TITLE: The Minipins
AUTHOR: Roald Dahl
ILLUSTRATOR: Patrick Benson
PUBLISHED: 1991, just after his death.
NOTE: This is probably the last thing he wrote before he died.
Before I get to this review, I’m going to apologize in advance – after reading Matilda (see the review a couple weeks ago), I decided that I really missed the writing of Roald Dahl and I went back to read the ones that I hadn’t read before now. You’ll be seeing a lot of his stuff for the next couple weeks.
I wasn’t sure if I had read The Minipins before now or not, and I was sure that if I had, it wasn’t a childhood book, it was a go-back-and-read-Dahl type of a thing, so I started there.
Turns out, I’d read it, so I went for the re-read.
In this book, Little Billy is a good little boy who always does what his mother tells him, although one day he decides his life is boring and sets out for the woods, despite the Whangdoodles, Hornswogglers, Snozzwanglers and Vermicious knids that live in the forest. I have to say, with the original Willy Wonka movie one of my all-time favorite movies (despite being nothing like its book), having references that cross seemingly unrelated books really does make me smile.
What he actually finds in the forest is a fire-breathing creature on the forest floor, and an entire civilization of teeny-tiny people (who fly around on birds) living in houses built into the trunks of trees. Little Billy deals with the creature, and Don Mini rewards him for life.
Okay, I have to say this.
First of all, this sounds more like some weird story you make up on the spot than an actual children’s story book. (But, this being his last book *sob* I guess I can understand how his storytelling had changed a bit…) I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, it just feels more stream-of-consciousness than well planned out.
Second of all, ‘Don Mini’ sounds like a mob boss name. Just sayin’. Also, ‘Little Billy’ is about as generic as they come. I wish they would have just called him Billy instead of Little Billy every freakin’ time.
With that said, I did still like the story. The Minipins sound fantastic, the references to tie this book to other stuff Dahl has written were awesome, and anyway, it still feels like a Dahl story, so there is that.
According to the dust jacket, it’s geared at 3-8 year olds. The book seems a little wordy for most three-year-olds, although some of the kids I know would have been okay with it.
I’m going to give the book 4/5.