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George's Marvelous Medicine Paperback – August 16, 2007
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About the Author
After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living in England with his family. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Roald Dahl is now considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Although he passed away in 1990, his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.
Learn more about Roald Dahl on the official Roald Dahl Web site: www.roalddahl.com
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“A magic medicine it shall be!”
George sat himself down at the table in the kitchen. He was shaking a little. Oh, how he hated Grandma! He really hated that horrid old witchy woman. And all of a sudden he had a tremendous urge to do something about her. Something whopping. Something absolutely terrific. A real shocker. A sort of explosion.
“I’m not going to be frightened by her,” he said softly to himself. But he was frightened. And that’s why he wanted suddenly to explode her away.
Well…not quite away. But he did want to shake the old woman up a bit.
Very well, then. What should it be, this whopping terrific exploding shocker for Grandma?
As George sat there pondering this interesting problem, his eye fell upon the bottle of Grandma’s brown medicine standing on the sideboard. Rotten stuff it seemed to be…and it didn’t do her the slightest bit of good. She was always just as horrid after she’d had it as she’d been before.
So-ho! thought George suddenly. I shall make her a new medicine, one that is so strong and so fierce and so fantastic it will either cure her completely or blow off the top of her head.
“Here we go, then!” cried George, jumping up from the table. “A magic medicine it shall be!”
Puffin Books by Roald Dahl
Boy: Tales of Childhood
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Danny the Champion of the World
The Enormous Crocodile
Fantastic Mr. Fox
George’s Marvelous Medicine
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
James and the Giant Peach
The Magic Finger
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More
illustrated by Quentin Blake
“I’m going shopping in the village,” George’s mother said to George on Saturday morning. “So be a good boy and don’t get into mischief.”
This was a silly thing to say to a small boy at any time. It immediately made him wonder what sort of mischief he might get into.
“And don’t forget to give Grandma her medicine at eleven o’clock,” the mother said. Then out she went, closing the back door behind her.
Grandma, who was dozing in her chair by the window, opened one wicked little eye and said, “Now you heard what your mother said, George. Don’t forget my medicine.”
“No, Grandma,” George said.
“And just try to behave yourself for once while she’s away.”
“Yes, Grandma,” George said.
George was bored to tears. He didn’t have a brother or a sister. His father was a farmer, and the farm they lived on was miles away from anywhere, so there were never any children to play with. He was tired of staring at pigs and hens and cows and sheep. He was especially tired of having to live in the same house as that grizzly old grunion of a grandma. Looking after her all by himself was hardly the most exciting way to spend a Saturday morning.
“You can make me a nice cup of tea for a start,” Grandma said to George. “That’ll keep you out of mischief for a few minutes.”
“Yes, Grandma,” George said.
George couldn’t help disliking Grandma. She was a selfish grumpy old woman. She had pale brown teeth and a small puckered-up mouth like a dog’s bottom.
“How much sugar in your tea today, Grandma?” George asked her.
“One spoonful,” she said. “And no milk.”
Most grandmothers are lovely, kind, helpful old ladies, but not this one. She spent all day and every day sitting in her chair by the window, and she was always complaining, grousing, grouching, grumbling, griping about something or other. Never once, even on her best days, had she smiled at George and said, “Well, how are you this morning, George?” or, “Why don’t you and I have a game of Snakes and Ladders?” or, “How was school today?” She didn’t seem to care about other people, only about herself. She was a miserable old grouch.
George went into the kitchen and made Grandma a cup of tea with a teabag. He put one spoon of sugar in it and no milk. He stirred the sugar well and carried the cup into the living room.
Grandma sipped the tea. “It’s not sweet enough,” she said. “Put more sugar in.”
George took the cup back to the kitchen and added another spoonful of sugar. He stirred it again and carried it carefully in to Grandma.
“Where’s the saucer?” she said. “I won’t have a cup without a saucer.”
George fetched her a saucer.
- Publisher : Puffin Books; Reprint edition (August 16, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 112 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0142410357
- ISBN-13 : 978-0142410356
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 640L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 3.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.13 x 0.29 x 7.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a very naughty fun book for people of all ages. A novella more than a proper novel, George's Marvellous Medicine tells what happens when Georges gets fed-up with his witchy grandma and decides to make a "medicine" to poison her. He takes everything he finds in the house, cosmetics, toiletries, laundry products, animal medicines and painting, mixes them all, and then weird "magic" starts to happen.
The character of George has a mix of naughtiness, good heart and innocence that will delight children and adults alike. The grandma is hateable from the very beginning, and George's parents are quite normal people.
George's Marvellous Medicine is more for early teens than for children as the mere concept of poisoning, vengeance, and murder seems a bit too complex to leave the small ones to evaluate on their own, even though this is children fiction. The characters seem quite normal, not part of a fairy-tale or fantasy story, so that is the main problem to me. Dahl himself saw the possible repercussions and included a note at the beginning of the book warning children not to do these things at home. You don't want any children to think that mixing chemicals and feeding people with them is the right thing to do to deal with annoying personalities. The book needs of supervision if your child is small.
Most children books have an embedded teaching, no matter the fun is what attracts children to them. Personally, I would redirect my child's attention by asking some questions at the end of the book, something like:
1/ Georges hates his grandma, because she is a witch, right? Isn't potion-making what witches do? Isn't George's behaviour the same as witches show?
2/ Why do you think grandma doesn't want children to grow? Do you think she was happier when she was George's age?
3/ Why is grandma so grumpy? Is because she is frail and alone? Is because she has mobility problems? Is because nobody pays attention to her? Is because she is sick? Is because of all it?
4/ Why does grandma get so excited when the "medicine" start to work? Why does she get grumpy again when the family start paying attention to the farm animals and not to her?
5/ What would happen if all the farm animals of the planet were fed with the gigantic potion? Would farmers need to use the potion again?
6/ Where does grandma go in the end?
Dahl's narrative in this work is simple but extremely playful with some tongue twisters that reminded me of Dr Seuss.
The illustrations by Quentin Blake are very sketchy, but also fluid and successfully illustrative. I like the way George is depicted, as somewhat matches my mental image of the character.
The Kindle edition is flawless, something that always makes me happy, especially because this is an expensive-ish 134-page e-book. This edition includes a bonus preview of two chapters of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at the end, a brief story of Penguin book and other promotional stuff
A very enjoyable amusing quick read, but supervision is needed for small children.
Top reviews from other countries
"He wasn’t going to fool about wondering whether to put in a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Quite simply, he was going to put in EVERYTHING he could find. There would be no messing about, no hesitating, no wondering whether a particular thing would knock the old girl sideways or not. The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, in it went. Nobody had ever made a medicine like that before."
For an adult, the thrill isn't quite there, but I read the whole thing on one train journey and it was as good a way as any of forgetting where I was till my station showed up. Childish delight throughout - delight in words, and language, and absurd situations. Worth a look.
PS - to those wondering whether this is appropriate for children, it's exactly the same as a Looney Tunes cartoon for me. Outrageous slapstick that'll get them laughing.