The Twits by Roald Dahl
I do believe that my local library are convinced that I am an eight year old child based on my reading habits lately. You have probably heard me mention (one or twice, a thousand) that I live in a small house. So I have to be especially careful when it comes to what books I have in the house just because we don't have the room to store them. This means I tend to buy physical copies of books I want to keep forever or have sentimental attachment to. For everything else I tend to use the kindle or the library. With lockdown in place, our physical libraries have been shut. But our library has come up with an ingenious solution to problem; the Libby app. In our local area, users with a library card and a pin can access 15 titles to borrow for 21 days. This can then be read on a smartphone or tablet.
Whilst I know a number of you will still own your much loved copies of the Roald Dahl stories, I just don't have the room. But it is still lovely to revisit them for the BBC Big Read Challenge.
Coming in at #81 on BBC Big Read is Roald Dahl's novel The Twits. First published in 1980 this is illustrated throughout by the wonderful illustrations of Quentin Blake. The Twits, a pair of retired circus trainers live in a house with no windows and keep a family of monkeys, The Muggle-Wumps, who they train to be part of the world's first upside down circus.
They also spend their days playing the most ghastly tricks on one another. Alongside this they enjoy catching the birds for 'bird-pie' by sticking glue on the branches of the birds' favourite tree. When the Roly-Poly bird visits the Muggle-Wumps they get their heads together to turn the tables once and for all on the evil, vindictive Twits.
I can already picture my seven year old self enjoying this novel. It is positively horrid, the tricks are vile and at the end the Twits get their comeuppance in the most gruesome of ways. Kid's will love it!! When I was a children's buyer for the shop, my predecessor gave me a wonderful piece of advice, 'the more gruesome the book, knock the quantity up and if it has knickers in the title, order at least 20'. Sage advice. Children love the gruesome.
As ever Dahl's use of language is poetic. The gibberish words are made sensible as you are drawn into the imagination of Roald Dahl. Dahl speaks to children as an equal and I do believe this is a factor in why his books have been so successful. The first chapter is devoted to how horrid beards are on men and in particular Mr Twit. I was interested to find out that Dahl hated beards and decided to share his thoughts about this in his story. (Me I don't mind them at all!)
This book would be perfect for children of seven years and upwards. As I say they will love it!!