The Umbrella Man and Other Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Thirteen stories, selected for teenagers, from Dahl's adult writings, including "The Great Automatic Grammatizator," "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat," and "Vengeance is Mine Inc."

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.99
BN.com price

Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Thirteen stories, selected for teenagers, from Dahl's adult writings, including "The Great Automatic Grammatizator," "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat," and "Vengeance is Mine Inc."

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW called the 13 tales here, all of which previously appeared in collections for adult readers, "Dahl at his merciless best." Ages 12-up. (July) n Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As even Dahl's youngest admirers know, the late master writer can slice through the foibles and flaws of human nature with not just uncommon precision but with gleefully wicked, sometimes macabre humor as well. The 13 tales here, all of which previously appeared in collections for adult readers, show Dahl at his merciless best. There is a greedy, adulterous wife who gets a deftly delivered comeuppance; a sly butler who convinces his social-climbing employer to buy only the rarest of wineswhich he then secretly consumes with the chef while serving his master a "cheap and rather odious Spanish red"; and a shady fellow who more than meets his match when, in his customary disguise as a parson, he attempts to bilk a poor farmer out of a near-priceless antique. "Katina," the volume's chilling, exquisitely crafted centerpiece, ends with the senseless death of a golden-haired orphan who had been befriended by kind members of a fighter squadron stationed in Greece during WWII. The tragic thrust of this tale may hit readers hard. While some adults may deem the characters' martini-mixing, wine-sipping, philandering and marital infidelities inappropriate for those on the younger edge of the target audience, this exceptional compendium will thrill anyone in the mood for Dahl's fabled blade-sharp wit. Ages 12-up. May
VOYA - Richard Gercken
Purportedly chosen to appeal to young readers, these thirteen stories have few young characters and lack that special Dahl-ian (who is now deceased) appeal of children turning the tables on parents or other adults. Most of the stories do contain Dahl's surprise twist for an end, however; in fact, more than one offer the oxymoron of a predictable surprise. The long story Katina contains remarkable, concise description and sustains a wartime mood. The Way Up to Heaven portrays with conviction a mousy wife dominated by her husband, but overall the stories tend to be short on setting, character, and development. The Umbrella Man and the thirty-three-page Parson's Pleasures are essentially anecdotes. Dahl's wicked humor is usually present along with considerable suspense and bizarre subjects, like bees and their secretion of royal jelly, which one can imagine no other writer taking on as springboards. But one problem in Dahl's writing is particularly evident in Vengeance is Mine, Inc. The story is set in America and has all American characters, but the characters talk about paraffin stoves and the late afternoon post. While young adults who are good, habitual readers might enjoy the plots and the turnarounds, most American teens will not be galvanized by stories whose narrative lines feature the value of fur coats, collecting antique furniture, boarding houses in Bath, or vintage wines. Though the publisher classifies the reading level as young adult, even the dust jacket seems more suitable for children, or adults, than young adults. This book was originally published in England as The Great Automatic Grammatizator. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Here's another collection of Dahl's adult stories carefully selected for the teenage crowd who have grown beyond the author's raffish novels for youngsters. The same wry intelligence is obviously behind these tales. Most of them are sly put-ons waiting for the inevitable comeuppance of their slightly shady, or sometimes too innocent, characters. Dahl always wrote well, though, and in "Katrina," a story gleaned from his fighter pilot experience in Greece during World War II, his descriptions turn evocative and moving. These are the sort of stories one means to put down, then finds oneself inexplicably in the middle of the next.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Readers who were turned on to chapter books with the magic of Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970) and the wondrous James and the Giant Peach (1961, both Knopf) will be interested to discover that Dahl began his writing career composing adult short stories--macabre, ironic tales that were translated into scripts for a popular TV series. This collection, based on those tales, is perfect for teen sensibilities. These poisonous gems reflect a British black humor sniping at greedy, pretentious folk. The language is precise, without an extraneous adjective; "The Landlady" is indeed "terribly nice" and Lady Turton of "Neck" prances and snorts like a barely restrained high-strung filly. Teachers looking for examples of irony need look no further than "Parson's Pleasure," in which an overeager antique collector gets exactly what he asks for. Feminists may be a bit offended; Dahl's antipathy for the female sex is rather evident throughout the stories. Wife and family are often an encumbrance in his world. "Royal Jelly" stars a father who is overinvolved in the caring for and feeding of his new offspring; it is a delicious morsel to serve to grown up "Goosebumps" fans. This baker's dozen is a treat for all YA collections.-Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Kirkus Reviews
A baker's dozen of barbed, witty, obliquely macabre short stories, most drawn fromþor at least previously published inþTales of the Unexpected (1979, 1990). Additionally, there is a heart-rending wartime story of a young Greek orphan adopted by a beleaguered RAF squadron, a hilarious tale of two airheads who decide to make a fortune from grateful socialites by punching a gossip columnist in the nose, and "The Great Automatic Grammatizator," a period piece about a primitive computer that whips out hugely profitable novels and stories in minutes. Nearly every story ends with a twist: a scam revealed or going wrong; a sinister revelation; or, as in the final entry, "Neck," a sudden conclusion that derails carefully established expectations. Several stories show their age in dated details, or are slow to develop, and younger fans may find many of the conversations as tedious as the lengthy, satirically exact speeches about bees, wine, and antique furniture. Still, this sampler of Dahl's writing at least conveys a sense of his versatility. (Short stories. 13+)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101636282
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/20/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 185,031
  • File size: 792 KB

