Published by Dark Horse on September 12th 2006 (first published 1943)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Kiddie Books
Also by this author: The Witches
The story of the The Gremlins concerns the mischievous mythical creatures of the title, often invoked by Royal Air Force pilots as an explanation of mechanical troubles and mishaps. In Dahl's book, the gremlins' motivation for sabotaging British aircraft is revenge of the destruction of their forest home, which was razed to make way for an aircraft factory. The principal character in the book, Gus, has his Hawker Hurricane fighter destroyed over the English Channel by a gremlin, but is able to convince the gremlins as they parachute into the water that they should join forces against a common enemy, Hitler and the Nazis, rather than fight each other. Source: Wikipedia
With full-page color illustrations and with several black and white illustrations by the Disney artists throughout.
This was Roald Dahl's first book and preceded the British publication by several months. The story was optioned by Disney and was intended to be made into an animated film, but it was never produced. A note on the copyright page states: "The RAF Benevolent Fund will receive the author's share of the proceeds from the sale of this book." Dahl's next children's book, James and the Giant Peach, published eighteen years later.
“In this most beautiful green wood there lived a tribe of funny little people who were quite different from the rest. They had funny horns growing out of their funny heads and funny boots on their funny feet, and with these boots – and this was funniest of all – they could walk upside down under the branches of the trees. Oh, it was a happy and peaceful life that these little men led – until the humans came.”
And so begins the story of the Gremlins who were torn from their homes when the humans decided to build a factory for airplane production. The Gremlins knew it was time to act and ‘to get revenge for the loss of our homes. We will make mischief for them, and we will harry and tease the men who fly them, until we obtain some satisfaction for all the harm that has been done to us.’
The pilots finally figured out a way to appease these pesky Gremlins: feeding them Transatlantic-special-deliver-airmail stamps. By feeding them this delicacy, they were finally able to talk to the Gremlins and explain why they tore down their home and that it was to save their homes from all being destroyed. The pilot asked the Gremlins to help and that if they assisted and were victorious that they would give them a patch of forest back to them to be their new home.
This was actually the very first children’s book that Roald Dahl ever wrote. ‘The Gremlins’ is a story set in the 1940’s when we were in the midst of WWII. This story was originally meant to be a film by Walt Disney but was dropped and never completed but the book was still published. This is considered to be a quite rare book as fewer than 5,000 books were published worldwide.
This was an adorable book that I stumbled upon. Highly recommended to anyone given the opportunity to read it!