Grandpa’s Great Escape–David Walliams

Given the title of this book I thought it would be far more fun than it was. It was actually kind of terrifying for kids I think. Or at least for the 4 year old I read it to.

I had to keep editing a little because it deals with Alzheimers and really rough treatment of such patients. (Only because the operators of the facility were evil.)

I would like to see a book for kids where caretakers or nurses in this situation weren’t portrayed as evil. That would be nice.

Overall, this was a good book to learn about what is happening to your grandparent/loved one and helped explain Alzheimers in a nice and thoughtful way for the most part. That aspect wasn’t too scary. So if that runs in your family or you are having a hard time explaining to your kids, this might help.

Or make it worse. Depends on the kid, I suspect.

I didn’t like it that much. But, hello, not my age group.

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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing–Judy Blume

This book is dear to me only because I read it to my little cousin and he not only enjoyed the antics, but it kind of reminded me that he is an extra special little guy.

In that he’s articulate and does not throw tantrums the likes of this kids little brother Fudge.

In fact, I found that some of this was unrealistic (obviously, it’s a kids book made for entertainment not realism.) and didn’t show Fudge being a particularly verbal kid.

BUT I have to remember that not every kid is a little sass-pot like my cousin and that he is in fact the exception to the rule. (He’s a clever little twerp who told me just last week “I am capable of walking, thank you.” and to his sister when he was asked to do something “I am not available for that.” haha He’s four and amazing.)

This book also gave us the lovely phrase “Eat it or wear it.” to which I say whenever we are in an argument at lunch time and it helps us to ease our frustration with each other.

It was a cute book, definitely good to read to or with a kid. (Nothing like the weirdo Roald Dahl books that bordered on inappropriate constantly.)

Constant vigilance.

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The Roald Dahl Collection

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Admittedly, I didn’t know Roald Dahl even wrote this. I thought it came from the likes of someone with a twisted mind like Tim Burton.

Well, given what his other books, I wasn’t totally wrong.

This book was good, but had some serious darkness in it. I didn’t like reading to the kid that the foxes were trapped at one point and that the evil farmer was trying to basically set them on fire.

Not exactly kid friendly those bits.

Plus the foxes were starving to death at one point I think.

It’s okay though, they build a small society with their other animal friends.

I don’t 100% remember this book, so maybe read it before you read it to your kid.

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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

I didn’t know this book existed. This follows Charlie, his grandfather, and Willy Wonka on their adventure after they burst through the roof.

There’s probably a reason why I never knew this existed, and that’s because it turns a little sci-fi on us and moves away from the classic Chocolate Factory aspect of things.

They end up going through space, then nearly being gunned down by the army, and a whole slew of misadventures.

It was still cute, but not as good as the first, which is probably why he never revisited these characters again.

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The Magic Finger

Another weird one for the record books. But only in that it had an odd magical element, nothing truly creepy or life threatening could come of this one. It was just about a little girl who was mad at the neighbours for hunting and turned them into birds.

It was okay.

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The Twits

Have you had enough of my non-review reviews? Have you had enough of Roald Dahl?

Me too.

I’ve heard about this book for awhile, it’s noted as one of his best, and I can’t agree on that. I definitely enjoyed Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory better. Hell, I enjoyed The Witches better.

The Twits was good in that it was odd, but that’s where it ended. I didn’t like them at all (I’m guessing you weren’t supposed to) and I can’t stand books where it’s teaching kids new ways to be bad.

But then again, I guess it’s also teaching kids what retaliation is for when you ARE bad. Because there’s a monkey uprising in this.

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Danny the Champion of the World

I love a good gypsy story, but I think I’m just on the outs with Roald Dahl at this point. Reading the entire collection he has to a kid over the span of months is really daunting if you find some of his stories to be flipping weird.

On the one hand, this story was sweet because it was about a father and son, how they plot ways to get back at a mean man, but on the other hand: I can’t read anymore of these books.
Yeesh. Maybe it’s just the way I perceive them, maybe other people see the good parts where the villain is conquered, but I just see these books as a ‘How-to’ on misbehaviour.

I think I’m turning into an adult.
It’s finally happening. Oh God. Help me.

I bet I would’ve loved these books as kids! To see adults get their comeuppance for keeping the kids spirits down! But as an adult I can’t help thinking what little brats some of the kids in these stories are.

