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  • gilwilson 5:35 PM on March 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , giants, roald dahl, ,   

    The BFG By: Roald Dahl 

    The BFG17415176
    By: Roald Dahl
    Narrated by: David Walliams
    Length: 4 hrs and 25 mins
    Release date: 06-24-13
    Publisher: Listening Library

    To start things off let’s get one thing clear; The BFG is not the name of a weapon in a video game. The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant. This book was extremely fun to read. The language is pretty much a cross between cockney English and nonsense. Roald Dahl was great at playing with the sounds of words here we get such words as chiddlers, swollomp, whizbangs and so much more. The play on words just makes this so much more fun to hear.

    Narrated by David Williams this audiobook version will definitely keep you entertained. There is no voice to large or too small for him to convey. He also puts some great accents on some voices that make them just fun to listen to.

    You’ll cheer for Sophie and the BFG as they keep London safe from other giants that eat little chiddlers. This book reminded me a lot of “Willie Wonka and the Cocolate Factory.” In Willie Wonka it was the candies and strange animals that had the funny sounding names, here nearly everything described by the giant is a new word which you will have fun translating.

    If you are looking for 4 hours of pure fun, this is the book for you. Follow Sophie as she is kidnapped through her bedroom window and meets with the Queen of England through the Queen’s bedroom window.

    Enjoy.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Captured by a giant!

    The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants – rather than the BFG – she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

    ©1982 Roald Dahl (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 5:27 PM on March 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , roald dahl,   

    Matilda By: Roald Dahl 

    Matilda17415174
    By: Roald Dahl
    Narrated by: Kate Winslet
    Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
    Unabridged
    Release date: 06-13-13
    Language: English
    Publisher: Listening Library

    I think I may have become addicted to Roald Dahl. Listening library has released most if not all of Dahl’s stories in audiobook form that just makes the books so much fun. On top of that it brought to my attention that he wrote more than “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” and “James & the Giant Peach.” Those were the only two I had known, but now I have been introduced to a world of other great writings by Roald Dahl.

    This book I had heard of and actually saw the movie before I read this. I’m glad I saw the movie first because I would have been let down. As in all movies from books there is so much more to the story. The big difference that I loved in the book is that Matilda reads a lot of books. It’s always great when you can have a character that likes to read in a children/young adult book. This will help push them into reading more. The movie had a lot of things wrong, but that was the one thing I would have liked to have seen in the movie.

    Kate Winslet narrates this hilarious adventure and does so without error. Kate made you feel as if you were an eavesdropper in Matilda’s life. Great delivery with a humor where needed.

    Explore Roald Dahl, he’s got lots of fun stuff.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Audie Award Winner, Children’s Titles for Ages 8-12, 2014

    “The Trunchbull” is no match for Matilda!

    Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

    ©1988 Roald Dahl (P)2013 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 5:35 PM on March 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , derek jacobi, roald dahl   

    George’s Marvelous Medicine By: Roald Dahl 

    George’s Marvelous Medicine17707580
    By: Roald Dahl
    Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
    Length: 1 hr and 36 mins
    Release date: 09-26-13
    Publisher: Listening Library

    Back to some more fun. It’s another Roald Dahl audiobook release. These are great short books that will keep you entertained, oh and maybe your kids as well. Dahl has a way with playful events and characters and this time is no different. This time an 8 year old gets revenge on his cranky grandmother. I do have one gripe with this book, but will save that for the end of this review.

    First I have to start with the book’s narrator, Derek Jacobi. It was a surprise to get such a high caliber British classical actor to read the books. He must have had fun narrating this book, because it was so much fun listening to him. Great delivery on this. I’m not sure why, but I got a real kick hearing the British pronunciation of medicine. It is pronounced as a 2 syllable word – Med-sin.

    So what’s going on in the book? While 8-year-old George’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kranky, are out running errands, George’s grandmother bosses him around and bullies him. So to get back at her he creates a medicine out of household (and garage) chemicals then when he gives it to her she grows so tall she bursts through the roof. She can’t believe George did this, so to prove it to her he gives the concoction to a chicken which grows 10 times its size. Having possibly discover a solution to solve world hunger the family has George repeat the process.

