Billy and the Minpins by Roald Dahl

From Matilda to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG, the collaboration between Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake has captured millions of children’s imaginations for nearly forty years. First published as The Minpins in 1991, this was Dahl’s last book for children, and remained – until now – the only Dahl children’s book not to be illustrated by Blake.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first collaboration (The Enormous Crocodile), this special edition of Dahl’s very last story, renamed Billy and the Minpins, has been released.

Billy’s mum says he must never go out through the garden gate and explore the dark forest beyond. So, one day, that’s exactly what he does! There he meets the Minpins, tiny tree-dwelling people whose children are the size of matchsticks. They live in fear of the terrible, galloping Gruncher. Will it gobble Billy too – or can he find a way to defeat the hungry beast?

Dahl’s trademark themes continue with Billy and the Minpins. Billy is a small person in a big world and is the child hero we know and love from Dahl’s other work. His absolute love of language is evident throughout, as is his trademark humour and tongue twisters.

This story is just as magical as every other collaboration between Dahl and Blake. As usual Blake’s drawing perfectly capture the magic and whimsy of Dahl’s words. Together, they are a perfect pair.

The Minpins was originally illustrated by Patrick Benson in a beautiful colour picture book format. This edition is still in print today and will sit alongside the new black-and-white edition, Billy and the Minpins.

Quentin Blake said he was ‘delighted’ to illustrate the new release. “It feels like the cornerstone in our long collaboration together. As Roald’s parting gift, Patrick Benson’s illustrations in the original edition were perfectly suited to the lyrical feel of The Minpins. I have always greatly admired Patrick’s artwork and am so pleased both books will sit alongside each other, reaching fans of all ages.”

“This new edition has nearly fifty pages of black-and-white drawings, which means I can enjoy myself tremendously going into all the details of Billy’s exploits and adventures with the Minpins in the mysterious forest”

This special re-release will introduce one of Dahl’s lesser known books to a whole new audience. A wonderful trip down memory lane for those a bit older, and a wonderful step into Dahl’s beautiful literary world for others.

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Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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