Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Fattypuffs and Thinifers (October 12)

For this week’s meme combo, which I am posting a day late, I have chosen a very old favourite of mine – Fattypuffs and Thinifers by Andre Maurois. My wife just got me a copy of this from Waterstones in the UK whilst she was visiting family there. This was the first book I had to write a book report for at school, when I was about 8 years old. I haven’t seen this book for years and don’t remember too much about it, other than it is considered to be an ‘underground’ children’s classic. The following description comes from the Waterstones website:

When two brothers, plump Edmund and skinny Terry, go down a street staircase between two rocks they find themselves in a completely different world. The Country Under the Earth is on the brink of war as the two peoples, the Fattypuffs and the Thinifers, cannot understand each other’s culture. The Fattypuffs are warm-hearted, gentle food-lovers while the Thinifers are tall, bony models of efficiency whose trains run to the second. Edmond and Terry find themselves separated and get to grips with living as a Fattypuff and a Thinifer. When the Thinifers occupy Fattypuff, Edmund and Terry are reunited and decide to put an end to the war and prejudice forever. This is a very funny, sharply ironic look at the ‘us and them’ mentality that leads to intolerance and conflict. First published in 1941, the language and humour have stood the test of time, and so too (unfortunately) has the content. Fattypuffs and Thinifers will encourage children to think about issues such as national racial and gender stereotyping. The book delivers its great wisdom with humour and imagination, making an extremely entertaining read. The illustrations are lively and full of humour (you have to see the Thinifers’ gym) and your children will learn some fabulous words, like nincompoop and ignoramus. So, do as the Fattypuffs do – gather up some cushions, chocolate and children, and settle down for a nice long read.

So, now for this week’s excerpts:

Book Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Fattypuffs and Thinifers:

“How slowly you eat,” said Mr Double, who for some moments had been tapping with his fingers on the tablecloth.

“Not me, Father,” said Terry.

“No, not you, but your mother and your brother.”

This one is not giving much away, but maybe this, along with the title, gives a hint that food and eating might be one of the central themes here.

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Fattypuffs and Thinifers:

The next day when Mr Dulcifer came home he said he had found a job for Terry with President Rugifer, who had long been looking for a secretary from the Surface. At the mention of President Rugifer, Mrs Dulcifer and the young Dulcifers uttered cries of astonishment.

“What a bit of luck!” they said to Terry.

“Who is President Rugifer?” Terry asked.

“He is the President of the NationalCouncil,” said Mr Dulcifer solemnly, “and the Minister of Slimming.”

It seems strange to have a President of Slimming, but maybe it would be a good idea for some of the countries in our world today! Anyway, I’m going to read this again soon (it’s only just under 100 pages in length) and see if it’s as much fun as I remember it to be, keeping in mind that I was only 8 when I first read it.

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2 thoughts on “Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Fattypuffs and Thinifers (October 12)

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