    Here’s where the fun begins. George cannot remember exactly what he did before and experiments with all the chemicals to re-create the Medicine. His experiments turn out pretty funny. And eventually things come back to somewhat normality.

    Now for my gripe. The book needs to come with a disclaimer stating kids should not drink household or garage chemicals. Other than worrying about the kids wanting to create George’s medicine, the book is a lot of fun.

    Publisher’s Summary

    A taste of her own medicine. George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma’s in for the surprise of her life – and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture!

    ©2007 Roald Dahl (P)2007 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 5:53 PM on March 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fairy tales, , roald dahl,   

    Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts By: Roald Dahl 

    Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts By: Roald Dahl17707729
    Narrated by: Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, Miriam Margolyes
    Length: 1 hr and 10 mins
    Release date: 09-26-13
    Publisher: Listening Library

    I have a collection of Roald Dahl audiobooks to get through and so I’ll continue with this one. From the man who brought you Willy Wonka, James & the Giant Peach, and so many more, this short collection is a great side from the longer writings by Dahl. Each one of these books and collections of stories seem to have something different to say and show another side of Roald Dahl.

    If you’ve ever read the books “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “James and the Giant Peach” then you pretty well know the magical worlds Roald Dahl has created. I loved the books the movies and everything associated with the two books mentioned and when my son was learning to read I made sure to read him the books and watch the movies as he got older. I was aware of other titles by Dahl but just never took the time, that is until recently. The recent excursion into the writings of Roald Dahl is all thanks to Penguin Audio. Penguin has recently released all of Dahl’s stories in excellent audiobook form. Each book is rather short and perfect company for my commutes to work and any other trip I need to make.

    In the first section of this audiobook you have Revolting Rhymes where Dahl takes a turn at re-telling classic fairy tales. The one that seems to draw a lot of attention is the Cinderella story. This one has a section where the prince beheads Cinderella’s step-sisters and then turns to Cinderella and asks “who’s this dirty slut? off with her nut, off with her nut!” Hmmmm, slut in a kids story? Maybe more of an adult aimed story. Just be careful with it, and be aware.

    The readers all have something to contribute and make each story fun, but to be completely honest, there were times where their reading nearly put me to sleep.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Revolting Rhymes

    Did you think Cinderella married the prince and lived happily ever after, or that the three little pigs outsmarted the wolf? Think again! Master storyteller Roald Dahl adds his own darkly comic twists to six favorite tales, complete with rambunctious rhymes and hilarious surprise endings.

    Dirty Beasts

    Roald Dahl’s inimitable style and humor shine in this collection of poems about mischievous and mysterious animals. From Stingaling the scorpion to Crocky-Wock the crocodile, Dahl’s animals are nothing short of ridiculous. A clever pig with an unmentionable plan to save his own bacon and an anteater with an unusually large appetite are among the characters created by Dahl in these timeless rhymes. This new, larger edition is perfect for listening.

    ©2009 Roald Dahl (P)2009 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 9:50 PM on February 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Bailey, , children's stories, Kate Winslet, magic finger, minpins, , Richard Ayoade, roald dahl, twits   

    Audiobook Review: “The Twits, The Minpins, The Magic Finger” by Roald Dahl 

    twits

    Audiobook Review: “The Twits, The Minpins, The Magic Finger”

    by Roald Dahl

    read by: Richard Ayoade, Bill Bailey and Kate Winslet

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx 2 Hours

     

    If you’ve ever read the books “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “James and the Giant Peach” then you pretty well know the magical worlds Roald Dahl has created. I loved the books the movies and everything associated with the two books mentioned and when my son was learning to read I made sure to read him the books and watch the movies as he got older. I was aware of other titles by Dahl but just never took the time, that is until recently. The recent excursion into the writings of Roald Dahl is all thanks to Penguin Audio. Penguin has recently released all of Dahl’s stories in excellent audiobook form. Each book is rather short and perfect company for my commutes to work and any other trip I need to make.

     

    This book is a collection of three short stories, each named in the title. Each story is read by a different person and each of the readers is able to deliver the story in the perfect mix that is fun for kids to hear and yet still able to be absorbed by any adult. As an adult I could I could fully appreciate the language used in the story-telling and the energy used by the readers made for a fun enthusiastic group of tales that could entertain all ages.

