“The stories we hear in our childhood are the ones we remember all our lives”
– Stephen King
Childhood has its own aura. Things you do in childhood shapes you into the person you will become. This also applies to reading as well. Every story, good or bad has something to give. The magic of stories stays with you lifelong. You never outgrow those stories. So, it’s never too late to go back to that treasure trove of stories.
I recently read ‘The Twits’ written by Roald Dahl and beautifully illustrated by his friend Quentin Blake. Roald Dahl is a master storyteller. Even in this weird story of Mr. & Mrs. Twit, he didn’t disappoint me. In this listicle, I have curated five things I learned from the book.
1. Dirty makes you pesky
Remember the school days when the teachers were always particular about the sanitation and hygiene of the students. Because they very well knew how dirtiness affects the well-being of the students. Who knows, maybe they learned it from reading stories like ‘The Twits’.
Mr. & Mrs. Twit, the main characters of the book are the most hideous people one could ever encounter in life. They don’t bathe for days. Mr. Twit is even worse because his beard has grown into a bush, and whenever he eats, the crumbs of the food are left behind in his beard. Tacky, isn’t it? This doesn’t mean that they are ugly, but their dirtiness like a shield has covered up all the goodness, which makes them look pesky and evil.
The fascinating thing is that Roald Dahl personally hated beards and was very particular about cleanliness. He came to the conclusion that beards were grown to conceal something dreadful in a person’s personality. This also teaches us that writing a story on the things you hate, not only works as a way to vent out your thoughts but also helps you make a few bucks if you are a prolific writer. Well played, Mr. Dahl!
2. Make a choice- Pranks or Life
‘The Twits’ being anti-social are the idlest people. An empty mind is the perfect breeding ground for evil. Just like Tom& Jerry, Mr. and Mrs. Twit keeps on pulling evil pranks on each other. While Mrs. Twit mixes worms in Mr. Twit’s spaghetti, Mr. Twit avenges it by placing toad inside her blanket. At one instant, Mrs. Twit was about to risk her life because of Mr. Twit’s devilish pranks.
Thus, there is a lesson for everyone that don’t risk your life by playing pranks. Because this fun could cost you, your life.
Also Read: Five must-read books for all the ‘misfits’
3. Don’t mess with nature
Evil pranks of ‘The Twits’ are not just limited to themselves. As they don’t miss any chance to exercise their wickedness on the innocent animals. They own a family of four monkeys- ‘The Muggle-Wump Monkeys’, whom they order to stand upside down.
‘The Twits’ had worked in a circus as monkey trainers where they used to teach monkeys to do tricks and dress up in human clothes. Now, although they are retired, Mr. Twit still wants to train monkeys. It is his dream to own the first ‘great upside-down’ monkey circus in the world. That means that the monkeys have to do everything upside down. This sounds silly, right?
But one day you have to pay the price for all your sins. The similar goes with nature. Nobody can escape from nature. It has its own way of taking revenge for all the wrongdoings of the humans. Although this was presented in a funny and hypothetical way in the book, there lies an important lesson for everyone- ‘Don’t mess with nature!’
4. Wordplay is fun
Even though, ‘The Twits’ is like any other children’s book that teaches you good things, what makes it stand out is the amazing vocabulary of Roald Dahl.
Dahl loved playing around with words and inventing new ones. His humor coupled with his mind-boggling vocabulary is a treat for his readers. This also becomes exciting as you read and find a new absurd word, you try to search whether it exists or not. I did it many times while reading this book. Both kids and adults could learn something out of it. Kids could learn to remember new words by using them in a playful way, similarly, adults could baffle their peers with a fresh stock of words. So, now you know the secret to be legendary!
‘I’ll swish you to a swazzle!’ she shouted.
‘I’ll swash you to a swizzle! I’ll gnash you to a gnozzle! I’ll gnosh you to a gnazzle!’
5. Never underestimate the power of glue
Yeah, you have read it correctly. During childhood, we grew up watching ads of glues like Fevicol, that promised unflinching holding power. And if you think those were just an advertisement then think twice! 😛
Mr. Twit is quite obsessed with glues. Whenever he wants to prank Mrs. Twit his powerful glue comes to rescue. Similarly, the Twits are fond of eating Bird Pie every Wednesday. Mr. Twit is good at catching birds. Therefore, on the day before ‘The Bird Pie’ day, he would put the ladder up against ‘The Big Dead’ tree, and climb into the branches with a bucket of glue and a paint-brush. The glue he uses is called ‘Hugtight’ and it’s stickier than any other glue in the world. He uses this dreadful technique to catch innocent birds.
The glue he used for his devilish acts, works as a boon for the innocent animals at the end. And they end up paying for their evil acts. So, here Roald Dahl has a message for all the young parents out there. Give the example of the ‘Hugtight’ glue to scare your notorious kids.
Roald Dahl was totally convinced that most grown-ups completely forget what it is like to be a child. He believed kindness is the most important attribute in any human being and preferred it over any other virtue. I think these are the two things you will definitely learn from any of his books i.e. to never forget the child in you and to be kind. ‘The Twits’ is a children’s book with immense maturity. I loved reading it and would highly recommend everyone. Read it and grow with it!