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The Talking Parcel by Gerald Durrell - it’s ruddy Wonderful!!!

(5 Posts)
WellThisIsShit Wed 13-Jun-18 10:14:52

I just wanted to shout it from the rooftops really, how much I love love love this book!

And I wondered if anyone else had ever read it or has a secret passion for it?

It was one of my favourite books as a child, discovered at a church fete somewhere on a summer holiday I think, when I was 11ish.

I’d forgotten all about it but for some reason it popped back into my mind the other day and I got a second hand copy online, and I’m reading it to DS at bedtime. He’s 8yrs old, and certainly wouldn’t be able to read it by himself at the moment, as the language is very literary & delightfully obscure even for adults, but you don’t need to understand each word to ‘get’ the overall exciting storyline and the hilarious characters.

It’s so imaginative and a flight of lunacy really, in a nice way! I see they made a cartoon of it in the 70s I think, but missed out most of the characters, so didn’t really capture the essence of the book. They cut out the two boys in it, and made it just about the girl Penelope, for example!

I wish someone would rediscover it and republish it... or make a film if it, it’s wonderfully visual and would make a brilliant film smile

It’s about a secret world called Mythologica which you get into via a cave, up a mountain, in Greece. It has been created by a magician called Hengist Hannibal Junketberry (H.H. for short!). It’s a haven for all the magical creatures in the world that are dying out because no one believes in them anymore, but unfortunately, HH operates an open door policy and that means the bad creatures are allowed in as well as the good.
And now the Cockatrices have staged a coup, and over run the castle, and HH has been captured, and the three great Book of Government.

Even HH’s trusty Parrot, & his tiny spider friend Dulcibelle, have been set upon by the evil fire breathing Cockatrices, and both put in a cage, wrapped in brown paper and set adrift into the sea... where 3 holidaying children find the talking parcel and decide to help.

DS is loving it too, which I’m so happy about, as I was a bit worried he wouldn’t be able to follow the plot yet, but although he definitely doesn’t understand all the vocab, he’s totally absorbed in the story.

But alas, I’m stretching out the last 2 chapters now, and the end is very near. I’m goi g to be so sad when we do finish it, I’ve loved reading it and sharing my joy with DS.

Anyway... just sharing my love on here too!

Bloodybridget Sun 17-Jun-18 22:19:05

Thanks for sharing! It does sound wonderful. I'd never heard of it (know of Gerald Durrell of course).

WellThisIsShit Tue 19-Jun-18 01:08:03

Yay, thanks for replying Bloodybridget, my poor post had sunk like a stone!

It’s a wonderful book, I can’t quite see how it has become out of print, and so very unknown. It really is a thousand flights of fancy all crammed into one, and it’s so lovely to see all those utterly bonkers and wonderful ideas take flight in DS’s imagination.

Neptunesgiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 01:13:19

It sounds marvellous and right up my little boy's street. I'm off to check ebay right now.

SusieFlo Wed 27-Jun-18 10:00:10

Thanks for the recommendation - this sounds like a great bedtime story idea for my animal mad son (who has his nose engrossed in the illustrated 'Fantastic Beasts' book this week),

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