Anyway…. this wasn’t the worst of them. I’d say you could read this to your kid, no matter what age.

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So that’s the last of the Roald Dahl! Next week will be back to regular programming!

(Especially since the kid wants me to sing to him at naptime instead of read to him.)

Constant vigilance!

George’s Marvellous Medicine–Roald Dahl

Sigh.

Here’s another interesting book by Roald Dahl. And wildly inappropriate for a kid. I have to keep reminding myself that these are not meant for Daryl’s age group (Being 3 years old.) . That they are meant for older kids. But I also don’t appreciate what this one was saying to that age group either.

This is about George. George’s grandmother is a bit of an intolerable shrew.

All this woman does is complain and treat people like garbage. She talks down to everyone, she yells at them, and is a complete and utter unappreciative …well…asshole.

So I don’t blame George for thinking that maybe the old hag could use something to make her more pleasant.

Thus he creates his ‘Marvellous Medicine’.

Which includes things from the kitchen, things from the barn, things from the bathroom. I’m talking perfume, horse pills, toilet bowl cleaner, various things from around the house.

Most of which aren’t safe for people to be ingesting.

Which is why I was like “Oh Hell no Roald Dahl. What are you telling kids here!!!” I could understand if it was like peppers or flowers or something that wouldn’t cause a person actual harm, but the list of things this guy included shouldn’t be anywhere near an old persons stomach. Let alone a kids hands.

It was supposed to be magical, but I just found it disturbing.

This guy. *Shakes head*

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Happy Halloween!

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Tonight I will be watching the “parade” of kids that come in to my moms house because she has a literal buffet for them to pick from, and try to contain my dogs anxiety while also watching something scary and pilfering Reese’s pieces with my little sister.

Hope everyone had a safe weekend of partying and fun!

I can’t wait to see the tiny humans beg for candy.

Happy Halloween!

(Moment of silence for Lily and James Potter would be welcome as well. 😉 )

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The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me—Roald Dahl

This book was short and sweet and so will this review be:

This was about a little boy who was introduced to his new neighbours: a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey. They had just moved in and were renovating a house to be their business. They were opening a window cleaning business and the boy shows them a house that really needs it since there are several hundred windows and they all live happily ever after cleaning these windows.

It was short, which was good since there was zero plot for this kids book, and I liked it. It was cute and Daryl liked the bits about the animals.

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James and the Giant Peach—Roald Dahl

Again, being a kid of the 90s I watched the movie version of this first and I believe I thought it was super creepy.

The book however was quite sweet. The story is, of course, that James’ parents die, he moves in with his terrible aunts, they mistreat him, magic makes a peach grow alongside a bunch of bugs in the area, and adventure begins as the aunts are bowled over by the oversized peach.

I really liked this one, it had funny jokes, wordplay, and I learned some interesting information on bugs.

Definitely a good book for any age child.

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The Witches—Roald Dahl

Hey there, here’s another for the list of things not to read to children.

Firstly, I don’t know why the hell I thought Roald Dahl WASN’T going to be a big creep. The descriptions alone should’ve made me turn away from reading these to a two year old.

I mean, the book is called “The Witches”. I should’ve known.

But hey. Live and learn, right?

Short, creepy, and full of witches, mice, and mayhem, this book is about a kid who discovers real witches and learns from his grandmother how to fight them off.

The problem is: Witches look like any normal person.

In the beginning of the book Dahl goes on to give you a list of people who are likely witches, they are always women and could be anyone from your teacher to your mother to the person reading the book right now. And then goes on to describe how you can tell who is a witch and who isn’t.

The only saving grace I had working with this book was that Daryl would fall asleep pretty easily during it. And that I would use a witch hand to tickle him so that it wasn’t so terrifying.

Good for older kids I suppose.

If you hate them and want to give them nightmares.

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The BFG–Roald Dahl

The kid and I have moved on from short baby stories for the soul purpose of helping me to not keep reading the same story over and over again at nap time.

Thus taking us over to his sisters collection of Roald Dahl books that I thought would be a safe bet when reading to a child.

I was wrong.
The Big Friendly Giant was pretty interesting… in that it made it sound like kids being snatched from their beds in the middle of the night and gobbled up by monsters was just an ordinary event.

