Dennis was different.
Why was he different, you ask?
Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…
Charming, surprising and hilarious – The Boy in the Dress is everything you would expect from the co-creator of Little Britain. David Walliams’s beautiful first novel will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.
Over the course of the placement I did in the summer I learnt that David Walliams’ books are hugely popular (along with Jacqueline Wilson, Andy Stanton and Jeff Kinney his books were the most requested by the children visiting the mobile library) so I knew I had to investigate for myself and find out what all the fuss was about. The fact that the BBC adaptation of Walliams’ second book Mr Stink is due on telly in the next few weeks prompted me to get and request a couple of books from the local library, I thought I’d start with The Boy in the Dress as it was the first book he’d written.
The fact that the illustrations in the book were done by Quentin Blake made me wonder whether Walliams could be taking the place of the current generation’s Roald Dahl, but I was pleased to discover within a few pages that actually Walliams is simply this generation’s David Walliams – a skilled, humorous, thought provoking storyteller. There was a real depth to the story that I really hadn’t been expecting, whilst there are lots of funny bits there are also many bits that make you think and may well encourage discussions with young readers.
Dennis is a lovely lead character, I found I was really rooting for him from the very start of the book. His friendships with Darvesh and Lisa are so well created, I could imagine them clearly. I found Dennis’ dad and brother to be really interesting characters, I liked the way that the less positive characters were portrayed over the course of the book in a sympathetic manner rather than as pantomime style villains.
My only slight misgiving with this book came with the resolution of one part of Dennis’ problem. Without wanting to spoil the plot for anyone all I’ll say is that I felt that Dennis and Lisa’s treatment of one of the adult characters didn’t really feel to me like it fitted with the rest of the book which was a real shame. It didn’t spoil my overall experience of the book however, I’ll certainly be recommending it to other people and am looking forward to reading Mr Stink very soon.
The Boy in the Dress is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books in the UK.