September 13th is Roald Dahl Day!
We’ve just started reading Roald Dahl’s books, some of which I read as a child. We loved George’s Marvellous Medicine and have just enjoyed reading Esio Trot. I didn’t know this story although I knew that Esio Trot is tortoise spelled backwards.
The Story: Mr Hoppy is in love with Mrs Silver who lives in the flat below him with her beloved tortoise. To Mrs Silver’s consternation Alfie never seems to get any bigger so Mr Hoppy visits several pet shops and comes up with a cunning plan to help Alfie ‘grow’. Mr Hoppy hopes that Mrs Silver will be so happy when her pet grows that she will fall in love with him. But does his plan work?
Although we don’t condone Mr Hoppy’s deceit (his plan involves replacing Alfie with larger tortoises) we can understand why his loneliness and unrequited love for Mrs Silver leads him to try and make her happy. My daughter’s favourite part of the story is when Mr Hoppy leans over his balcony and swaps the small tortoise for a bigger one. Mrs Silver doesn’t suspect a thing even when ‘Alfie’ gets too big for his house but Mr Hoppy comes up with a second plan to ensure that no modifications to ‘Alfie’s’ house are needed!
The text is easy to read, we read the book in one sitting. It also includes the verses that Mr Hoppy writes for Mrs Silver to recite to Alfie on a daily basis so that he will grow. Starting with Esio Trot, Esio Trot Mr Hoppy writes a verse with the words written backwards, they’re fun to read and decipher. Quentin Blake’s illustrations complement the humour in the story and show Mr Hoppy putting his plans into action, we love the expressions on Mrs Silver’s face as she watches the bigger ‘Alfie’ trying to get into his house.
Esio Trot is a gentle, easy to read, humorous story and is a great to introduction to Roald Dahl’s work. It would be fun to give Mr Hoppy’s backwards verses to children before you read the story and see if they can decipher their meaning. They could then try writing their own verses backwards.
Do you have a favourite Roald Dahl story?