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Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams [Review]

Written by: David Walliams.
Published by: HarperCollins.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 1st October 2008
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "The sparkling debut children’s novel from David Walliams, number one bestseller and fastest growing children’s author in the country, with sparkling new cover look to tie in with later books. 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."

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I have been meaning to read a David Walliams book for a very long time. There is always a lot of hype around them and they always top the bestsellers lists when they are released. They are loved by adults and children alike and my blogging friend, Jenny over at Wondrous Reads, has reviewed several of them and loved them so I knew that if Jenny loved them I would! It was just a case of getting the books and getting around to it! Well, thanks to Amazon and their Black Friday lightning sale, a boxset of five David Walliams books was on sale at a price I could not refuse so I brought them on an impulse. That day, I got, The Boy in the Dress, obviously, Mr. Stink, Billionaire Boy, Gangsta Granny and Ratburger. As soon as they came I was so excited. The covers are great and well designed and really appeal to the eye.

When I finally did start reading I could see just why his books have been so successful. It almost had this Roald Dahl-esque quality about it. It drew you in and really made you feel like a part of the story. The book itself is very funny in places but also, I feel, very important. There is an underlying message in the book about acceptance. Something I think that is very important and should be present but in some circles of life isn't, even today. This book I feel could help that. Children are very impressionable and if we teach them the right things, the right morals, the right messages then change will happen. I'm not saying that The Boy in the Dress is going to do all that, but it is a good place to start. 

Dennis lives in an ordinary house, in an ordinary street. But he is anything but ordinary. He breaks the gender stereotypes and whilst he loves football, he also loves fashion and could spend hours just staring at the glossy pages of Vogue. Looking at all the pretty dresses, the materials, the cut, the style. And then he befriends Lisa. Everyone at school loves Lisa. And she shows Dennis a dress that she has made and convinces him to wear it to some hilarious consequences. The book is laugh out loud funny. I think I actually howled at one point I was laughing so much. It is well written, considering it is aimed at children, it doesn't feel condescending, yet there are also references that an adult reader would get that I younger reader wouldn't, which I liked. I loved the little nod to Little Britain, which I thought was very clever. 

The characters are varied. From Darvesh and his mum, to Mr. Hawtrey, the devilish headteacher. Everyone feels fully formed and all play their part extremely well.

After reading The Boy in the Dress I am so glad I finally took the plunge. There are more books besides the one that came in the boxset, written by David, so I do have a fair bit of catching up to do, but if they are as good as this one I cannot wait to get started. I have already seen the tv movie adaptations of Mr. Stink and Gangsta Granny when they were on the last two Christmases and I cannot wait to see how they do The Boy in the Dress when it is on this Boxing Day. 



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