Book Review, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

BOOK REVIEW: The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams

– Short Review –

David Walliams has done it yet again, he’s managed to find even more disgusting, vile and horrid children, lucking in shadows, hiding under rocks, living in streets like yours and mine. David Walliams is like a collector, a Roald Dahl Indiana Jones – venturing far and wide to bring us the most horrid children in the world and this book is the most repugnant of them all – the pages even smell a little icky. The World’s Worst Children 3 is quite remarkable – the previous two books set the bar very high, I didn’t think that there was anywhere else Walliams could take this series – but he has created a collection of fabulous stories about the most detestable children in the world and it’s gruesomely wonderful reading, where each story has a moral to it…children, you should really take notice, you certainly don’t want to end up like some of these children…or do you?

With more yucks than at a sick eating competition – this book will make its mark!

Other books you may also enjoy George’s Marvellous Medicine and The Twits by Roald Dahl, The World’s Worst Children 1 & 2 by David Walliams and Horrible Histories series by Martin Brown, Terry Deary and Philip Reeve.

– Long Review –

Well firstly let me introduce you to the most repugnant children ever to grace a book of The World’s Worst Children series. We have The Terrible Triplets, Tandy’s Tantrums, Boastful Barnabus, Fanny’s Funny Faces, Hank’s Pranks, Honey The Hogger, Vain Valentine, Bonnie Bossypants, Walter the Wasp and Kung Fu Kylie… well with the introductions out of the way lets get on with analysing these most detestable of children shall we!


Walliams opens The World’s Worst Children 3 in typical revolting fashion with a story that will have children laughing, parents crying and both of them feeling slightly weak at the knees. Tom, Dick and Harry aka The Terrible Triplets live up to their name. Firstly they are terrible, not giving their mother any peace, secondly they are super gross and thirdly they want to outdo each other to be the terriblest triplet of them all – with disastrous consequences. One part of the story that made me giggle, shudder and throw up in my mouth is when they are getting ready for bed, each is on his own bunk (in a three person bunk bed) and they start to do the most revolting of things. One creates a cone of bogies, picking them and shaping them into a large, green, sticky cone – then proceeds to eat it. The next decides to dig in his ears removing the yellowy gunk and proceeds to make balls of ear wax to, you guessed it, eat it. Leaving Harry to outdo them all, as he rummages around in his belly button and pulls globules of rankness from his sweaty stomach hole and proceeds to eat it. This is a fabulous start to The World’s Worst Children 3 and is even more fabulous when reading it aloud to a child – which I did and hearing the sounds my daughter laughing and being grossed out when I read it aloud was just incredible to watch – David Walliams had her eating out the palm of his hand…lets hope he washed it first.

‘Down on the bottom bunk, Harry was feeling a little left out. How could he outdo the other two? Harry had a belly button that was always full of fluff. Sweaty, manky, disgusting balls of who-knew-what. As soon as he’d plucked the revolting globule out of his belly button, he shouted…


The fluff tasted like something you might find at the bottom of a deep and dirty bog. In a word…yucksome.’


Another child of note which I really enjoyed was Bonnie Bossypants. Who at times reminded me slightly of my almost four year old – if this is my future Walliams has painted I want to remain forever young like Peter Pan. Bonnie Bossypants rules over her family with an iron fist, making her parents and brothers life seem like a stint in prison – the parents don’t know what to do, so they enlist the help of TV personality ‘Wondernanny’ to rid themselves of the most bossy of bossypants their daughter Bonnie. It’s a great story and as always has a great moral to it – but I liked the ambiguity of this ones ending compared to the others in this collection!

‘”Finish your peas, Father, or you will be forced to eat them cold for breakfast!” ordered the girl.

“I am sorry, Bonnie,” he began, “but I am stuffed. I couldn’t eat another thing.”

“I said ‘finish them’!” she repeated.

“Please don’t make me! I think I will burst!”

“The you will be forced to eat them cold for your breakfast!”

“No!” replied Father. “Not cold peas. PLEASE! I hate cold peas. They would make me sick!”

“Eat your peas right now or I will stick one up each of your nostrils!’

This series of books and David Walliams as an author gives this generation of children some much needed escapism. His writing is witty, gross and delivered in an engaging style and is just what children need. Walliams has made reading fun and these tales (collections of stories) are ideal for reluctant readers and appeal to both girls and boys…even parents can enjoy them too, such is Walliams brilliance as a raconteur.

The World’s Worst Children 3 (and the other books in the series) is fabulous in many ways, but what I love about them is that each one has a moral to be learnt, the fable like quality of Walliams writing is simply unique – each story is engaging but each has a warning for those little ones reading. These books reminded me of my uncle (which is great because he’s a pretty cool dude) who used to regale me with stories from his childhood – much like the yarns Walliams pours out in his offering here. One story that lives long in the memory is the one he told me regarding putting your hand up in class and that you should never, ever, shout out answers. There was a boy in his school who used to annoy all his teachers and classmates by shouting out the answers to every question asked…until one day his teacher took offence and slapped the boys face clean off his head and it slid down the wall – I was mortified and from then on always stuck my hand up in lessons. Walliams does this here effortlessly with warnings about ‘you are what you eat‘, ‘vanity‘, ‘being bossy‘, ‘pulling funny faces‘, ‘Bullying‘ and a host of other topics – it’s comedy gold delivered in the very Walliams like way!

David Walliams has created a wonderful body of work with The World’s Worst Children series and I feel that these books are the perfect introduction to his lengthier novels for children that want to be amazed, laugh, grossed out and fall in love with a master of children’s fiction. These books are a great for reluctant readers as they are pretty much a collection of short stories, which children can dip in and dip out of at any time, finding what they like and enjoy it with many giggles along the way. Also The World’s Worst Children 3 (and the other two books) are a wonderful resource for parents to read to their children, I am still getting over the look of horror and joy on both my daughters faces as I read these stories to them, and the best bit was they kept coming back for more!

David Walliams in my opinion is this generation of child’s Roald Dahl, creating time and time again, stories, characters and bodies of work which will be talked about in many years to come and most probably shared with their children – his books are getting children, and the most reluctant of these children reading, his words and works leave children enthralled and with a thirst for more…that can’t be a bad thing can it?

The World’s Worst Children 3 is published by HarperCollinsChildren’s Books as is available to purchase here.


David Walliams


Since beginning his publishing career in 2008, David Walliams has taken the children’s literary world by storm. His sixth book DEMON DENTIST was published in September 2013 and went straight to number one in the bestseller charts.

Previous bestsellers RATBURGER and GANGSTA GRANNY were also immediate number one hits, and the paperback of GANGSTA GRANNY dominated the UK charts in 2013, remaining at number one for a colossal 22 weeks.

David is currently the fastest growing children’s author in the UK. Following the Christmas 2012 success and BAFTA nomination of the BBC adaptation of his second book, MR STINK, starring Hugh Bonneville, GANGSTA GRANNY was aired in 2013 over Christmas. Walliams’ books have achieved unprecedented critical acclaim and it comes as no surprise that countless broadsheet reviewers have compared him to his all-time hero, Roald Dahl.

You can watch Eva (7) review The Worlds Worst Children on our YouTube channel here – her reviews of book 2 & 3 will be coming soon!

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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