I actually found this one a little scary, especially for the kid. At the time he was just two years old so it was normal for me to keep censoring the scary bits where if a kid sees a shadow outside the window it’s likely to be something coming to eat him.

Definitely for ages 7 and up.

But otherwise, I really liked the storyline. I liked that it all started out so simply, a little girl sees a giant with a horn blowing something into kids windows. She follows him and it is found out that he was blowing nice dreams into the kids heads while they slept. Meanwhile his fellow giants were stealing kids from their beds all over the world and eating them like jelly beans.

The BFG doesn’t like that so the pair decide to stop them all once and for all.

They end up contacting the Queen of England through a dream and she helps to secure her nation and the world.

The word play in this book was fun, the story was sweet (even if a little too sinister for a toddler), and I’m glad I’m reading up on some kids classics that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to read.

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Matilda–Roald Dahl

The kid and I, well mostly me, decided to start reading all the Roald Dahl books in his sisters room after I had read the Disney stories until I could barf. (And I love Disney stories.) I basically knew the entire thing cover to cover, and it had pictures, and it was heavy to hold, so I decided to move on to paperbacks.

As a kid who grew up in the 90’s I had watched the movie Matilda and prayed that someday I would get magical powers and be able to move things with my mind.

Reading the book now, as a 29 year old human, I have come to one conclusion:

I want magical powers and to be able to move things with my mind.

This book is (if you haven’t heard about it or read anything) about a little girl whose family is wretched and she ends up getting telepathic powers and decides to exact revenge for them being terrible people on them and anyone else who acts wrongly.

I liked this book, I like his style, I liked the story, I liked Matilda and Ms. Honey, and I loved that Hank loved it. He would get tired and ask for “Batilda” with a sigh like I was the one keeping him awake.

What I didn’t like however, was some of the cursing and the fact that Matilda’s parents were actually just going to leave her behind. And then let Ms Honey adopt her like it was no big deal to just get rid of their kid. Made me mad. But whatever.

Lovely book otherwise.

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Peter Pan–J.M. Barrie

I think I’m Captain Hook.

I was very excited to finally reach this book on my shelf, it has been a long time coming. But then something happened where, as a self-proclaimed child and fancifier of ridiculousness, I’m embarrassed to admit:

I’m an adult.

And I found Peter to be a bit of a dick.

I realize that life as a kid means that you are constantly distracted, things are fleeting, and people come in and out of your life all the time. You are innocent, naïve, and lack people skills most of the time.

But Peter treated people like they are disposable and didn’t matter. All he wanted to do was to play games, didn’t matter who he was playing with or that peoples lives could be in danger. It was to show the carelessness of youth.

I wanted to punch Peter by the end of the book and I sympathized with Captain Hook and his wanting to exact revenge on the juvenile delinquent who cut off his hand and thought it was funny.

Peter seems to be a bit of a psychopath.

Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into it. Or I’m a little sensitive to the underdog.

That would be 100% true since my favourite characters have always been Mr. Darling and Mrs. Darling, and Nana.

The three caretakers left behind to wait and worry.

Most people think Mr. Darling was a bit of a dick too and that Peter is a hero, but I think the hero is the person who works his ass off for his family in spite of having an obvious anxiety disorder and social awkwardness. And Mrs. Darling, for always putting her family first and never giving up on the hope that they would come back to her. Nana, who always worried and took care of her charges even when they treated her like a dumb dog.

I’m empathic by nature, so I felt all the worry, the wonder, the sadness, and the delight of this book. Even as a kid I remember not liking the cartoon Peter Pan because he seemed like a puffed up little twerp in need of a mother of a backhand.

However, I do enjoy his good qualities: Childlike wonder, seeing magic in every day events, and being downright playful in the face of danger.

It was the greatest day ever when I met the “real life” Peter Pan at Disney and we had a good talk and goofing around with my sisters.

But no wonder the kid thought I was a pirate. Because I empathize with the Captain.

Constant vigilance.

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Keep Moving Forward: Adulting

Last week I promised you a topic that I had a brief discussion with my piano teacher about, something that I find pretty interesting, and a double Keep Moving Forward this week was mentioned.

So here we go!

We were talking about being adults.

