About the Book
Title: Esio Trot * Author: Roald Dahl * Illustrator: Quentin Blake * Publication Date: Latest edition ~ January, 2009 * Publisher: Puffin Books * Pages: 64 * Recommended Age: 8 to 12
Summary: An ancient spell, 140 tortoises, and a little bit of magic…
Mr. Hoppy is in love with his neighbor, Mrs. Silver; but she is in love with someone else—Alfie, her pet tortoise. With all her attention focused on Alfie, Mrs. Silver doesn’t even know Mr. Hoppy is alive. And Mr. Hoppy is too shy to even ask Mrs. Silver over for tea. Then one day Mr. Hoppy comes up with a brilliant idea to get Mrs. Silver’s attention. If Mr. Hoppy’s plan works, Mrs. Silver will certainly fall in love with him. After all, everyone knows the way to a woman’s heart is through her tortoise.
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1. What is the book about? The book is about a man who lives in an apartment who is very lonely but under him, there’s one person he secretly loves but he won’t tell anybody. That person (Mrs. Silver) gives all her love to her pet tortoise, Alfie. Mrs. Silver thinks that Alfie is not growing fast enough and he’s too small. So, one day, Mr. Hoppy tells Mrs. Silver about a secret spell to help Alfie grow. Then, he invents the tortoise catcher, goes to a pet shop and buys 140 tortoises and then every few days, he switches a tortoise for a bigger one so it looks like Alfie is growing. Then, Mrs. Silver is happy and they get married.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? I think the pictures were really funny and cool. I really liked the one with Mr. Hoppy and all the tortoises in his living room.
3. What are your favorite parts of the book? I liked the spell because it’s really cool how it works, but I can’t tell you how. I liked how he went to buy tortoises so he could switch them every few days. He was sneaking around and it was funny.
4. Would you like a pet tortoise? Why or Why not? I would like a pet tortoise because it would be cool to have a tortoise walking around the house because it’s pretty rare to see a tortoise anywhere unless you are at the zoo. I don’t think our cats would like him though. They would either run for their lives or attack it.
5. Overall, what did you think about the book? I thought it was really good, cool, and funny. It was one of my favorite books by Roald Dahl. I would give it 5 stars.
6. Who do you think would like this book? I think that a lot of people might like this book but some might not. Some grown-ups might like it – my Mom did!
My Thoughts: I have to admit that I had never heard of Esio Trot before I was browsing for books to purchase my son for Christmas in our local bookstore. But heh, it’s written by one of the most well-respected children’s book authors of our time, Roald Dahl (and let’s not forget the genius of illustrator Quentin Blake), so of course it ended up in my basket overflowing with books!
The story centers around Mr. Hoppy, who is in love with the neighbor living just below him in his apartment building, Mrs. Silver. But Mrs. Silver only has one love in her life, her pet tortoise Alfie. Being a shy man, Mr. Hoppy is unable to muster up the courage to ask Mrs. Silver up to his flat for a cup of tea, until one day he concocts a plan to win over Mrs. Silver’s heart who laments that Alfie is not growing fast enough.
Mr. Hoppy comes to her rescue by devising a magical spell beginning with the following:
ESIO TROT, ESIO TROT,
TEG REGGIB REGGIB!
He then cleverly purchases 140 tortoises in incremental sizes, fashions himself a “tortoise-catcher” to surreptitiously snatch and switch his neighbor’s tortoise thus making it seem as if the spell is working. Oh, the things you do for love! In classic Roald Dahl style, filled with whimsy and delight, along with the numerous illustrations by Quentin Blake in his signature style, the story will certainly leave readers feeling satisfied from start to finish.
Ok, so I do have to admit, however, that part of me was wondering how children would react to the main protagonists being “older” (i.e., adults) and the theme centered on “love”. Most children’s books have at least one child as a character, but Esio Trot has no children at all. I guess the true test is what my son has to say about it!
Also worthy of mention is that, in the edition I purchased, there are a few “add-ons” in the back of the back including “A Day in the Life of Roald Dahl” where we get a sneak peek into his writing habits; a section on some of Dahl’s invented words (frothbungling, anyone? quogwinkle?); weird and wonderful facts about Roald Dahl; information about illustrator Quentin Blake, and much more!
My Bottom Line: Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake have created a unique and memorable story in Esio Trot. If you are already a fan of Dahl’s children’s books, I’m sure you will also enjoy Esio Trot! It is a great choice for reading aloud or for independent readers who are not quite ready for middle grade tomes such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Ages 5 to 10.
* This book was purchased as a Christmas gift for my son. All opinions expressed are our own. *
* REMINDER: Roald Dahl Gift Basket Giveaway *
Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a wonderful gift basket containing one print copy of EACH of the books listed above. Yes, you read that right – 11 books by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake PLUS a Roald Dahl lunch box PLUS a Roald Dahl calendar!