Author: Roald Dahl
Publication Date: 1990
Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor, harbours a secret passion for his neighbour, the lovely Mrs Silver. Unfortunately, she lavishes all her affection on another, Alfie, her pet tortoise. Mr Hoppy’s wildly ingenious plot to defeat his rival and win the love of his lady will delight and amaze, involving as it does a cryptic riddle and no fewer than a hundred and forty tortoises, large and small.
Have you ever read thought to yourself "well, that was messed up!" after reading a children's book? That's how I felt after reading Esio Trot.
Esio Trot is the story of Mr. Hoppy and his love for his downstairs neighbor, Mrs. Silver. He is a very, very shy man and can't even bring himself to invite Mrs. Silver up to visit. Instead, he watches her dote on her tortoise, Alfie, from his balcony. When listening to Mrs. Silver talk to Alfie, Mr. Hoppy comes up with a sure way to win her heart. Of course, that means saying goodbye to Alfie and a little trickery.
I can't write what I want to write without giving away the whole book, so if you don't want to know what Mr. Hoppy is up to without reading it for yourself, then don't read any further!!!
Mr. Hoppy is a clever little man. When Mrs. Silver says she wishes Alfie would grow, he comes up with the plan to purchase a hundred tortoises and slowly switch them out for bigger ones. He gives Mrs. Silver a "magic" chant and tells her if she repeats the words everyday, then Alfie will grow. Every week, Mr. Hoppy switches the tortoise with a new one who looks the same but is slightly heaver. Eventually, "Alfie" has grown to an ideal weight and Mrs. Silver is so very pleased. Mr. Hoppy finally has a reason to visit her and he even asks to marry her, to which she says yes. And they lived happily ever after.
Now what really gets me about this book is how Mr. Hoppy didn't care that he was taking away Mrs. Silver's adored pet. He just goes along with his plan and never once thinks that what he is doing is pretty mean. I wouldn't be able to keep that in forever. But I know, this is a children's book and we are supposed to just go with it and not think too much about it. I just couldn't get past the fact that he would do that to the woman he loves and be fine with it.
Anyway, the story is actually entertaining and I think most kids would love it. It's very short, only 62 pages, and would be a perfect read for a rainy (or snowy!) day.