     

    The first story, “The Twits,” tells the story of Mr. and Mrs Twit, who are the “smelliest, nastiest and ugliest people in the world.” They hate everything, including each other. They are constantly playing tricks on each other, most of them are pretty mean. One of the best pranks is when Mrs. Twit puts her glass eye in Mr. Twits glass of beer. On top of being mean to each other they are mean to animals. They catch birds in ruthless ways to make their bird pies and they make their caged monkeys, the Muggle Wumps, stand on their Heads all day. One day the birds and the Muggle-Wumps have had it and seek revenge.

     

    The next story is that of “The Minpins.” The Minpins are tiny people that live in the forest and are forced to travel from one community to another by leaping from branch to branch, or flying on the backs of birds for long distances, because on the ground lives the fire-breathing Gruncher. The Gruncher eats Minpins so ground travel is impossible for Minpins. One day Little Billy finds himself lost in the forest and soon is terrorized by the Gruncher. Billy’s only means of escape is to climb the tree. Once in the tree Billy learns of the Minpins and their dilemma. Soon Billy develops a plan to rid the forest of the Gruncher and becomes a friend for life to the Minpins

     

    This last story is one of the strangest but entertaining nonetheless. “The Magic Finger” is about the Gregg family and the girl next door gets them to see the error in their ways by using her magic finger. The Greggs are passionate about hunting and find it fun to kill birds, the girl is horrified by this and pleads with them to stop killing the birds. When all they do is laugh she has no choice but to teach them a lesson. So the next morning they find themselves changed into birds and are forced to live in a nest while the birds that once inhabited the nest now live in their home and break out the firearms to rid their house of the annoying Gregg-birds.

     

    Three great stories that are fun for all ages.

     
  • gilwilson 3:34 PM on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andrew scott, , , , , roald dahl, , , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More” 

    henry sugar

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More”
    by Roald Dahl
    read by Andrew Scott
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 7 hours

    Penguin Audio has recently released the works of Roald Dahl, the man who brought us “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and I have the pleasure of getting all these audiobooks for review. I immediately jumped in with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” and really didn’t know which book to listen to next. It was great reliving my childhood and being entertained as an adult with these fantastically funny and whimsical stories.

    I decided to just randomly choose my next Roald Dahl audio choice and this is the one I came up with. This audiobook came as a complete surprise. The stories in this collection are much different from the Roald Dahl stories I was used to. This collection is a combination of fiction and non-fiction stories each one was unique and while most were poignant they each revealed a little bit of humanity as the story progressed and unfolded. Not knowing any of the stories beforehand made for a very pleasant surprise as the end of each story was reached. Sometimes there was that bit of tear in my eye and sometimes there was a hopefulness for all of humanity.

    This is definitely a collection to grab for the older fans of Roald Dahl. A couple of the stories are autobiographical in nature and as the listener you will discover a little more about the man that told such great children’s stories. The narrator in this collection did a superb job in presenting each story and giving each story their own unique ambiance through his vocal presentation.

     

    Next, I will briefly summarize each story to give you a hint as to what you can expect.

     

    “The Boy Who Talked with Animals”

    This story is told from the point of view of someone on vacation in Jamaica. One night a huge sea turtle is being brought on the shore by some fishermen. All the people on the beach are enthralled by the massive beast and many talk about the ways the turtle could bring in money, some of the enterprising vacationers offer money for the turtle. All offers are turned down because the hotel owner has already paid for the turtle to make turtle soup. The vacationers are then talking about how great dinner will be. A young boy steps in and calls everyone horrible and cruel. The boy loves animals and even talks with them according to his parents. The boy’s father pays off the fishermen and the hotel manager and the turtle is set free. But that is not the end of the story. The next day the boy is missing and only when the fishermen return from sea can the story find a very heartwarming ending.

