Book Review: The Twits by Roald Dahl

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! Since it’s Friday, I’m giving you another review, and today it’s a classic from my childhood – The Twits by Roald Dahl.

The Twits by Roald Dahl was first published in 1980 by Jonathan Cape and is 87 pages long.

The Twits tells the story of a horrible old couple who despise each other. They spend their days tormenting each other and their animals until one day, the poor animals decide to take revenge.


The Twits
The Twits are mean people, their meanness and selfishness having made them grow ugly and smelly, and they each delight in playing tricks on the other.

Mr Twit is a tall skinny man with a tremendously big beard that he never cleans, often finding bits of food in it that he eats (wonderfully disgusting). He thinks his hairiness makes him look grand, but it doesn’t.

Mrs Twit, who once had quite a nice face, has grown short and plump due to her ugly thoughts, and although she doesn’t have a beard, she has a glass eye which she uses to play tricks on her husband and carries a walking stick which she often uses to hit animals.

The Twits are mean to each other, revelling in playing pranks on one another, though worse than that, they are mean to animals. They even glue the branches of trees, hoping birds will stick to them so that the Twits can catch them and make bird pie.

The Muggle-Wumps
The Muggle-Wumps are the Twit’s poor caged pets. They are a family of monkeys who are tortured by the pair and forced to perform tricks upside down all day long in an attempt to create the world’s first upside-down monkey circus. The Muggle-Wumps try to warn the birds not to land on the glue-coated branches, but because the Muggle-Wumps are from Africa, the birds who only speak English don’t understand them.

The Roly-Poly Bird
The Roly-Poly Bird is a bright and colourful creature who likes to travel. He’s the Muggle-Wumps’ friend and also comes from Africa. He helps to warn the birds not to land on The Big Dead Tree by flying around it and singing to them about how if they perch there, they’ll never get free. The birds end up sitting on the Muggle-Wumps’ cage instead. The Roly-Poly Bird does the same thing later when Mr Twit coats the top of the cage in glue, causing the birds to perch on the Twits’ house. He then helps the Muggle-Wumps escape, and with help from the other birds, the Roly-Poly Bird and the Muggle-Wumps take revenge on the Twits.

Writing Style
Dahl uses brilliant and vivid descriptions to make the characters jump off the page. When I read this book for the first time as a child, I was a little scared because I genuinely thought the Twits could be real. That’s the magic of Dahl’s storytelling; he creates these vibrant, colourful characters that imbed themselves in your brain where they live long after the story is finished. The story is a simple tale that teaches kids that it’s always important to be kind – to each other and animals and that you should always help others if you can.

As with nearly all of Dahl’s books, The Twits is illustrated by the fantastic Quentin Blake. His particular style lends itself very nicely to the world of the Twits, especially the two main meanies with their rough appearance. I have been a fan of Mr Blake’s illustrations since I was a child, and I have always been fascinated by how he draws seemingly simple pictures that are yet wonderfully detailed.

Final Thoughts
I have loved The Twits since I was about six years old. We used to have ‘quiet time’ in our primary school, and this would be when the teacher would read to us, and The Twits is one of the books I remember being read to us. It has stayed with me my whole life. I’ve read it countless times, to myself for fun and also to my nephews. It’s such a timeless story about being kind and how if you’re ugly on the inside, you’ll be just as ugly on the outside. As Dahl writes in the book, ‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth, and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, it will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely’ which, I think, is a fabulous sentiment.

I’m giving The Twits by Roald Dahl a 10/10.

Have you read the Twits or any of Roald Dahl’s other stories? Let me know what you think!

As always, thanks for stopping by to read my review. I genuinely appreciate it!

Until next time,


© 2023 GLT

Categories: Book Reviews, Reading

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