So i’m going to push the realm of fantasy to it’s furthest reaches with this one, but it’s a fantastical story and one that has meant a huge amount to me growing up. It was one of the first Roald Dahl books that I owned as a child (I now have many – some of which now belong to my daughter) it captivated me like no other book had at that point and it has awesome kudos for the fact that (Brit Alert) Rik Mayall read it as part of Jackanory in the way that only he could. In even more Brit-tastic news apparently Richard E Grant read the audio-book version, which I must hear!
George, left on his parents farm for the day whilst being “cared” for by his grandmother, becomes increasingly fed up with her taunts and tall tales. In a truly Dahlian turn of events, he seeks retribution on his evil grandmother by tipping her medicine away and creating his own version to give to her instead. Systematically going through every room in the house, he takes everything from perfume to shampoo, to Gin (good lad) and brown paint to match the colour, no item is left untouched. His concoction has the impact of making his grandmother incredibly, incredible tall – breaking up through the roof tall until she is of a height where a crane has to be used to hoist her out. When his parents return, despite grandmother being ridiculously mis-sized, his father can only see £ signs and seeks to increase the size of the farm animals to help eliminate world hunger – however poor George can’t recall the exact recipe. Numerous attempts fail and leave them with varying shapes and sizes of animals and ultimately grandmothers greed in finding a cure is typically misguided in a way only Roald Dahl could accomplish.
It is a story which no doubt had many parents locking up their cupboards in the 80’s for fear of what their children would create. For me, it was the start of an amazing literary adventure – he was probably the first author that I binge read – for my age (around 8) and I now know what my next bedtime read with my daughter will be!