, recognises Matilda’s talent and wishes to nurture it. The headteacher Miss Trunchbull, however, has no time for children or for Matilda’s intelligence. As Miss Honey and Matilda bond, Matilda discovers the secret of Miss Honey’s past and resolves to help her – and along the way discovers some special powers that will allow her to do so.

I have seen the film version of this dozens of times and I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it wasn’t for my Dahl challenge – I found it to be very enjoyable. Matilda is a likeable child and The Trunchbull is a delicious villain! Although the film differs in that it is set in America, I think it was a good adaptation.

#42 EleanorT

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:36 PM

This is a great challenge Janet.
I love Roal Dahl, happy reading!

Edited by EleanorT, 28 December 2012 - 02:36 PM.


#43 Janet

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:09 AM

Thanks, Eleanor. I'm enjoying the challenge. :)

#44 Janet

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:46 AM

#10/22

 

024-2013-May-20-GoingSolo_zpsfd6e70cb.jp

Going Solo by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
Going Solo is the action-packed tale of Roald Dahl's exploits as a World War II pilot. Learn all about his encounters with the enemy, his worldwide travels, the life-threatening injuries he sustained in a plane accident, and the rest of his sometimes bizarre, often unnerving, and always colorful adventures. Told with the same irresistible appeal that has made Roald Dahl one of the world's best-loved writers, Going Solo brings you directly into the action and into the mind of this fascinating man.

A life is made up of a great number of small incidents, and a small number of great ones.

Going Solo follows on immediately from the first part of Dahl’s memoirs, Boy. Dahl has left school is now working for the oil company, Shell. His first job with them sends him to East Africa – Dar es Salaam - for a three year tour and the book opens with anecdotes about his life there with colonials and his ‘boy’ Mdisho. His trip to East Africa is cut short with the arrival of World War Two and Dahl enlists in the RAF and the book thereafter is taken up with tales from his experiences of the war.

I enjoyed the first part of the memoirs more than this part, but it was still interesting. I gather though that Dahl embellished an awful lot of what happened (some reports state that he was not, as the book suggests, unaccompanied when his plane came down), so maybe one shouldn’t take some of the wilder tales at face value. I really should read a biography about Dahl at some stage.

The paperback is 213 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1986. The ISBN number is 9780755335602.

3/5 (I liked it)

(Finished 20 May 2013)

 



#45 Janet

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:53 AM

#11/22

 

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The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
’Well, that did it!
I saw
red
And before I was able to
Stop myself
I did something I never meant to do.

I put the magic finger on them all!’


A fairly typical Dahl cautionary tale about a girl who dislikes the things her two friends and their family do and so casts a sort of spell on them with her magic finger. This was much shorter than I expected – the story is 57 pages long – 16 of the total page count at the end of the book are made up of facts about Dahl and his books. Clearly I’m not the target market here – it’s probably long enough for little ones but it was over rather quickly for me!

The paperback is 73 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1956. The ISBN number is 9780141346519.

2½/5 (I quite liked it - but it was over in a flash!)

(Finished 20 May 2013)


 



#46 Janet

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 01:31 PM

017-2014-Apr-01-TheWitches_zps3ddb4b53.j

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl

 

The ‘blurb’

A real witch gets the same pleasure from squelching a child as you get from eating a plateful of strawberries and thick cream.

 

What’s even more unnerving is that real witches don’t look like witches.  So how can you tell when you meet one?

 

You’ll find out all you need to know in this story about the most gruesome gang of witches imaginable, perfectly complemented with illustrations by Quentin Blake.  

 

I’ve seen the film version (which Dahl apparently thought ‘utterly appalling’ due to the changes made) of The Witches before, but this was my first read of the book. 

 

A young boy is warned of the dangers of witches by his grandmother.  She teaches him that witches are not green and they don’t have warts and they don’t wear pointy hats – they look like normal women.  But there are signs that give a witch away if you know what to look out for.  The boy and his grandmother have plans to visit Norway in the school holidays, but a bout of pneumonia means that his grandmother is not well enough to travel abroad, so instead they go to a hotel in Bournemouth, where it will be quiet and restful. For nothing untoward could possible happen at a sleepy English hotel, could it…?

 

After reading this, I can see why Dahl didn’t like the film version.  I won’t go into why here, as there would be too many spoilers for both book and film.  Suffice to say that I enjoyed both, despite the changes.  Had I not seen the film first then maybe I wouldn’t have liked it so much?  The Witches is not my favourite Dahl book by any means, but I did enjoy it.

 

The paperback edition is 208 pages long and is published by Penguin.  It was first published in 1983.  The ISBN is 9780140317305.   

 

3½/5 (I enjoyed it)

 

(Finished 01 April 2014)



#47 Janet

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 07:12 PM

Well it's been a while since I posted in here!  I read The Vicar of Nibbleswicke today.  That takes my total to 16/22.  

