Skin and Other Stories

( 9 )


How would you get rid of a murder weapon without causing suspicion? Where would you hide a diamond where no one else would think of looking? What if you found out that the tattoo on your back was worth over a million dollars? You will discover that just about anything is possible in a Roald Dahl story, and here are eleven of his very best.

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How would you get rid of a murder weapon without causing suspicion? Where would you hide a diamond where no one else would think of looking? What if you found out that the tattoo on your back was worth over a million dollars? You will discover that just about anything is possible in a Roald Dahl story, and here are eleven of his very best.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Packed with imaginative characters, quirky plots, and surprise endings, these eleven gems are the kinds of stories readers will want to share with their friends.
Publishers Weekly
This volume collects 11 of the master storyteller's short stories, many of which first appeared in Someone Like You, and also includes "The Surgeon," originally published in Playboy in 1986. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This collection of short stories, from the author of such hugely popular novels as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda, serves as an introduction to Roald Dahl's more mature work for a slightly older audience. Packed with imaginative characters, quirky plots, and surprise endings, these eleven gems are the kinds of stories readers will want to share with their friends. A betrayed wife kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, and the cops unknowingly eat the murder weapon. A valuable diamond is stolen, only to turn up inside the thief's stomach. In the title story, a poor man learns that the tattoo on his back is the work of a renowned master artist, and likely worth a fortune. These are lively stories that entertain and enlighten. 2000, Viking/Penguin, Ages 12 up, $15.99. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
From The Critics
Designed as a collection of so-called adult pieces by Dahl that might be appropriate for young readers, I think this group of stories would interest teenagers. Several stories have surprise endings and feature characters whose actions are driven by their compulsions. For instance, "The Sound Machine" focuses on a machine a man has invented that is so sensitive that the man can hear the sounds of plants screaming upon death. The effect of these sounds, real or imagined, on his actions drives the story to its conclusion. Another story, "Skin," asks readers to consider what might happen if a tattoo on a person's back became worth a lot of money as the artist's fame and reputation grew. These stories are not particularly contemporary, but, the author's engaging style and inventive flair would certainly entertain young readers. Genre: Short Stories 2000, Viking, 211p
In these thirteen stories, all with surprise-twist endings, things are never as simple as they seem. Some of the tales show the depths of human greed, such as Skin, in which a man contends with two art dealers who will stop at nothing to acquire the priceless painting he has tattooed on his back. Others, such as Lamb to the Slaughter, in which a wife gets away with murder—literally—or The Champion of the World, about two bungling poachers, are more humorous and poke fun at the idiocies of humanity. This collection was put together as an introduction for teens to Dahl's adult writings, but not all the entries will appeal to teens. They will like The Sound Machine, the story of a man who discovers a way to hear beyond the range of human hearing, but stories such as Dip in the Pool or Galloping Foxley are so dated that they are almost incomprehensible. Teens who loved Dahl's writing as children probably will pick up this book eagerly, and the cover—with the title tattooed onto skin—is certainly eye catching, but the stories were originally written for adults, so they do have some adult language and rather a lot of drinking. The stories in this anthology are darker than his works for children, but it is worth reading simply for the beautiful story about a downed fighter pilot—Beware of the Dog. That tale alone exemplifies the magic that is in Dahl's writing. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Viking/Penguin, 144p, $15.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Snow Wildsmith

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5)

Margot Mifflin
Although this collection of previously published stories was compiled for teenagers graduating to adult fiction, Skin and Other Stories will also seduce grown-ups with its nefariously nimble wit...a posthumous treat from a devilishly funny author.
Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141310343
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 182,069
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.41 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. He spent his childhood in England and, at age eighteen, went to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. At the age of twenty-six he moved to Washington, D.C., and it was there he began to write. His first short story, which recounted his adventures in the war, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post, and so began a long and illustrious career.

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 PeachMatildaThe 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:


"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

Table of Contents

Skin 1
Lamb to the Slaughter 22
The Sound Machine 35
An African Story 53
Galloping Foxley 71
The Wish 90
The Surgeon 95
Dip in the Pool 129
The Champion of the World 144
Beware of the Dog 179
My Lady Love, My Dove 194
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2010


    My son's teacher said it's the only type of story the kids will respond to. Did they react to the romantic set-up of the Beach-like Man-Glow? Or maybe it was showing your love with a big gulp of wiskey, have one yourself, good for the kidneys, even if you are pregnant. Disconnect at any bump in the road, wallow in the numbness, pretend it will just go away.