     

    “The Hitch-hiker”

    I found this story very intriguing. The beginning is not clear where the story will go but by the end it is quite humorous. The story is told from the point of view of a man who has a brand new BMW 3.3 LI. He is enjoying a drive down the highway and stops to pick up a “rat-like” hitch-hiker with long fingers. They begin talking and eventually talk about the car and the hitch-hiker talks the man into pushing the car to it’s limits. They get the speed up faster and faster until a police officer on a motorcycle comes up from behind. The driver is given a ticket and even threatens the driver with prison time. After receiving the ticket the driver becomes quiet. The hitch-hiker then tries to cheer him up by making him guess his profession. Once the driver starts to guess the story becomes funny and even with a little twist to the end of the tale.

     

    “The Mildenhall Treasure”

    This story is the first non-fiction in the collection and tells of a plowman who is plowing a field in England during WWII for a local farmer. The plowman, Gordon Butcher, hits a hard spot in the field and the plow becomes disconnected from the tractor. Wanting to get the field plowed before the snow hits he rushes back to try and clear the plow. What he discovers is a large metal plate. The area is well known for it’s buried Roman Treasures. When he tells the farmer, the farmer proceeds to uncover the treasure which is a collection of silver dinnerware, later discovered to be worth millions. The farmer moves all of the treasure to his home where he cleans the silver and keeps it for himself. The catch is that the United Kingdom has a law that buried treasures must be reported and become property of the country, (compensating the discoverer, of course). The farmer hides the treasure and keeps it to himself until a visiting historian sees one of the silver spoons accidentally left out. This may be a bit of a spoiler but the treasure now sits in the national museum, but the events that lead to getting the treasure in the proper hands make this story intriguing.

     

    “The Swan”

    Break out the tissue for this one. Peter Watson loves nature and birds, when bullies Ernie and Raymond set off to kill some rabbits with the new gun Ernie received for his birthday, they run into Peter. Peter has always been the target of the two bullies and this day just became his worse day ever. Holding Peter at gunpoint the bullies tie him to the middle of a railroad track. They tie him down between the rails so that he narrowly escapes death as the train rolls by and Peter barely fits under the passing train. They then march Peter to a nature sanctuary and shoot a swan. This brings Peter to tears to see such a beautiful creature shut down. The bullies send him over to retrieve the swan. This is when Peter discovers the unhatched eggs. To further Peter’s humiliation, Ernie says he can bring the swan to life and cuts off the wings and straps them to Peter. The events that follow present a little hope to anyone being bullied.

     

    “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

    Henry Sugar is an extremely wealthy man who loves gambling. While visiting with a doctor friend he discovers a medical report about a man who could see without using his eyes. This man studied with a Yogi until he developed the ability. Henry Sugar sees this as a way to guarantee winning at numerous casinos. The catch is the process of learning this ability requires strict mind and body training. The training, while successful, changes Henry in many ways and soon he looks at life from a different viewpoint.

     

    “Lucky Break”

    This is a non-fictional account which discusses the events in his life that led to Roald Dahl becoming a writer, including a meeting with a famous writer, who helped to launch his career. The story is about Dahl’s school and all the teachers, up until after the publication of his first story.

     

    “A Piece of Cake”

    This final story is another non-fiction story which is autobiographical in nature. This one covers Dahl’s time as a fighter pilot in World War II, and details how Dahl was injured and eventually forced to leave the Mediterranean arena. The original version of the story was written for C. S. Forester so that he could get the gist of Dahl’s story and rewrite it in his own words. However, Forester was so impressed by the story (Dahl at the time did not believe himself to be anything approaching an accomplished writer) that he sent it straight off to his agent who had it published (as “Shot Down Over Libya”) in the Saturday Evening Post, thereby kick-starting Dahl’s writing career.

     

    A great collection of some of Roald Dahl’s lesser known works, that will give you a little more insight of the famous children’s author.

     

     
  • gilwilson 10:14 PM on January 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , doglas hodge, glass elevator, , roald dahl, ,   

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” by Roald Dahl 

    greatglasselevator

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”
    by  Roald Dahl
    read by Douglas Hodge
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 3.5 hours

     

    When I wrote the review of the newly released audiobook version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I felt I had to mention the two movies based on this book. The first movie, from the 1970s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, seems to be the cult favorite. The latest version was actually titled “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Many folks refer to the first as the original and some even say best, but the latter version was the one that actually stayed true to the book. The first movie seemed to add in some features that are borrowed from this sequel by Roald Dahl, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.”

