ROALD DAHL'S REVOLTING RHYMES by Quentin Blake

ROALD DAHL'S REVOLTING RHYMES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Let's admit it, you won't get through these airy fairy-tale revisions with a straight face. You'll find no deep psychological meanings or sly social comment in Dahl's irreverent butchery; instead Dahl, in his blithely frivolous and childishly naughty way, raises the literal and moralistic questions that occur to many an unenchanted young audience: How could the giant "smell" an Englishman? Simple. Jack never took a bath. He washed himself clean for his second trip up the beanstalk and the giant slept through his gold-gathering. (Jack's mother, meanwhile, has climbed the stalk and ended up in the giant's belly. "I had a hunch that she was smelly," says Jack.) As for Goldilocks, "that brazen little crook" with no regard for antique chairs finally gets what's coming to her. Imagine the bears' position: "No sooner are you down the road/Than Goldilocks, that little toad,/That nosey thieving little louse/Comes sneaking in your empty house." If you want resourceful, independent heroines, though, here they are. Far from slumbering in wait for her prince, Snow White steals the queen's magic mirror and with it helps her seven little men ("Ex-horse-race jockeys, all of them") make a killing at the track. Little Red Riding Hood needs no hunter to dispatch the wolf; she "whips a pistol from her knickers" and ends up with a wolfskin coat. But beware--"Ah, Piglet, you must never trust/Young ladies from the upper crust"--when the third little pig calls on Red Riding Hood for help, she ends up with a second wolfskin coat and a pigskin traveling case. Blake's bloodless decapitation, wolf tongue on pig tail, and well-mannered, well-fed Little Bear are just a few obvious manifestations of his own relish for mischief.
Pub Date: April 15th, 1983
ISBN: 0375815562
Page count: 43pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1983




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