THE TWITS by Quentin Blake

THE TWITS

illustrated by , by

KIRKUS REVIEW

The nasty streak that lurks in Dahl's stories for adults and children comes out with a vengeance in his characterization of Mr. and Mrs. Twit and the nasty tricks they play on one another. Dahl's first sentence--"What a lot of hairy-faced men there are around nowadays"--might suggest that the manuscript has been sitting in a drawer for a decade; but if so it hasn't mellowed. Dahl will lose most reading-aloud adults straight off with his description of all the disgusting leftovers more or less permanently lodged in bathless Mr. Twit's beard. Ugly Mrs. Twit with her ugly thoughts is no more attractive. She puts her glass eye in her husband's beer glass and "cackles" (she would cackle) "I told you I was watching you. I've got eyes everywhere." He in turn puts a frog in her bed. She feeds him worms for spaghetti. He, borrowing an old ploy, gradually builds up her walking stick so she'll think she is shrinking. To cure her of the purported "shrinks" he subjects her to a stretching--which, however, backfires for him. Then Dalai turns to the birds, whom Mr. Twit catches for his pies by putting glue on their tree branches. The Twits also keep a family of monkeys they train to perform upside down. At last the birds and monkeys do in the Twits with an ingenious punishment that fits their crimes. Dahl describes all this unredeemed viciousness with a spirited, malevolent glee that plays shamelessly, and no doubt successfully, to kids' malicious impulses and unmerciful sense of justice.
Pub Date: March 1st, 1981
ISBN: 014241039X
Page count: 76pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1981




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