Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

George's Marvelous Medicine

George's Marvelous Medicine

Roald Dahl
Illustrator:   Quentin Blake 
For ages 7 to 11
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2002   ISBN: 978-0375822063

George has been left in charge of his Grandma and he is very annoyed that he has been asked to do this task for, unlike most grandmas in this world, George’s Grandma is just about the most horrible old lady imaginable. The old tyrant loves to taunt and insult her grandson, calling him a whole battery of hurtful names. Perhaps George’s most important task is to remember to give Grandma her medicine at eleven o’clock. George isn’t sure why they bother giving Grandma the medicine as it doesn’t seem to do her any good. She is just as grumpy and sick after she takes the medicine as she was before she took it.

So George, being a resourceful sort of boy, decides that he is going to make Grandma some new medicine, some medicine which will either cure her grumpiness or make her blow up. At the very least the whole thing will be most entertaining. George then goes from room to room pouring the contents of bottles, jars, boxes, and packets into a great big pot. Shampoo, horse pills, paint, shoe polish, and a wide variety of other items all end up in the pot. After a quick brewing on the stove, the medicine is ready and soon Grandma, and several other unsuspecting ‘patients,’ get the shock of their lives.

This delightful Dahl creation has all the components necessary for a good read: a gripping well paced plot, magic, an evil character who has to be overcome, a healthy sprinkling of humor, and Quentin Blake’s signature pen and ink drawings. There is an element of black humor in the tale which makes Dahl’s writings so unique; children all over the world cannot resist his stories.