3 Mar 2014


Today I'm bringing you three books by comedian, actor and children's author DAVID WALLIAMSBorrowed from a friend, the synopsis of each book can be found by clicking on its title.


FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: No hugging}: Dennis was different.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 98}: The fabric felt so unfamiliar next to his skin - all silky and smooth.

MY THOUGHTS: Though aimed at children nine plus I know of some parents who question the age appropriateness of some of the content of this novel. For myself, I felt the book (a first for Walliams) had great child appeal and was essentially innocent enough. My only real criticism being the ending which didn't sit at all well with me given the message that prevailed throughout the rest of the book.

A tale of what it is to feel you do not fit in, a story of what it is to feel you are different. Humorous and yet moving. With mum no longer on the scene this is the story of the twelve year old Dennis , his big brother, John, and their lorry driver dad. 

Though not without some characters verging on the stereotypical (Raj, the Asian shopkeeper, Dennis' dad, the fat lorry driver) it was a refreshing change to have a lone parent who happens to be male instead of the usual female. And with the patka wearing Darvesh and his football mad mum (not to mention the football playing, fashion loving Dennis himself) this is a novel full of wonderfully diverse characters which no doubt (helped by Quentin Blake's illustrations) gave rise to Walliams being regarded as the new Roald Dahl in some circles. 


FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: Scratch 'N' Sniff}: Mr Stink stank.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 175}:  As if it wasn't enough that he was having a bath in a pond, Mr Stink had to share it with his dog too.

MY THOUGHTS: The story of how the Crumb (or as Mrs Crumb insists on pronouncing it Croooome) family finds its life changed when daughter Chloe meets the somewhat fragrant tramp, Mr Stink. This is the second book to be published by the author and is by far my favourite of the three I read.

A truly funny and yet oddly touching story. Though totally different in every way imaginable I  somehow couldn't help but think of Mr Stink as being a somewhat less than hygienic Mary Poppins/Nanny McPhee type of character who appeared to a child when needed most.

And yet not altogether a fluffy read. Dealing with issues such as sibling favouritism, prejudice, homelessness and, to a slightly lesser extent, bullying as it does it is also a deeply moral tale albeit one that should be easily understood by its youngest readers.


FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: Meet Joe Spud}:  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a million pounds?

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 149}: The butler nodded and the waiters lifted the silver covers to reveal three packets of Salt n' Vinegar crisps. 

MY THOUGHTS: The third book to be published and what a disappointment it was.

The tale of Joe Spud whose father has worked his way up from the bottom (excuse the pun) working in a loo roll factory to become a billionaire entrepreneur who revolutionised toilet roll by inventing Freshbum', a toilet roll that is dry on one side and moist on the other.

OK, so Billionaire Boy, essentially a book about how money cannot buy friendship/happiness, is hardly a story without a moral agenda but I felt there there was something inherently cruel and mocking about it that just didn't sit well with me. And whilst I personally found references to topless models, adult magazines and plastic surgery to be inappropriate for the younger reader (like The Boy In The Dress and Mr Stink it is recommended for those nine and older) on the other hand I also thought it rather juvenile for the older reader. Full of toilet humour and silly lists (including Mrs Trafe's weekly school lunch menu of ('Macaroni Snot', 'Toe-nail Ice cream', Dandruff Risotto' etc) to me Walliams took overly silly to a whole new level.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.

PS Apologies that there is no Media Monday post today (I've been suffering with vertigo). Services will resume to normal as soon as possible.


Lindsay said...

Nice to read and compare three novels by the same author and share your thoughts like this, and interesting to read your reviews of each one alongside each other too. I was lucky enough to meet the author and illustrator a few years ago in London at a book signing so I have a copy of The Boy in the Dress which I treasure. I haven't read the others but I did watch the television adaptations of Mr Stink and Gansta Granny which is another of his I think.
I hope you feel better soon.

Suko said...

Mr. Stink sounds appealing. Thank you for your mini reviews, Tracy.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

These three books sound like books I think my little boy cousins would enjoy. Will have to recommend them!

Kelly said...

I love that you read and review children's literature. It's interesting seeing an adult viewpoint.

The rare times I pick up a youth/YA book, I inevitably enjoy it, but just don't do it often enough.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I like that he focuses on some important issues, but Billionaire Boy does sound a bit over-the-top ridiculous.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sorry to hear about the vertigo! I have a few people in my life who suffer from it and boy is it rough. Hope you feel on steady ground soon.

From your reviews Mr. Stink sounds the most appealing to me. Thanks for sharing.

Betty Manousos said...

so sorry to hear about the vertigo. i hope you feel better soon!
mr sting sounds appealing. you write the greatest reviews, tracy. definitely interesting.

big hugs!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I guess that you are feeling a little better, as you stopped by Fiction Books today. I do know what you must be going through, although it has only happened to me the once. I do get a similar kind of experience and feeling sometimes when I am led in bed and it feels as though I am floating (no alcohol involved by the way!). It can leave me feeling violently sick and with a headache that seems to last forever.

I do hope that you are feeling better soon.

I can see why a young teenage lad might be caught up in wanting to read these books and think back to some of the silly humour in the stories we read as children, was it really so different? I think that the main difference is the vulgarity and explicit nature of the 'toilet humour' these days, even worse that it is so readily acceptable to most adults for their children to be surrounded by it!

Thanks for the candid and frank reviews.


Karen said...

All three of these books sound interesting & it seems like they all touch on something important.

Hope you feel better too!

Claudine G. said...

Tracy, I hope you're feeling a lot better now. As for the books, I will likely look out for 'Mr. Stink.'

So many books, so little time said...

I have only read the first book, would be interested in reading the others. It's unusual but nice to see 3 by the same author reviewed and your views on them.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

P.s hoping by now your feeling much better

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