"It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you."
Good golly, I love this book. LOVE IT. I could scream, I love it so much. Yes, it's scary. Yes, terrible things happen to the main characters. But it is hilarious. I snort with laughter at every re-read. And I never snort. I can't even half-express how much I love Roald Dahl without screaming at you, my imaginary readers, in all caps and bombarding you with exclamation points that don't actually make sense, so I won't try. Simply be assured that it is a lot of love.
And Quentin Blake's illustrations. AH! What a combo, right? The books and pictures have become so completely smashed together in my head that I can't help thinking of one in terms of the other. Quentin Blake puts so much character into his drawings. I feel like a rat saying this (not a nice brown mouse), but there are some great illustrators I adore who just don't put much character into their characters. The pictures are beautiful or charming or whatever, but when you look at, I don't know, three different books side by side, the children on the covers all look the same. Different hair, different eye color - but basically the same pretty types. Blake gives people giant noses and fat bellies and enormous ears. Even the nice characters aren't idealized. And I like that because it feels more true to life. Or maybe I'm just full of hot air. Anyways, if I ever end up working as an illustrator (which would be nice as I'm paying quite atrocious amounts of money to a college to learn how to do so), I hope the drawings I make have lots of personality in the same way. I'd like to have a sort of basic, funny style that will allow me to do scary, black-comedy Lemony Snicket kinds of stories and sweet picture books.
Well. Another long tangent.
Anyways, I love this book. I love all Roald Dahl's kids books. I can't decide which is my favorite. James and the Giant Peach if a definite contender. Ooh! If you, imaginary reader, are an audio book lover like moi, you must check out Jeremy Irons' reading of James and the Giant Peach. It's a good contender for best book on tape ever, too.
CONCLUSION: I am very fond of Roald Dahl's slightly bloodthirsty sense of humor, and think Quentin Blake expresses it perfectly in his drawings. I want to go find more Roald Dahl booksRIGHTNOW, but I will restrain myself and try to read To The Lighthouse again, even though three pages in I realized I was dribbling drool without knowing it. Maybe I was in the wrong mood for it or too tired or something. I kept finishing sentences and feeling very proud, and then realizing, with a slump of the shoulders, that I couldn't remember what the front part of the sentence had been about. Kid's book are just funner. Yes, I said funner.