 

I'm not quite sure what to do about Revolting Rhymes, Dirty Beasts and Rhyme Stew - I hadn't appreciated that they were baby picture books so I may exclude them.

 

Edit:  Oh, and The Gremlins is very expensive, so that may prove a problem. 


Edited by Janet, 14 August 2015 - 08:00 PM.


#48 Janet

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 07:49 PM

I'm not quite sure what to do about Revolting Rhymes, Dirty Beasts and Rhyme Stew - I hadn't appreciated that they were baby picture books so I may exclude them.
 
Edit:  Oh, and The Gremlins is very expensive, so that may prove a problem.

I thought I'd posted recently, but clearly not!

 

I bit the bullet and went to one of my local libraries and managed to find Revolting Rhymes and Rhyme Stew.  I haven't reviewed them yet but I scored them 3/5 and 2/5 respectively.  Clearly I'm not the target audience. I think I'd have enjoyed reading these to my kids. 

 

Aside from The Gremlin which I'm unlikely to be able to read, I have Dirty Beasts, The Minpins and Danny, the Champion of the World left to read.  I have the latter on my 'to read' pile but I'm saving it until last!  :D



#49 Janet

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 05:23 PM

Book 19/22

 

031-2016-Apr-10-Revolting%20Rhymes_zps9s

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
Six of the best-loved nursery tales, retold with surprising and sometimes disgusting twists! Wicked beasts, brazen crooks and a ghastly giant star in these hilarious nursery rhymes with BITE. So if you thought Cinderella married the prince and lived happily ever after, you'd better think again...

This is one of Dahl’s books aimed at very young children – he takes famous children’s stories and puts a dark spin on them in rhyme form. The book features versions of tales including Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the Three Little Pigs.

The book is amusing, but of course, I’m not the target audience. I expect I’d have enjoyed this when I was five or six and if I’d read Dahl as a child I’m sure I’d have read this to my own children. However, it didn’t really do much for me. I wish I’d read these last ones at the beginning of my challenge rather than at the end. At least I still have one of his older children’s books left to try!

Revolting%20Rhymes%201_zpsmi5sowmr.jpg

The paperback edition is 48 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1982. The ISBN is 9780141350370.

2½/5 (I quite enjoyed it)

(Finished 10 April 2016)

 



#50 Athena

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 05:51 AM

I hadn't heard of this one, it's not in my 'Roald Dahl Collection Box Set'. Shame it wasn't as good as some of the other Roald Dahl books. Which one(s) are your favourites (so far)?

#51 Janet

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 08:21 PM

I hadn't heard of this one, it's not in my 'Roald Dahl Collection Box Set'. Shame it wasn't as good as some of the other Roald Dahl books. Which one(s) are your favourites (so far)?

Whoops - I totally missed this.  Sorry.  :)

 

My favourites have been Boy (memoir) and Esio Trot, both 5/5, George's Marvellous Medicine - 4½/5  and Fantastic Mr Fox and Matilda (both 4/5).  My least favourite was Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator which I hated.  :blush:

 

I still have Danny, the Champion of the World to read.  :)



#52 Athena

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 06:23 AM

Those are some great titles! I wasn't a big fan of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator either, I much preferred Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I hope you enjoy Danny, the Champion of the World :).

#53 Janet

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 09:58 PM

Book 20/22

 

034-2016-Apr-24-Rhyme%20Stew_zpsh50dx2go
 
 
Rhyme Stew by Roald Dahl
 
The ‘blurb’
A collection of irreverant rhymes featuring characters from fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes - as you've never seen them before! From the tortoise and the hare and Hansel and Gretel to Ali Baba and Aladdin, these traditional stories will never seem the same again once you have had a taste of Roald Dahl's hilarious verse and Quentin Blake's suitably lively illustrations.
 
An inventive collection for older children and adults alike, Rhyme Stew bubbles over with Roald Dahl's extraordinary humour and imagination.

 
Another Dahl Challenge book.  More Rhymes for young children along the lines of:
 

Hey diddle diddle

We’re all on the fiddle

And never get up until noon.

We only take cash

Which we carefully stash,

And we work by the light of the moon.

 
With Quentin Blake’s usual illustrations.
 
Rhyme%20Stew_zpsqixj4q3u.jpg
 
I haven’t much to say about this book apart from the fact that it was mildly amusing but that’s because I’m definitely not the target audience. 
 
The paperback edition is 96 pages long and is published by Puffin.  It was first published in 1989.   The ISBN is 9780141346670.  
 
2/5 (It was okay)
 
(Finished 24 April 2016)



#54 Athena

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 04:29 AM

I've not heard of this one, it's not in my Roald Dahl collection boxset. Shame it wasn't so great for adults.

