One more in our Roald Dahl run, George's Marvelous Medicine is our latest read.
The Story: George is left at home with his dreadful, grumpy grandmother. She needs to have her medicine, and he is supposed to give it to her. Instead of giving her the medicine she always takes, George decides to mix up his own batch of "medicine" to teach her a lesson, and maybe make her nicer along the way.
The Good: It's funny, and Evalina liked it. The grandmother really has no redeeming qualities, so you can't feel very badly for her. The writing is, in Dahl's style, humorous to the highest degree.
The Bad: How many times did I say "Now, you know this is pretend, right? You must never ever do anything like this, because what George is mixing together would at the very least make a person very sick, and it would probably kill them. This is all pretend. Do you understand?" I mean, he was mixing anti-freeze, shoe polish, sheep dip, toothpaste, paint, and all sorts of other crazy things. So, I'd say this book definitely needs a warning from the parent, unless you want to have poison control on speed dial. Also, his grandmother doesn't really ever get nicer, and in fact, because she is greedy, ends up disappearing into nothing! George's parents don't seem to really care, either. It's a little disturbing, honestly.
The Verdict: While Evalina really liked it, I can't say that this is a must read. Not that I think every children's book should have a redeeming moral lesson behind it, but this barely had any story at all. George's grandmother was awful, so he mixed up some medicine to try to make her better. It didn't make her better, it just made her hugely tall. He gave some to a chicken and it made the chicken huge. His father got excited and fed some to a lot of the farm animals, to try to gain something from it (like football sized eggs). His father insists that George try to mix up more, but he gets it wrong three additional times, and the final potion shrinks Granny into nothing. Life goes on, seemingly as before, minus the Granny. Yeah. Not so exciting, either. Amazon says it is good for grades 2-4, and I think that it was good, age-wise, for Evalina (grade 1), but there are many other better books out there, I just don't know that I can recommend this one.