Saturday, September 29, 2012

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl ~ Quentin Blake ~ Jonathan Cape, 1982

Gotta love any book that begins...

I guess you think you know this story. 
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
And so starts the fractured fairy tale of Dahl's Cinderella, the first in six silly stories that make up a world of demonic, devilish fun. In Cinderella, we see our heroine become so disgusted when the prince lops off the heads of her sisters that she decides to shun the monarchy and instead settles down with a simple jam-maker. And lives happily ever after, I might add.
Next up, we peek in to see the giant at the top of the beanstalk eat Jack's mother; the seven dwarves as ex horse race jockeys with a betting streak; Baby Bear getting a taste of predigested porridge (still inside Goldilocks, wink wink); Little Red Riding Hood in a cloak of self-skinned wolf-coat, and finally, Little Red appearing again, crashing the story of The Three Little Pigs as a paid hit-man, slaying the wolf and ending with a twist...
Ah, Piglet, you must never trust
Young ladies from the upper crust.
For now, Miss Riding Hood, one notes,
Not only has two wolfskin coats,
But when she goes from place to place,

This one (along with its companion piece, Dirty Beasts) is so full of ridiculously raunchy fun, that it makes a great short-form introduction into the darker parts of Dahl. I love the juxtaposition below of the front and back covers. Simply sinister!

Also by:
Dirty Beasts
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Magic Finger
Danny Champion of the World
James and the Giant Peach ~ Michel Simeon version
James and the Giant Peach ~ Burkert version
Mouse Trouble


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Anonymous said...

awesome. I'd love to read it but I think it would freak my kids out. He's my favorite children's author and I've been reading his books since I was a child (read MOST of them anyway).

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

So great! I've been hankering after this one for awhile -- I need to get off my duff and just go get it!

Victoria Stitch said...

oh my goodness I used to LOVE this book when i was younger! I think I learnt all the rhymes by heart as i had it on audiobook!

esther said...

I got a Dutch translation (I'm in Holland) of this one at a library sale a wile ago, and when I look at this one I'm amazed at how good the translation is - just the right mix of literalness and poetic licence. Why don't they translate the grown-up books like this?

And I hadn't really noticed the picture on the back (as contrasted with the front) yet - thanks for pointing that out!

Nuno Alexandre Vieira said...

Great Roald Dahl book!

greg said...

Nice post. It shows how rich could a literature be in terms of translation.Through translating shows the rich blend of knowledge and culture in a society.Whether in Croatian translation or in any foreign language translation helps one to get acquainted with the thoughts, traditions, principles and actions of the people from the region.

Carlyn said...

I loved this book as a child. I loved the rhymes and humour. I still have the book somewhere and look forward to sharing it someday.

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