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-1982

Revolting Rhymes

No nursery rhyme is quite as it seems when Roald Dahl has re-written it. Hungry wolves would be advised to watch their step when Little Red Riding Hood is about - and as for Cinderella's prince, well, let's just hope he keeps his head...

Revolting Rhymes was first published in 1982 and was the first of Roald's collection of comic verse for children. With illustrations by Quentin Blake, Revolting Rhymes sees Roald take six well-known fairy stories and give them a wholly new set of Dahl-esque twists. 

Still much-loved over 30 years later, the phrase "revolting rhymes" even found itself into the Royal Shakespeare Company's Matilda The Musical. In his song 'Revolting Children,' Matilda composer and lyricist Tim Minchin has Matilda's classmates sing the lines:

"We are revolting children
Living in revolting times.
We sing revolting songs,
Using revolting rhymes..."

The six stories featured in Revolting Rhymes are:

  • Cinderella
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
  • The Three Little Pigs

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-1989

Rhyme Stew

An inventive and irreverent collection for older children and adults alike, Rhyme Stew bubbles over with Roald Dahl's extraordinary humour and imagination.

A collection of comic verse, Rhyme Stew contains 15 poems including several based on well-known children's fairy stories. Unlike Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts, though, Rhyme Stew is a collection for older children and comes with the warning: Unsuitable for Small People.

The 15 poems in Rhyme Stew are:

  • Dick Whittington and His Cat
  • St. Ives
  • A Hand in the Bird
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Price of Debauchery
  • Physical Training
  • The Emperor's New Clothes
  • A Little Nut-Tree
  • The Dentist and the Crocodile
  • Hot and Cold
  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
  • Hey Diddle Diddle
  • Mary, Mary
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

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-1953

Someone Like You

Originally released in 1953, Someone Like You features some of Roald Dahl's best-known adult stories including the classic Lamb to the Slaughter and many others that were later adapted for the TV series Tales of the Unexpected.

The 18 stories featured are:

  • Taste
  • Lamb to the Slaughter
  • Man from the South
  • The Soldier
  • My Lady Love, My Dove
  • Dip in the Pool
  • Galloping Foxley
  • Skin
  • Poison
  • The Wish
  • Neck
  • The Sound Machine
  • Nunc Dimittis
  • The Great Automatic Grammatizator
  • Claud's Dog: The Ratcatcher
  • Claud's Dog: Rummins
  • Claud's Dog: Mr Hoddy
  • Claud's Dog: Mr Feasey

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-April 1948

Some Time Never: A Fable for Supermen

Very loosely based on his earlier gremlin stories, Some Time Never: A Fable for Supermen was Roald Dahl's first full-length novel. But where The Gremlins was marketed as a children's story, Some Time Never was, as Roald said to his agent in a letter, "horrifyingly adult" in its themes. In this story the gremlins are no longer merely mischevious and unpredictable. Here they are sinister and evil, waiting for the humans who live above them to kill each other so that they can take over the planet.

Released in 1948, Some Time Never was an apocalyptic book, a critique of the atom bomb and what Roald saw as the inevitability of nuclear war. It is notable for being perhaps the first fictional account of nuclear war to be published. The book met with mainly negative reviews, although The Glasgow Herald praised it as "highly original," going on to say "in spite of its terrifying course and gloomy conclusion, it also contrives to be hugely entertaining."

Despite this, the overall response to the book was muted and Roald distanced himself from it, later calling it a "ghastly book" in a letter to his agent, and telling a fan who wrote to him about it in 1971 that it was "not worth reading."

Some Time Never is still available to purchase in Holland, but is currently out-of-print in other countries.

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-2005

Songs and Verse

Think of your very favourite Roald Dahl moment and surely a song or a verse cannot be far away...

Rhymes and songs, poems and verse - they're all a big part of Roald Dahl's stories. From the strange and scrumptious dishes enjoyed by James's centipede, to George and his marvellous medicine; from greedy Augustus Gloop to the Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Songs and Verse brings together many of Roald's classics, as well as some previously unpublished treats. 

Published in 2005, Songs and Verse has seven themed sections bursting with monsters, ghastly children, magical creatures, unpleasant adults and - of course - a few surprises. Roald's principal illustrator Quentin Blake provides the illustrations for each section and shares some of his memories of working with Roald in the book's foreword. 

There are also many other wonderful illustrations from people like Peter Bailey, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, Gerald Scarfe, Axel Scheffler and Posy Simmonds. 

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-1974

Switch Bitch

Four tales of seduction and suspense from the grand master of the short story...

Topping and tailing this collection are two stories featuring Roald Dahl's notorious hedonist Oswald Hendryks Cornelius (or Uncle Oswald) whose exploits are frequently as extraordinary as they are scandalous. The collection was first published in 1974 although some of the stories date from several years before - Uncle Oswald's first appearance was in The Visitor, written in 1964. The other two black comedies in Switch Bitch also explore a darker side of desire and pleasure.

The four stories included are:

  • The Visitor
  • The Great Switcheroo
  • The Last Act
  • Bitch

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-1997

The Roald Dahl Treasury

The Roald Dahl Treasury brings together some of the most dazzling moments in the work of this extraordinary writer...

Published in 1997, The Road Dahl Treasury is a bumper book that includes complete Roald Dahl stories, extracts from his longer fiction, rhymes, memoirs, letters and even some previously unpublished poetry. A host of his best-loved characters are here, from the Enormous Crocodile to Willy Wonka, from the Minpins to the Twits, from James Henry Trotter to Matilda Wormwood.

The Roald Dahl Treasury features a large number of pictures by Quentin Blake, Roald's principal illustrator. Many of them were drawn especially for this collection. There are also drawings from a few other selected artists: Patrick Benson, Raymond Briggs, Babette Cole, Bert Kitchen, Lane Smith, Posy Simmonds, Ralph Steadman, Fritz Wegner and Christopher Wormell.

There are four themed sections in the The Roald Dahl Treasury. They are called:

  • Animals
  • Magic
  • Family, Friends and Foes
  • Matters of Importance

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-1980

The Twits

Mr Twit hates his wife. Mrs Twit detests her husband. They like nothing more than playing wicked tricks on one another. Sooner or later, things are going to go too far...

Even in real life Roald Dahl was very suspicious of men with beards. He thought they must be hiding something sinister. Michael Rosen, who wrote a book called Fantastic Mr Dahl all about Roald and his stories, remembers that the first time he and Roald met, Roald told Michael's son Joe that his beard was "disgusting." 

Mr Twit has a beard. His is dirty and has bits of food clinging to it. Quentin Blake's illustrations in the original story show cornflakes, tinned sardines and even stilton cheese stuck in the bristles on Mr Twit's face. In fact, he and his equally unlovely wife, Mrs Twit, are just about as horrible as can be - but there are a few characters who might just have found a way to outsmart this nasty pair...

The Twits, first published in 1980, may be about a pair of horrible twits, but it also features one of the most-quoted phrases in all of Roald's books...

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-1986

Two Fables

Published in honour of Roald Dahl's 70th birthday in 1986, Two Fables is a slim volume containing two stories written by Roald especially for this collection. It was a limited run, and the book is now out-of-print.

The last collection of this short stories for adults to be published in Roald's lifetime, Two Fables features beautiful princesses, ugly men and wise kings. Neither story has ever been published elsewhere.

The two stories included are:

  • The Princess and the Poacher
  • Princess Mammalia

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