by Dodie Smith
(Don’t even bother reading an edition that isn’t illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame-Johnstone. I didn’t even imagine that there was an edition without their perfect illustrations, and then I ordered a copy for my niece for Christmas and was devastated to find perfectly dreadful drawings inside… such tragedy!)
Wow, today has been all about book raves rather than rants, hasn’t it?? And here is yet another–I love this book! Actually, I love this book so much that it is physically painful for me to watch the Disney version. I am usually quite skilled at separating movies from their books (I think to myself, This isn’t my book. It just happens to have the same title as my book. But it’s actually a completely unrelated movie. And that helps), but even as adorable and delightful as the movie is (the animated version, that is–I like to pretend that the live-action version doesn’t even exist), it just doesn’t hold a candle to this perfect, perfect book.
It’s a book that I’ve read easily a score of times, probably more, because I would guess that I’ve read it at least once a year since I could read, and that’s been quite some time now. But this story never gets old for me. I love Pong, Missis, Perdita, and the puppies. I love the Nannies, and I love the Dearlys. I even love the wild and crazy villain of Cruella. I love the Great Dane near Hampstead and the Colonel and Tib and little Tommy and the elderly Spaniel. Most of all, I love Smith’s narration; her descriptions and word play are wonderful. (“Mr. Dearly … was particularly good at arithmetic. Many people called him a wizard of finance–which is not the same thing as a wizard of magic, though sometimes fairly similar.”)
I am starting to sound like a broken record; I hope you’ve been making a list of all the books I’ve recommended today. Add this one to it, possibly at the top–this book is most definitely worth a read. 5/5.