The Minpins

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Overview

Terrible monsters lurk in the forest, but if you climb up into the trees you may be lucky and meet some of the thousands of tiny Minpins who live there, too. The hollow trees are filled with their miniature homes--and they travel around the country on the backs of birds! "Vintage Dahl for reading aloud".--Booklist. Full color.

Little Billy enters the Forest of Sin and meets the Minpins, matchstick-sized people who live in tree cities besieged by the Smoke-Belching ...

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Overview

Terrible monsters lurk in the forest, but if you climb up into the trees you may be lucky and meet some of the thousands of tiny Minpins who live there, too. The hollow trees are filled with their miniature homes--and they travel around the country on the backs of birds! "Vintage Dahl for reading aloud".--Booklist. Full color.

Little Billy enters the Forest of Sin and meets the Minpins, matchstick-sized people who live in tree cities besieged by the Smoke-Belching Gruncher whom Billy vows to destroy.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- Little Billy, bored with being good, ignores his mother's admonition to stay out of The Forest of Sin where ``none come out, but many go in.'' He succumbs to the Devil's invitation to explore the forest for himself. All is well until the boy hears the alarming sounds of a fire-breathing monster headed right for him. Luckily he discovers a tree of convenient size where, on climbing to its upper branches, he finds a whole village of miniature people. The Minpins are also afraid of being gobbled up by the Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher. The lad devises a plan to do away with the terrifying beast and is promised nightly flights on the back of a swan by the grateful Minpins. No longer confined to his dull home, Little Billy now discovers a world of wonders. The only adult mentioned is the boy's insensitive, doltish mother, while the protagonist himself is admirable and enterprising, true to the author's form. Nonetheless, one senses something of a kinder, gentler Dahl, who nudges his readers to become observers, for ``the greatest secrets are always hidden in unlikely places.'' However, the religious overtones seem curiously out of place. Little Billy's name, too, may prove a bit precious for some readers. Benson's pen-and-ink crosshatched drawings with full-color washes are pleasing but not memorable, with the exception of the dramatic depictions of Billy and the swan. Although older readers will find the talepretty tame, the story-hour crowd may find it a pleasant diversion. --Phyllis G. Si dorsky, National Cathedral School, Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140549706
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/28/1994
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) is one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. He wrote many award-winning books for children, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.

Patrick Benson has illustrated more than twenty books for children. He was awarded the National Art Library Illustration Award in Great Britain.

Biography

"I have never met a boy who so persistently writes the exact opposite of what he means," a teacher once wrote in the young Roald Dahl's report card. "He seems incapable of marshaling his thoughts on paper." From such inauspicious beginnings emerged an immensely successful author whom The Evening Standard would one day dub "one of the greatest children's writers of all time."

Dahl may have been an unenthusiastic student, but he loved adventure stories, and when he finished school he went out into the world to have some adventures of his own. He went abroad as a representative of the Shell corporation in Dar-es-Salaam, and then served in World War II as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. After the war, Dahl began his writing career in earnest, publishing two well-received collections of short stories for adults, along with one flop of a novel.

The short stories, full of tension and subtle psychological horror, didn't seem to presage a children's author. Malcolm Bradbury wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "[Dahl's] characters are usually ignoble: he knows the dog beneath the skin, or works hard to find it." Yet this talent for finding, and exposing, the nastier sides of grown-up behavior served him well in writing for children. As Dahl put it, "Writing is all propaganda, in a sense. You can get at greediness and selfishness by making them look ridiculous. The greatest attribute of a human being is kindness, and all the other qualities like bravery and perseverance are secondary to that."

In 1953, Dahl married the actress Patricia Neal; two of his early children's books, James and the Giant Peach (1961) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) grew out of the bedtime stories he made up for their children. Elaine Moss, writing in the Times, called the latter "the funniest children's book I have read in years; not just funny but shot through with a zany pathos which touches the young heart." Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a colossal hit. A film version starring Gene Wilder was released in 1971 (as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), while James and the Giant Peach was made into a movie in 1996.

Dahl followed his initial successes with a string of bestsellers, including Danny, the Champion of the World, The Twits, The BFG, The Witches and Matilda. Some adults objected to the books' violence -- unpleasant characters (like James’s Aunts Sponge and Spiker) tend to get bumped off in grotesque and inventive ways -- but Dahl defended his stories as part of a tradition of gruesome fairy tales in which mean people get what they deserve. "These tales are pretty rough, but the violence is confined to a magical time and place," he said, adding that children like violent stories as long as they're "tied to fantasy and humor." By the time of his death in 1990, Dahl's mischievous wit had captivated so many readers that The Times called him "one of the most widely read and influential writers of our generation."

Good To Know

When Dahl was in school, he and his schoolmates occasionally served as new-product testers for the Cadbury chocolate company. Dahl used to dream of working in a chocolate manufacturer's inventing room. He wrote in his autobiography, "I have no doubt at all that, 35 years later, when I was looking for a plot for my second book for children, I remembered those little cardboard boxes and the newly invented chocolates inside them, and I began to write a book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Dahl's first book for children, The Gremlins (1943), was a story about the mythical creatures that sabotaged British planes. (Dahl claimed for most of his life that he had coined the term "gremlins," but it had been in use by members of the Royal Air Force for years.) Walt Disney planned to use it as the basis for a movie, but the project was scrapped, and only 5,000 copies of the book were ever printed.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 13, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      Llandaff, Wales, England
    1. Date of Death:
      November 23, 1990
    2. Place of Death:
      Oxford, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2005

    Just read this to my 7 and 5 year old sons

    I just read this book to my 7 and 5 year old sons and they absolutely loved it! The 5 year old wanted to take it around the next day to just look at the illustrations. The next night they wanted me to read it to them again. I haven't read any of Roald Dahl's books before now, but this book has sure made me want to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2003

    great read

    I loved this book when I was a younger child. I think that it illustrates a good message for children, that little people can conquer big things. The illustrations are also great. They are drawn from interesting angles emphasising the size of everything and also create moods thst relate very well to what is going on in thast part of the book. The illustrations add to the story and make it more appealing to younger children as well as older.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2001

    Roald Dahl Did it Again!!

    I think 'The Minpins' was a GREAT story, and anyone that likes wild beasts and has an wild inamgination will love 'The MinPins!!' ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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