Written by Roald Dahl in 1982 and published by Puffin Books together with illustrations by Quentin Blake in 1984, Revolting Rhymes is still probably the best children's book ever. Comprising of six nursery rhymes, the book re-tells popular fairy stories but with a modern, darker twist and a cover illustration of a wolf reading to two terrified-looking kids on his lap.


  1. Cinderella
  2. Jack and the Beanstalk
  3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  4. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  5. Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
  6. The Three Little Pigs
With slightly more controversial text than most parents would ideally like to see in a children's book, the protagonists of these stories have their twee personalities from the original stories stripped away and replaced with pure, by-god arse-kicking attitude. Cinderella bangs her fists on the wall and demands to be allowed access to the palace disco, Snow White steals the Queen's magic mirror to allow the dwarves to bet on horses with a higher success rate (of course, all the dwarves are ex-jockeys) and Little Red Riding Hood, who appears in both her own story and towards the end of The Three Little Pigs, more closely resembles Lara Croft than what we had, until that point, been brought up to believe.
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, 'Hello, and please do note
'My lovely furry wolfskin coat.'
- from Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
So parts of the book might cause mild-panic attacks throughout the more conservative parents, the fact is that it made me laugh out loud when I was nine (when Prince Charming referring to Cinderella as a slut while cutting off the heads of the ugly sisters was the very epitome of comedy) and, having just recently dug it out*, it's just as funny now that I'm twenty-six.

* a copy signed to me by both the author and illustrator, no less. quite a find. :) and i would so like to node it all if it wasn't for the small matter of copyright infringement.