    Maybe she took some practice swings as she held the meat like a club, maybe she didn't, doesn't matter, one minute she's basking, next, the father of her progeny, given the death sentence for reasons she'll never know. Make up a story, practice your lie, find an excuse so you don't have to face the consequenses of your actions, it's for the baby's sake. He made you kill him.

    Nobody takes their homelife to work. Lie to the police, fool them and you fool the world, another drink anyone? Act normal after you ended a life and get ready to giggle for the joke of ignorance. I'm sure the Shock and Awe is in play here, sucker you in with the romantic opening, bash the head and end it with a giggle. I can't find any redeaming value in this story except for her puppy dog like devotion, shallow as it becomes.

    I'm speaking as an adult who finds the feeling of nausea when I read such ugliness. Like facist architecture. This assults the senses, but, dear reader, what does it say to the children? I"m not worried about my kid, we can disect and define the macabre, we learn lots about beauty from the ugly. There are options all along the story. I'd rather have skipped this backpedaling avenue of education but the experts are in control for 180 days and playing the game is as macabre as it gets in todays schools, IMHO. Agree or not with my assessment of the story, can we agree that these adult themes are not for 11 year olds???

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2004

    I think the book Skin by Roald Dahl is really amazing

    The title of this book is Skin, which is written by Roald Dahl.There are eleven suspenseful tales that are relly exciting. In the short story 'Lamb to the Slaughter' the main character Mary Malone kills her husband with a lamb leg and feeds the evidence to the police. One of her problems is being scared that she will be caught because she feeds the evidence to the police. The main idea is her trying to get away with murdering her husband and she does. And all of this happend was because her husband wanted a divorce.I think the book Skin is really cool and exciting because of the eleven different tales in one book because you can choose one of the ones you like best. I also like it because the stories in it are very exciting and make me want to read them!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    What was the point?

    I have conflicting opinions of Roald Dahl¿s Skin and Other Stories. My first reaction was one of disappointment. I was not that impressed with the stories inside. Instead of reading because I was enjoying the stories, I read because I did not know where it was going. Even after completing many of the stories, I was thinking, "What was the point?" Some selections were more engaging, but I was still disappointed. As I read, I was creating endings in my head, many of which seemed like possible Twilight Zone plots. The stories never ended in this way. I am not saying that I disliked the book; it just left me the way I began. It did not spark connections to things I have read, seen, or experienced. Perhaps I had high expectations. Now, as I think back over the different plots and events, I realize the potential the book has. There were some very intriguing characters and events. Although I still do not understand what the point may have been, I am starting to appreciate the book as a whole more. Instead of one continuous story, the reader is presented with a snapshot of the characters¿ lives. When the story is alone, it is like looking at a picture of someone you have never heard of, and never will meet. There really is no need to look at that person¿s picture, but you study it regardless. When all the stories are together, they do not form a complete picture. It is more like a collage of the unusual. You do not gain a better understanding of any one item, but you can appreciate the whole a little more. I do not think this book was great, but I do not think it was bad either. It may have more of an appeal to someone else. I prefer a little more detail and continuity. I am familiar with some of Dahl's other books; one's that really create an imaginative world, and really pull the readers into the story. I do not consider Skin to be comparable to one of those books. This is not a book that sent my mind on a new thought path. I don¿t really have any opinions about the events of the story. Everything seemed to be almost there, but not quite enough. Overall, I just don¿t think this book measured up.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014


    Why would you waist money on a book like this? It is horrible for a reading level 6. It is for ADULT concepts! Not for 11-12 year olds? SERIOUSLY, REALLY!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002


    this is the coolest book ever! I loved it!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014


    This book may be one of Roald Dahl's creepier books, but it is worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    This book sucks

    It cost to much moneybfor a book that isn't good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    skin and other storys

    It is the best book ever.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2005


    This book was absolutely awesome! All the stories were rather eerie, but in a way that it was actually funny. You can tell this collection of stories were written the one and only Roald Dahl, creator of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, BFG, The Twits, blah, blah, blah, etc. These stories were fun to read, filled with unexpected twists and turns and bizarre endings. This was a great book and I would definatly recommend it.

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