If you’ve ever read the books “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “James and the Giant Peach” then you pretty well know the magical worlds Roald Dahl has created. I loved the books the movies and everything associated with the two books mentioned and when my son was learning to read I made sure to read him the books and watch the movies as he got older. I was aware of other titles by Dahl but just never took the time, that is until recently. The recent excursion into the writings of Roald Dahl is all thanks to Penguin Audio. Penguin has recently released all of Dahl’s stories in excellent audiobook form. Each book is rather short and perfect company for my commutes to work and any other trip I need to make.
This book is a collection of three short stories, each named in the title. Each story is read by a different person and each of the readers is able to deliver the story in the perfect mix that is fun for kids to hear and yet still able to be absorbed by any adult. As an adult I could I could fully appreciate the language used in the story-telling and the energy used by the readers made for a fun enthusiastic group of tales that could entertain all ages.
The first story, “The Twits,” tells the story of Mr. and Mrs Twit, who are the “smelliest, nastiest and ugliest people in the world.” They hate everything, including each other. They are constantly playing tricks on each other, most of them are pretty mean. One of the best pranks is when Mrs. Twit puts her glass eye in Mr. Twits glass of beer. On top of being mean to each other they are mean to animals. They catch birds in ruthless ways to make their bird pies and they make their caged monkeys, the Muggle Wumps, stand on their Heads all day. One day the birds and the Muggle-Wumps have had it and seek revenge.
The next story is that of “The Minpins.” The Minpins are tiny people that live in the forest and are forced to travel from one community to another by leaping from branch to branch, or flying on the backs of birds for long distances, because on the ground lives the fire-breathing Gruncher. The Gruncher eats Minpins so ground travel is impossible for Minpins. One day Little Billy finds himself lost in the forest and soon is terrorized by the Gruncher. Billy’s only means of escape is to climb the tree. Once in the tree Billy learns of the Minpins and their dilemma. Soon Billy develops a plan to rid the forest of the Gruncher and becomes a friend for life to the Minpins
This last story is one of the strangest but entertaining nonetheless. “The Magic Finger” is about the Gregg family and the girl next door gets them to see the error in their ways by using her magic finger. The Greggs are passionate about hunting and find it fun to kill birds, the girl is horrified by this and pleads with them to stop killing the birds. When all they do is laugh she has no choice but to teach them a lesson. So the next morning they find themselves changed into birds and are forced to live in a nest while the birds that once inhabited the nest now live in their home and break out the firearms to rid their house of the annoying Gregg-birds.
Three great stories that are fun for all ages.