Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: The World’s Worst Teachers by David Walliams

– Short Review –

David Walliams is at it again and after three volumes of The World’s Worst Children he turns his pen and mind to The World’s Worst Teachers. I have to say that I did very much enjoy these stories, with many reminding me of some of my worst teachers – this volume is told with Walliams usual wit and jovial brilliance, with oodles of bum and poo jokes it’s as if you’re on a school trip to the local sewage works.

This may and should probably be the last of this series – although each story is different and told with Walliams usual brilliance, this one did seem a little repetitive with many teachers ending up, floating away, blown away, washed away etc. It’s great, funny as a hedgehog in your pants and my daughter laughed her head off – but I feel he’s gone as far as he can with the series and this, if it is the last of the series, is a very fitting bookend to that series of books!

If you enjoyed The Twits or George’s Marvellous Medicine – you’ll love these!

– Longer Review –

Well it’s another World’s Worst books by David Walliams and this time he’s turned the microscope on you Teachers – you all thought you had it safe didn’t you, got away with ruining children’s lives, forever tormenting them, giving them homework, having coffee breath and making them do exercise in the rain or in their pants. Well Walliams explores the worst of the worst with The World’s Worst Teachers – and in doing so makes many parents take a trip down memory lane, as when they read, they can’t help but mention the teachers they had – causing interesting after reading discussions.

This book was great, Walliams wit literally dances across the page, reaches out and drags the reader through some of the worst teachers ever to set foot inside a classroom, or come to think of it…the school grounds. As one of my favourite stories was of the cook Mrs. Splatt, which brought to mind the great Roald Dahl and his beautifully disturbing creation of The Twitts.

Walliams great theatrical and comical mind goes into overdrive with this collection of ten short stories, many being outlandishly devilish and enjoyable to no end, but I couldn’t help but see many of the stories ending in the same way – with the teacher disappearing out of the school in a variety of ways, maybe this is because all children want rid of their teacher, but for me I found it quite predictable and after a couple it becomes a little (dare I say it) boring. My daughter who is nine also commented on this fact, but still bent over double whilst we read them, and I guess she is more his demographic, rather than a thirty-seven year old who doesn’t want to grow up!

It’s a great book, children will love it, it exposes teachers in the most brilliant of ways, with a young school boy or girl getting the better of them in the end – it will give your youngsters a laugh a minute and have them balling their eyes out with laughter. There is one thing for certain with any Walliams book, the laughs come thick and fast and the stories last a lifetime!

Tony Ross yet again illustrates the book – and his work here is exemplary, stunningly beautiful, whilst being at times grotesquely brilliant (his illustrations blending wonderfully with Walliams words) – turning what could be a wordy book into something that will draw children in, engage those who struggle with reading and have them laugh, point and scream with delight or disgust at his fabulous artwork which compliments Walliams words. Each corner of the page is littered with his brilliance, it’s a messy masterpiece – making this book, and the ones before it, a work of art as well as a thrilling and joyful read.

I’ve loved this series of books and I feel that this book is a great bookend to the series. If you’re after laughs, poo jokes, disgusting teachers and fiendishly devilish characters, with mouth watering illustrations that bring all of this alive…then look no further!

The World’s Worst Teachers is published by HarperCollinsChildren’s and is available here.

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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.

David is well known for his work with Matt Lucas. Together they created Little Britain, which has won numerous international awards including three BAFTAs and is now shown in over 100 countries. David and Matt followed Little Britain with the hugely popular spoof airport documentary series Come Fly With Me.

David has also proven himself as a dramatic actor, with acclaimed roles in Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary for BBC2, as Frankie Howerd in the biopic Rather You Than Me for BBC4, and on the West End stage in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land starring alongside Sir Michael Gambon and in Michael Grandage’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Noël Coward Theatre in 2013. In September 2011 David swam 140 miles from Gloucestershire to Westminster raising £2.5 million for Sports Relief. David has also proved popular in his role as a judge on TV talent show Britain’s Got Talent, where he found inspiration for one of the characters in his bestselling novel RATBURGER.

Tony Ross
(Illustrator)

Tony Ross was born in 1938 in Wandsworth, South London. During World War II, the Ross family moved to Cheshire, and Tony ended up at the Liverpool Regional College of Art, having abandoned his initial dream of working with horses. He had dreamed of being a cowboy, a jockey, a mounted policeman – anything in fact involving horses! At the age of seventeen, he wrote to John Wayne, offering to make his own way over to the United States if he could just play a part in a western. There was, regrettably, no reply. Tony reckons, however, that it is the Wayne-syndrome, the dazzle of the stage (his father was a conjuror, and his uncles film extras) which makes him love to put on an act in his talking-and-drawing sessions with groups of children.

Tony went into teaching after a bad day in the advertising agency where he was art director. At first he taught in all sorts of areas – design, typography, advertising. At that time he was drawing cartoons for magazines like Punch. Tony had seven tiny books accepted by Fabri, the first publisher he approached, so he never had that baptism by fire of trudging stuff round the streets”. Today, Tony’s work is recognised in dozens of countries and he has won many awards.

Tony lives in Macclesfield, Cheshire, with his wife Zoe, who is also his very competent business partner. She reads his contracts, and manages the business side, allowing Tony to sit in his studio and do yet more wonderful drawings. Tony likes to experiment in art and search for new frontiers. “I’m free to do what I like: as a designer and typographer I can control and design and divide my own page. I like the form of the book to do things, the covers and endpapers to add point, make the reader puzzle and be excited.” He also loves fairy tales as subject matter. “Apart from the fact that they present a ready-made idea, they come out of the past, they’re part of history, and I love history in its simplest, broadest sense. I’m interested in their universal quality – Red Riding Hood, for instance, exists in 300 versions, and was a simple way, in the days when towns were small places surrounded by forests, of telling little girls it was dangerous to go into those forests.” But he does sometimes change the moral. “A Dutch publisher complained to me that The Boy Who Cried Wolf has evil triumphing when the wolf eats everyone. But the boy is a little liar, and the adults indulged in the worst kind of finger-wagging, whereas the wolf is a clean, tidy, honest, wolf-like wolf – there is an essential goodness regardless of outer form.”

Tony has illustrated many successful titles with CollinsChildren’sBooks, including Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks, and the Little Wolf series by Ian Whybrow. His wonderful Little Princess books – I Want A Sister, I Want My Dinner, I Want My Potty and I Don’t Want To Go To Hospital – were all reissued in paperback by Collins in August 2001, and I Want My Dummy in March 2002.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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