#55 Janet

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:14 PM

I've not heard of this one, it's not in my Roald Dahl collection boxset. Shame it wasn't so great for adults.

Sorry, Gaia, I missed your post.  I think it's inevitable as this was for very young children.  I really should have read these ones first.  :)



#56 Janet

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:19 PM

038-2016-May-12-The%20Minpins_zps2doirnm
 

The Minpins by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
Little Billy doesn't really believe there are monsters in the wood, but the red-hot smoke-belching gruncher is real enough, and so are the tiny minpins, whose minature world is in danger.
 

"Beware! Beware! The Forest of Sin! None come out, but many go in!"


With this warning from his mother ringing in his ears, Billy leaves the house and enters the forbidden forest where untold dangers lurk. When pursued by one of the monsters he was warned about, he takes refuge up a tree where he discovers that he isn’t the only person hiding there. Maybe, with help, Billy can make things better and make it home…

I enjoyed this cautionary tale from the master of such stories, despite not being the target audience. This book was not illustrated by Quentin Blake like most of Dahl’s books – instead the illustrator is Patrick Benson. He’s not an illustrator I’m familiar with but I thought he did a good job. I don’t have much else to say about it!

The paperback edition is 48 pages long and is published by Puffin. It was first published in 1991. The ISBN is 9780141501789.

3/5 (I enjoyed it)

(Finished 12 May 2016)
 

 



#57 Athena

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 06:39 AM

I hadn't heard of this one either. I'm glad you liked it.

#58 Janet

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 07:34 PM

Thanks, Gaia  :)

 

041-2016-May-16-Dirty%20Beasts_zpss7i6kv

 

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl

 

The ‘blurb’

A collection of (mainly) grisly beasts out for human blood, ranging from Gocky-Wock the crocodile to Sting-A-Ling the scorpion. Described in verse with all Dahl's usual gusto and illustrated in suitably lurid style by Quentin Blake.

 

Just the usual, really – not my thing as I’m far removed from the target audience! 

 

2/5 (Okay)

 

(Finished 16 May 2016)



#59 Janet

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:03 PM

050-2016-Jul-06%20-%20Gremlins_zpscaggbz

Gremlins by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
The Gremlins is the story of Gus, a British World War II fighter pilot, who during the Battle of Britain turned to look out on the wing of his plane only to see an amazing sight: a little man, no more than six inches tall with horns growing from his head, drilling a hole in the plane's wing. Gus was the first man to ever see a Gremlin, and what happened after that would change the war, and the world, forever. Bought by Walt Disney to be produced as an animated motion picture (and considered to be the first story featuring the mythical airplane sabotaging creatures known as Gremlins), the project was ultimately shelved and is reprinted here for the first time in over 60 years.

I managed to borrow a copy of this, the first book by Roald Dahl, as it’s out of print and second hand copies are very expensive.

The Gremlins are small creatures who live in the woods, but when their home is destroyed in order to build an aircraft factory, they swear that there will be severe reprisals. Pilot Gus’s plane is sabotaged by them. Can he manage to persuade them that they should unite and fight Hitler and the Nazis, or are the Gremlins too bent on revenge to listen...

The paperback edition is 56 pages long and was republished by Dark Horse in 2006 but is out of print. It was first published in 1943. The ISBN is 9781593074968.

2½/5 (It was okay)

(Finished 6 July 2016)



#60 Janet

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 03:50 PM

054-2016-Jul-21%20-%20Danny%20the%20Cham

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

The ‘blurb’
Danny lives in a gipsy caravan with his father, the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had.
All the land around them belongs to Mr Victor Hazell, a rich snob with a great glistening beery face and tiny piggy eyes. Nobody likes him, not one-little bit. So one day, Danny and his father concoct a daring plot that will give the old blue-faced baboon Victor Hazell the greatest shock of his life - so long as they don't get caught ...


Danny lives with his father in a caravan behind the garage where his father works. Danny’s mother died when he was a child but his father does a great job of bringing him up. Financially they are not rich, but what they lack in money, they more than make up for in happiness. When Danny is nine he discovers that his father has a secret – he poaches pheasants from the unpleasant Mr Hazell’s land. But poaching is not without its pitfalls and it will be up to Danny to save the day…

This book brings to a close my challenge to read all of Dahl’s books aimed at children plus his two biographies, Boy and Going Solo.

I felt that this had a different feel from the other children’s books – it was much more believable somehow. I liked Danny and his father – and the villain of the piece was wonderfully dislikeable. I’m sure if I’d read this as a child I would have loved it. Reading as an adult, it wasn’t my favourite of Dahl’s books but I definitely feel I left one of the best until last.

The paperback edition is 240 pages long and was published by Puffin. It was first published in 1975. The ISBN is 9780141365411.

4/5 (I really enjoyed it)

(Finished 21 July 2016)

 






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