    That is all that needs to be said about the movies this time around. It is time to focus on the book, more specifically the latest audiobook release. Being the audiobook I first have to talk about the reader or more accurately, the performer, in this release. The genius in casting the voice for this audiobook is that Douglas Hodge performed the role of Willy Wonka in the 2012 musical stage production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The catch is that Wonka is not the only character in the book, and Hodge has to perform all of the voices. Hodge does this to perfection. Sure, he presents Wonka perfectly, but that perfection is carried on in all the voices represented in the book, from Charlie Bucket to the President of the United States of America. The characters in this book are over the top children’s book characters and Hodge brings the to full-color audio life. I was totally consumed by this book due to the overwhelming performance by Hodge that brought this childhood classic to life.

     

    As for the book, well, it all starts off exactly where “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” left off. Charlie has just found out that Willy Wonka has decided to leave the factory to him. In order for Charlie to take over he has to move his family, which includes; his mother and father and two sets of grandparents. This will not be an easy feat since the grandparents are bedridden and have been for years, the reason they are bedridden is quite comical in that they just won’t get out of bed, Grandpa Joe is the exception because he got out of bed to accompany Charlie on the tour of the chocolate factory. To move them into the factory Wonka decides to transport the entire family in the glass elevator. The problems begin when Wonka uses too much speed to take off from the home causing the entire family and Wonka to blast into space.

     

    Once in space they decide to board the world’s first space hotel only to find out that it is overrun by Verniciou Knids. The staff of the hotel are just about to arrive when they see the glass elevator and mistake it for an invading ship unaware that the invaders (the Vernicious Knids) are already on the station. It is then up to the elevator occupants to save the world through the only way Wonka knows how, through extreme silliness and creativity.

     

    This audiobook adventure is pure fun and a great entertainment. It is also a nice way to introduce a new generation to Roald Dahl or simply re-visit a childhood classic.

     
  • gilwilson 3:45 PM on October 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: augustus gloop, , charlie bucket, , , douglas hodge, gene wilder, , mike teavee, , roald dahl, veruca salt, violet beauregarde, ,   

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” By Roald Dahl 

    charlie

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

    By Roald Dahl

    Read by Douglas Hodge

    Published 2013 by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 3.5 hours

     

    I think it is pretty safe to say that we have all seen the movie based on this book.  Whether it was the 70s movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, or the recent “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, this book launched two movies that have become hits.  The Gene Wilder version was a box office flop but has become a cult favorite and pictures of the Wilder Wonka as a recent internet meme.  The Johnny Depp version was a box office hit.   As a side note, the Johnny Depp version is the one that stayed closest to the book’s plot and actions.

     

    No matter which version you prefer, you should make sure and read the book for yourself and to your kids.  This book is just plain fun and with just as much non-sensical moments as Lewis Carroll’s adventures with Alice through Wonderland books.  Roald Dahl had such a great way of playing with words and sounds and they come out even more so in this audiobook production.

     

    The narrator, Douglas Hodge, recently portrayed Willy Wonka in the stage musical at the West End’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in England.  His narration of this book is pure magic.  The words, story and characters all gently roll into the ears and through the brainspace creating a magical audiobook adventure.  His vocal characterizations of all the fun people in the story are spot on and his portrayal of Willy Wonka will have you laughing out loud and even cheering out loud.

     

    The gist of this story is that Willy Wonka has not allowed anyone in or out of his chocolate factory in years.  When it is time to find someone to replace him he devises a contest to find the most imaginative child to take over running the factory.  The contest first involves five golden tickets distributed with his candy and the five lucky winners get a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

     

    The five winners consist of: Augustus Gloop, a fat boy whose hobby is eating, Veruca Salt, a spoiled rotten brat, Violet Beauregard, a dim-witted gum-chewer who talks more than she listens, Mike Teavee, a boy obsessed with television and Charlie Bucket, the hero of the story and who seems to be the world’s only honest, kind and brave child.

     

    The children are each swept away due to their own short-comings and the adventures along the way are narrated with musical numbers from the Oompah Loompahs, the true labor force in the chocolate factory.

     

    Sit back and enjoy this great audiobook with great narration and even a few fun sound effects to keep the fun rolling.

     

     

     
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