1,473 Pages

 Revolting Rhymes is a collection of Roald Dahl poems published in 1982. A parody of traditional folk tales in verse, Dahl gives a re-interpretation of six well-known fairy tales, featuring surprise endings in place of the traditional happily-ever-after. The poems are illustrated by Quentin Blake.


There are a total of six poems in the book.

In Cinderella,This poem stayed true to the original tale until one of the ugly stepsisters switches her shoe with the one Cinderella left behind at the ball. However, when the prince sees whom the shoe fits, he decides not to marry her, and instead cuts off her head. When the prince removes the head of the second stepsister and makes to do the same to Cinderella, she wishes to be married instead to a decent man. Her fairy godmother grants this wish and marries her to a simple jam-maker.

In Jack and the Beanstalk, the beanstalk grows golden leaves towards the top. Jack's mother sends him up to fetch them, but when Jack hears the giant threaten to eat him, he descends without collecting any of the gold. Jack's mother then ascends herself, but is eaten. Undeterred, Jack decides to bathe, and then climbs up and collects the leaves himself, as the giant was unable to smell him after he had bathed. Now rich, Jack resolves to bathe every day.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs begins familiarly, but after the huntsman agrees not to kill Snow White, she takes a job as a cook and maid for seven jockeys in the city. The jockeys are compulsive gamblers on horse racing, but are not particularly successful. Snow White resolves to help them, and sneaks back to steal the magic mirror, which can correctly predict the winning horse and makes the seven jockeys (and Snow White) millionaires, with the moral that "Gambling is not a sin / Providing that you always win".[1]

In Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the story is told from the bears' point-of-view, describing Goldilocks' actions as felonies. In the end Goldilocks' crimes are summed up and she is sent to a sticky end - eaten by the Baby Bear.

In Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, the wolf enters the grandmother's house and devours her before putting on her clothes in order to eat Little Red Riding Hood next. Riding Hood is not disturbed however, and calmly pulls a pistol out of her knickers (underwear) and shoots the wolf ("The small girl smiles/Her eyelid flickers/She whips a pistol from her knickers/She aims it at the creature's head and BANG! BANG! BANG! she shoots him ... dead.") — yielding her a new wolfskin coat.[2]

In The Three Little Pigs, the wolf quickly blows down the houses of straw and sticks, devouring the first two pigs. The third house of bricks is too strong, so the wolf resolves to come back that evening with dynamite. The third pig has other plans, however, and asks Little Red Riding Hood to come and deal with the wolf. Ever the sharpshooter, Red Riding Hood gains a second wolfskin coat and a pigskin traveling case.[3]

Reader's Reviews

In ‘Revolting Rhymes’, Roald Dahl put his own personal twist on six traditional (and very famous) nursery tales. In each tale, the reader can find some somewhat colourful additions to the original tales - from a young girl called Red Riding Hood, with a gun in her 'knickers', to the 'princess' called Cinderella who's 'Prince Charming' is in fact, an average Joe.  <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top:6.0pt;text-align:justify">As with the majortiy of Roald Dahl's publications, Quentin Blake provides some interesting (and very memorable) illustrations. Red Riding Hood for example, can be seen leaving her grandma's house in a wolfskin coat - it is this stark imagery and contrast to the original tale, that really sets this book apart from similar texts. Through his witty writing style,  Dahl demonstrates that many popular fairytale characters are in fact no more than vile 'creatures' whose actions should not remain unpunished. Most notable, is Goldilocks' demise at the hands of Baby Bear, who is advised to eat the girl who has eaten his porridge! 'Revolting Rhymes' showcases Dahl's immense talent, to take the most seemingly innocent events and turning them into something quirky, exciting and all round gut - bustingly funny. This book is highly recommended to those not afraid expose their child to the perhaps more gruesomely funny nature of children's literature.

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