Meet the Author

CHILDHOOD



Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and he was the only son of a second marriage. His father, Harald, and elder sister Astri died when Roald was just three. His mother, Sofie, was left to raise two stepchildren and her own four children (Alfhild, Roald, Else and Asta). Roald was her only son. He remembered his mother as “a rock, a real rock, always on your side whatever you’d done. It gave me the most tremendous feeling of security”. Roald based the character of the grandmother in The Witches on his mother - it was his tribute to her.



The young Roald loved stories and books. His mother told Roald and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures. “She was a great teller of tales,” Roald said, “Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten.” As an older child, Roald enjoyed adventure stories - “Captain Marryat was one of my favourites” – before going on to read Dickens and Thackeray as well as short-story writer Ambrose Bierce.



His father Harald was, as Roald recalled in Boy, a tremendous diary-writer. “I still have one of his many notebooks from the Great War of 1914-18. Every single day during those five war years he would write several pages of comment and observation about the events of the time.”



Roald himself kept a secret diary from the age of eight. “To make sure that none of my sisters got hold of it and read it, I used to put it in a waterproof tin box tied to a branch at the very top of an enormous conker tree in our garden. I knew they couldn’t climb up there. Then every day I would go up myself and get it out and sit in the tree and make the entries for the day.”



Roald’s parents seem to have instilled in him a number of character traits. In Boy, he talks of his father’s interest in “lovely paintings and fine furniture” as well as gardening. In spite of only having one arm, he was also a fine woodcarver. Paintings, furniture and gardening would all be passions of the adult Roald Dahl. Similarly, remembering his mother, in Roald Dahl’s Cookbook, he recalls “she had a crystal-clear intellect and a deep interest in almost everything under the sun, from horticulture to cooking to wine to literature to paintings to furniture to birds and dogs and other animals.” Roald might very well have been describing his adult self.



SCHOOL



Roald had an unhappy time at school. From the age of seven to nine, he attended Llandaff Cathedral School. His chief memories of this time, as described in Boy, are of trips to the sweet shop. The seeds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were already being sown as young Roald and his four friends lingered outside the shop window, gazing in at the big glass jars of sweets and pondering such questions as how Gobstoppers change colour and whether rats might be turned into liquorice. Sherbert suckers were one of Roald’s favourites – “Each Sucker consisted of a yellow cardboard tube filled with sherbert powder, and there was a hollow liquorice straw sticking out of it… You sucked the sherbert up through the straw and when it was finished you ate the liqourice… The sherbet fizzed in your mouth, and if you knew how to do it, you could make white froth come out of your nostrils and pretend you were throwing a fit.”