I shall also be renaming my teacher…Giles. Not because he is as mature numerically or British as Anthony Stewart Head, but because he kind of looks like a young version of him. And he teaches me things. Most of the time. I’m usually thinking about food, so he has a hard time getting me to concentrate.

And I obviously look like Buffy. (Haw. Haw.)

Anyway, anonymity aside, Giles is turning 34 and I’m heading into my 30s in a year and a half. [Saying that just took all the air from my lungs.]

He said something that makes complete and utter sense to me because I’d been feeling the same way for a while.

He said, “Adults do not exist. We are all just pretending.”

Now, I know some real adults. Like capital ‘A’ adults. I consider my parents and grandparents adults, but I also know they all have that childlike side to them that sneaks out every once in awhile and I’m wondering if they are just pretending too.

I’m in my late 20s and my little cousins consider me an adult, while I most decidely do not.

Carol said to me once that I am every age, and that’s crazy and wonderful for them because then I’m not always being a grown up while also not always being immature and annoying as I spend the day with them.

That’s high praise guys. High praise. [Insert Nicholas Cage face.]

Now, since I’m in my late 20s, my friends are all getting married, talking babies, some have already made babies, and there are houses, real careers, and cars in their lives. They’ve found love and happiness and all seem (on the outside) like real adults to me.

I feel insecurely immature compared to them because I still live in my parents house, I do not own my own vehicle, I have never had a high paying job, I have never been in love, I’ve never even just made out with someone for the hell of it.

And spoiler alert to next weeks KMF: I still hold my V-card.

So that whole baby thing is lost on me. Even though I have my part time baby Daryl over here. Who I just watched lick a hashbrown for ten minutes without actually eating any of it.

Here’s a shocker: That’s enough for me at the moment.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I could become an adult, how I could be doing more, being more, and generally living up to the expectations of my grandparents and family.

It kind of hurts a little when you aren’t considered an adult by your family because you haven’t hurled a human out of your lady parts. That’s not my fault! I want to wait for love! I don’t just want some randoms baby! Sorry I haven’t found a gentleman to fornica–

I’m getting a little all over the map here so I’ll just copy and paste my mic drop to my best guy friend, who shall be renamed…Thor.

I need to confirm with people if they actually enjoy these name changes someday.

We talked about this topic together after my lesson because it really hit a note with me. [Heyo, pun not intended.] Hit me so hard that I ranted like a motherfucker.

Thor pointed out that there will be a bit of anxiety lifted when we leave our twenties, like we will have that deadline of accomplishing so much by the time we are 30. There IS no deadline. You just have to live your life the way you choose.

Here’s my response:

“I think so too. Like, this is my life and I can do what I want. And that is just the most relieving thing ever. There’s so much pressure when you are in your 20s to do it all before 30, but who the hell made that rule? I’ve never owned my own car, I’ve never had a house, I’ve never been in love the way it apparently matters, but I live with my family and we have fun even when we are fighting, and I don’t mind living with my family because of that. I like being close to them, it’s very isolating not being included in what’s happening with them. And so I’ve never been in romantic love? But I’ve loved leaps and bounds with people. I never thought that other loves would matter besides having a boyfriend or significant other, and I think that’s the lesson that all these years alone has taught me. Love isn’t one section or person in your life. It’s all the sections. If you don’t live your life with love and light than what the hell is the damn point of doing anything?

If you don’t have that person that doesn’t mean the rest of what you are doing doesn’t matter. It just means that you get to learn about all the different kinds of loves and most of all how to become more yourself without someone else, which I think is actually really important.

I get to be so many things, and just because ‘girlfriend’ or ‘wife’ isn’t on that list doesn’t mean anything. All it says is that I love myself enough to wait for the real deal. So when I leave my 20s that’s the most important thing I’ll take with me. And that age doesn’t matter, you are who you are no matter what age you are going to grow to.

What matter is that you GET to grow older and wiser, and to feel like a shit head just because you haven’t “achieved” all these “things” shouldn’t exist in your mind in the first place. YOU make the rules. YOU make your life. Just because everyone else is driving in the lines doesn’t mean I should ever be ashamed that I’m painting on the sidewalk.”

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Keep moving forward, live your life without the pressure of accomplishing so much when you are meant to just ENJOY life.

Which is why I’m taking piano and singing lessons at 28 years old.  I do what I want.

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