Esio Trot – by Roald Dahl

24 01 2016

The BBC did a lovely adaptation of this last Christmas, which I re-watched on iPlayer the other day, and remembered that a while back, I’d been working through Roald Dahl’s books, but somewhere that fizzled out, and this is one I never read. Having finished another book this afternoon, this one I read in probably five minutes or less, but it’s lovely.

To be honest, I much preferred the book to the TV version, lovely as it was. The TV version added in unnecessary complications in the plot, and extra characters which I guess allowed them to lengthen it to 90min, but the concept is beautifully simple, and the book works wonderfully.

Mr Hoppy is in love with Mrs Silver who lives in the flat below him, but is too shy to tell her. When he finds out that she would just love her pet tortoise to grow a bit, he comes up with a plan to gradually swap him up in size, bit by bit over several weeks, while she thinks it’s the work of some magic words he’s given her – too cute!

esio trot





Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl

8 04 2013

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

While working out what to read that could compete with The Hunger Games, I thought I may as well do another Roald Dahl! It’s only 82 pages so I did it in about 2 sittings over Sunday afternoon, but still a great story! Yes it encourages stealing and drinking…. but only in a sense of finding something to eat when your whole family is starving – the book tells us that it’s ok to thieve in that case!

fantastic mr fox

A couple of years ago a film was made of this book. I don’t know if it’s just me but I really didn’t like it – the animation style made the film look like it was 20 years old! They also added a lot to the plot – although I suppose you have to for such a short book… here’s the trailer, if you’ve read the book, see what you think!





The Magic Finger – by Roald Dahl

31 01 2013

I’ve leant my other Hunger Games books out, so grabbed the next Roald Dahl book in the series while I wait! This one is so short, only 50 odd pages, and lots of that is illustrations! I thought I’d never read it before, but as I got about halfway through I realised I definitely knew the story.

Utterly brilliant, hardly about the finger at all, but about a family that shoots ducks, and how they are punished by the finger…. Easy to read in one sitting, definitely recommended for a quick laugh!

the magic finger





Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – by Roald Dahl

20 01 2013

This is the second book I’ve finished this week! Although I guess you can see why…!

charlie and the chocolate factory

Such a classic though, it deserves to be read lots! And as happened when I read James and the Giant Peach last year, I found bits I couldn’t remember in the slightest! There’s a fantastic chapter about square sweets that look round:

[from chapter 23 – Square sweets that look round]
On the table there were rows and rows of small white square-shaped
sweets. The sweets looked very much like square sugar lumps – except that each of them
had a funny little pink face painted on one side. At the end of the table, a number of
Oompa-Loompas were busily painting more faces on more sweets.
‘There you are!’ cried Mr Wonka. ‘Square sweets that look round!’
‘They don’t look round to me,’ said Mike Teavee.
‘They look square,’ said Veruca Salt. ‘They look completely square.’
‘But they are square,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘I never said they weren’t.’
‘You said they were round!’ said Veruca Salt.
‘I never said anything of the sort,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘I said they looked round.’
‘But they don’t look round!’ said Veruca Salt.’ They look square!’
‘They look round,’ insisted Mr Wonka.
‘They most certainly do not look round!’ cried Veruca Salt.
‘Veruca, darling,’ said Mrs Salt, ‘pay no attention to Mr Wonka! He’s lying to you!’
‘My dear old fish,’ said Mr Wonka, ‘go and boil your head!’
‘How dare you speak to me like that!’ shouted Mrs Salt.
‘Oh, do shut up,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘Now watch this!’
He took a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door, and flung it open … and suddenly … at the sound of the door opening, all the rows of little square sweets looked quickly round to see who was coming in. The tiny faces actually turned towards the door and stared at Mr Wonka.
‘There you are!’ he cried triumphantly. ‘They’re looking round! There’s no argument about it! They are square sweets that look round!’

These days it’s hard to read it without picture both of the big films that have been made of it.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 1971

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – 2005

It’s rare for a remake to ever live up to the original, but in this case, in so many ways, the newer film is much closer to the book than the old film. I guess the other film changed it’s title but it’s still the same story. In the newer film, the Oompa Loompas use the ‘correct’ words for their songs (although the classic oopma loompa doopa de doo from the old film will remain a classic!), and Veruca Salt has the same story as in the book, whereas they changed the squirrels for geese in the old film! The old film also had a scene where Charlie and his Grandpa were caught breaking rules, which just isn’t in Charlie’s character, or the book, and a whole plot with Arthur Slugworth trying to get each child to steal a recipe. Not that the newer film was perfect! Willy Wonka seemed high as a kite for half of it, and there was a whole plotline about his relationship with his father who was a dentist, which was totally surreal.

At the end of the day though, they’re both fab films – the old has some beautiful songs in it (other than the oompa loompa songs! (check out pure imagination and the candyman can) And I’d highly recommend watching both of them – and reading the book of course!

But really, one film has a chocolate waterfall and river that look like thin hot chocolate, the other that looks like proper melted chocolate – which would you rather?!

charlie and the chocolate factory-a

charlie and the chocolate factory-b





The rest of my 2012 reading

30 12 2012

I’ve only read 2 books since May, one took a few days, the other a few months! Guess which way round that was….

James and the Giant PeachRoald Dahl

james and the giant peach

As a child I don’t think I ever read this. I’ve actually found a Roald Dahl Box Set cheaply as I think I only read one of the books as a child, though I did see the film version of a few! Reading it there were whole chunks I’d never heard before, the cloud men was something totally new to me, although the songs of the centipede etc were as familiar as if I’d seen the film yesterday 🙂

Mere ChristianityC.S. Lewis

mere christianity

I bought this book a couple of years ago after hearing several recommendations, and so made a start on it this summer. The preface and foreward took me forever to read, but as soon as I started the actual book I saw why everyone raved about it so much! If you plan on reading this, I’d definitely recommend skipping the preface and foreward! The book is based on the radio broadcasts he made in the war, and is full of written illustrations (sorry, I just spent ages trying to think of a better phrase than that and utterly failed – let me know if you think of the words I meant!!) to help the reader understands his concepts and ideas and really manages to make a lot of sense with them.
There was one point I was reading it and had to double take as he said something quite unexpected, but that aside, it’s a very good book to read through and make you think!

There you go, one day left of 2012 and I’ve managed the 12 books – onto 2013 and lets see if I can beat that! (I’ll limit the Roald Dahl’s or I could read several!)

What books have you read and loved in 2012?