Boarding at St. Peter’s prep school in Weston-Super-Mare, from 1925-9, proved less of a sweet experience for Roald. He was just nine years old when he arrived at St. Peters and had to contend with the twitching Latin Master Captain Hardcastle, the all-powerful Matron - a dead ringer for Miss Trunchball, who “disliked small boys very much indeed” and the cane-wielding Headmaster. Not surprisingly, Roald suffered from acute homesickness. At St. Peter’s, Roald got into the habit of writing to his mother once a week. He continued to do so until her death 32 years later. Later, when his own children went to boarding school, Roald wrote to them twice a week to brighten up the drudgery of their school days.



Roald was thirteen when he started at Repton, a famous public school in Derbyshire. He excelled at sports, particularly heavyweight boxing and squash, but was deemed by his English master to be “quite incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper”. Whatever else he was forced to endure, there was one huge advantage to going to Repton. The school was close to Cadbury’s, one of England’s most famous chocolate factories and one which regularly involved the schoolboys in testing new varieties of chocolate bars.



Dahl’s unhappy time at school was to greatly influence his writing. He once said that what distinguished him from most other children’s writers was “this business of remembering what it was like to be young.” Roald’s childhood and schooldays are the subject of his autobiography Boy.

WAR & ADVENTURE



At 18, rather than going to university, Roald joined the Public Schools Exploring Society’s expedition to Newfoundland. He then started work for Shell as a salesman in Dar es Salaam. He was 23 when war broke out and signed up with the Royal Air Force in Nairobi. At first, the station doctor balked at his height (6ft 6in or 2 metres) but he was accepted as a pilot officer and was trained on the birdplane Gladiator fighters, mainly in Iraq. He then flew to join his squadron in the Western Desert of Libya but crashed en-route.



Dahl’s exploits in the war are detailed in his autobiography Going Solo. They include having a luger pointed at his head by the leader of a German convoy, crashlanding in no-man’s land (and sustaining injuries that entailed having his nose pulled out and shaped!) and even surviving a direct hit during the Battle of Athens, when he was sufficiently recovered to fly again – this time in Hurricanes. Eventually, he was sent home as an invalid but transferred, in 1942, to Washington as an air attaché. It was there that he would meet an important writer who would set him on the path to a new career.



THE FIRST CHAPTER: ROALD BEGINS TO WRITE



In 1942, during his time in Washington, C S Forester, author of Captain Hornblower, took Roald to lunch. Forester was in America to publicise the British war effort and hoped Roald would describe his version of the war, which Forester would write up for the Saturday Evening Post. Roald chose to write down his experiences. Ten days after receiving the account, Forester wrote back “Did you know you were a writer? I haven’t changed a word.” He enclosed a cheque for $900 from the Post. The piece appeared anonymously in August 1942 under the title “Shot Down Over Libya”. Roald’s career as a writer was underway.



Roald Dahl’s first book for children was not, as many suppose, James and the Giant Peach but The Gremlins, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The story of The Gremlins focused on the mischievous spirits that, according to RAF legend, cause aircraft-engine failures. In the end, the project to make a movie version was abandoned but the book was published. Roald was never very keen on The Gremlins and didn’t really think of it as a children’s book. Nevertheless, it caught Eleanor Roosevelt’s eye and Roald became a not infrequent guest at th

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.

Read More Show Less
    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 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    Awesome Collection

    This collection contains a variety of witty stories that won't disappoint.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2002

    Dahl's Great Works

    This is a great collection of Dahl's short stories. Recommended for those who like Dahl's stories, with the touch of his way of writing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    Not much for long drawn out stories? This is for you!!

    This book is full of short, entertaining stories. Once you start reading one of the stories you won't want to stop! Take it from me...I am a very picky reader who has to be entertained constantly when reading! This book did that! The stories never end how you would expect them to! There are always exciting twists and turns! There was only one story in this book that I did not enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)