I loved Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes as a child and couldn’t wait to share them with my daughter. Unfortunately we missed watching Revolting Rhymes when they were shown on TV in the UK at Christmas but we love reading the book which includes Quentin Blake’s inimitable illustrations.
The Revolting Rhymes:
- Cinderella: Cinderella discovers that the prince is prone to behaviour that she doesn’t particularly admire!
- Jack and the Beanstalk: Jack discovers that soap is the secret to outwitting a giant!
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: Snow White puts the Queen’s mirror to ‘good’ use to help the dwarves make some money.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Goldilock’s crimes are listed but Big Bear finds a suitable punishment for her.
- Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf: The wolf is no match for Little Red Riding Hood in this version of the story!
- The Three Little Pigs: The third little pig enlists Red Riding Hood’s help to get rid of the wolf but can he really trust her?
When you read the history of various fairytales they are often quite frightening but tamer versions have been written so as not to scare children. Whilst we don’t find Revolting Rhymes particularly scary they are quite gruesome (which children love!) and are often quite immoral with characters being shot, beheaded, encouraged to eat others and taking part in gambling activities.
If you’re a lover of fractured fairytales Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes will make you laugh. The humour is very dark but the stories are written in a very original way and Quentin Blake’s illustrations compliment the rhyming text perfectly, he must have had such fun illustrating them! There is lots in the pictures to laugh at – Little Red Riding Hood lying on her sofa reading Vogue, Jack’s mother climbing the beanstalk and the prince ‘dealing with’ Cinderella’s sister are among our favourites.
The female protagonists are portrayed as strong, decisive women, Cinderella sticks to her principles when she discovers the real truth about the prince, the way that Snow White helps the dwarves is extremely original but also pretty immoral whilst Goldilocks is portrayed as a dastardly crook who deserves the punishment that Big Bear advocates! And then there’s Little Red Riding Hood who is not afraid to use violence if necessary!
‘The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She whips a pistol from her knickers.’
It’s hard to pick a favourite rhyme, they all make us laugh! Do you have a favourite Revolting Rhyme?
Author: Roald Dahl / Illustrator: Quentin Blake