Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

A Vulpes Libris Random – The Toast brings us the teenage classics we really wanted to read

While the Bookfoxes are on their hols, in amongst all the serious reading that fills our days (ahem) there are wicked and frivolous little discoveries to be made. Such as naughty, disrespectful versions of revered teenage classics.

Here, for your delight, I’d like to introduce you to The Toast, and in particular its new series of Dirtbag classics. I was brought up on the likes of Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. Here’s what those girls are really like – and all done with wicked irreverence, a potty mouth, and deep love.

Dirtbag Little Women

How very close to the original is Dirtbag Amy March…

Dirtbag Anne of Green Gables

May this series run and run – I’ve got my own little hit-list – please please, bring us Dirtbag What Katy Did and sequels! And please please please, Dirtbag Ballet Shoes! In fact, a couple of us Bookfoxes were riffing on the idea of Dirtbag Excellent Women (again, the dirtbag in Mildred is surprisingly close to the surface).

So – are you shocked? Diverted? Helpless with laughter? Which books would be on your list for the Dirtbag treatment?

I recommend The Toast for all sorts of reasons – I follow it on Facebook, and it deals me at least one liberating laugh and several mouthfuls of food for thought, most days.

11 comments on “A Vulpes Libris Random – The Toast brings us the teenage classics we really wanted to read

  1. rosyb
    April 17, 2014

    Oh this is fun! I loved the Anne of Green Gables. What about Blyton? Mallory Towers is surely ripe for a bit of dirtbag treatment?

  2. George Simmers
    April 17, 2014

    If you fancy a dirtbag Ballet Shoes, why not look at Noel Streatfield’s own early novel for adults, The Whicharts (1931), which she later expurgated and changed very much to make the children’s classic we all know.
    In The Whicharts, the three girls are the illegitimate daughters of a Brigadier (by different mothers). They go to live with an earlier ex-mistress, whom he continues to finance.
    In order to earn money, the three girls are sent to stage school (a much seedier place than the one in Ballet Shoes). The eldest, Maimie, is the Pauline character, but instead of becoming a Shakespearian actress she develops into a flirt who uses her charms to get what she wants from men. She cheerfully refers to herself as a tart.
    Tania is the Petrova figure – like the later version she hates dance and loves engines. Daisy is the Posy equivalent, a natual dancer – but she ends up in shows, not in high-culture ballets.
    The book’s plot develops into the two younger girls’ search for their real mothers (Maimie doesn’t care).
    If you loved Ballet Shoes when young (or older – I learned to love it when required to read it to my daughter, several times) you’ll hugely enjoy The Whicharts, which has been reprinted by Margin Note Books.

  3. Kate
    April 17, 2014

    Oooh, thank you! All saved and noted (And Margin Notes Books too.) I think Bored of the Rings must have been one of the first Dirtbag books (though it’s not very funny: perhaps it works better with artificial stimulants).

  4. Hilary
    April 17, 2014

    Thank you, George (if I may) – I’m going to get my hands on The Whicharts if I possibly can! Sounds, as you say, as though the job has already been done.

    And, good candidate, Rosy!

  5. Lisa
    April 17, 2014

    Sheer brilliance. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. Thank you Hilary.

  6. Rebecca
    April 18, 2014

    I love the Dirtbag heroines! I think the Abbey Girls series would be hilarious as a dirtbag version (although I doubt there are many people out there who have read them…)

  7. gertloveday
    April 20, 2014

    Oh joy oh rapture Vulpes Libris, I have just found you when following up an earlier article on Beachcomber. Will follow!

  8. Hilary
    April 21, 2014

    Welcome and thank you, gertloveday, though I should warn you we’re not always this frivolous!

  9. Susan D
    April 21, 2014

    Oh wow, THAT was fun! Thanks for that.

  10. Erica
    April 22, 2014

    Dirtbag Excellent Women is an excellent idea! As you say, dirtbag Mildred is so close, she just needs to let it out….please write it.

  11. Tony
    April 27, 2014

    I had not heard of this but that was amazing!

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2014 by in Entries by Hilary, Vulpes Randoms and tagged , , , , , .



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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