George’s Marvelous Medicine ★★★✬☆

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Title: George’s Marvelous Medicine
Series: ———-
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 63
Words: 12.5K



While eight-year-old George Kranky’s parents are out grocery shopping, his elderly maternal grandmother bosses him around and bullies him. She intimidates George by saying that she likes to eat insects and he wonders briefly if she’s a witch. To punish her for her regular abuse, George decides to make a magic medicine to replace her old one. He collects a variety of ingredients from around the family farm including deodorant and shampoo from the bathroom, floor polish from the laundry room, horseradish sauce and gin from the kitchen, animal medicines, engine oil and anti-freeze from the garage, and brown paint to mimic the colour of the original medicine.

After cooking the ingredients in the kitchen, George gives it as medicine to his grandmother, who grows as tall as the house, bursting through the roof. When his grandmother doesn’t believe it was George who made her grow so tall, he proves it by feeding the medicine to one of his father’s chickens, which grows ten times its original size. As they return home, George’s parents can’t believe their eyes when they see the fattest chicken ever and the grandmother. George’s father grows very excited at the thought of rearing giant animals. He has George feed the medicine to the rest of the farm’s animals, causing them to become giants as well. However, his grandmother begins complaining about being ignored and stuck in the roof, so Mr. Kranky hires a crane to remove her from the house. Her extreme height has her sleeping in the barn for the next few nights.

The following morning, Mr. Kranky is still excited about George’s medicine and announces that he and George shall make gallons of it to sell to farmers around the world, which would make his family rich. George attempts to recreate it but is unable to remember all the ingredients. The second version makes a chicken’s legs grow extremely long, and the third elongates a chicken’s neck to bizarre proportions. The fourth has the opposite effect of the first and makes animals shrink. George’s grandmother, now even more angry she’s sleeping in the barn, storms over and starts complaining loudly that she’s once again sick of being ignored. She sees the cup of medicine in George’s hand and erroneously mistakes it for tea. Much to his and Mrs. Kranky’s horror, and Mr. Kranky’s delight, she drinks the entire cup and shrinks so much that she vanishes completely. At first, Mrs. Kranky is shocked, confused and distraught about the sudden, and very strange disappearance of her mother, but soon accepts that she was becoming a nuisance anyway. In the last page, George is left to think about the implications of his actions, feeling as though they had granted him access to the edge of a magic world.

My Thoughts:

I am coming to the conclusion that this will probably be my final read of Dahl’s body of work for my own enjoyment. Not that I am disliking them but I do want “more” and these don’t offer that any more. I feel that in my multiple reads I have plumbed the depths of these stories and I would rather explore a new author or series than to re-tread material this familiar to me.

That is in no way a denigration of Dahl’s skill as a writer or a story teller, but I’ve realized that I’ve done a bit of growing up in the last 15 years and I cannot go back. Reading these books have been an attempt to see if I could actually go back, but as we all know, time only flows in one direction.

I have to admit, I am surprised this was published as is. George puts in a LOT of nasty stuff into his medicine and even I know that some of them would kill you outright. If I read this to a kid, I’d be keeping an eye on them for the next week or two to make sure they didn’t try to experiment on themselves or others 😀

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

13 thoughts on “George’s Marvelous Medicine ★★★✬☆

    1. One thing I really appreciated about Dahl is that he didn’t sugar coat things for kids. He walked that fine line between bad things happening to people and everything turning out ok for the hero.


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