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Review of The Boy In The Dress by David Walliams

by - July 29, 2014

Format: Paperback
Genres: Childrens, Humour
Pages: 233
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 01/06/2009
Find The Author: Website ¦ Twitter

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Everybody needs friends, especially a boy in a dress! Dennis's life is boring and lonely. His mother left two years ago, his truck driver father is depressed, his brother is a bully and, worst of all, 'no hugging' is one of their household rules. But one thing Dennis does have is soccer - he's the leading scorer on his team. Oh, and did we mention his secret passion for fashion?

When Dennis's friend Lisa discovers his stash of Vogue magazines, she convinces him to vamp it up and wear a dress to school. But in class, his hilarious hijinks as Denise are brought to a screeching halt when the headmaster discovers his secret and delivers the worst punishment of all - Dennis is expelled from school and therefore forbidden to play in the soccer Final Cup!

Can the team win the most important game of the year without their star player? And, more importantly, will Dennis gain the love and respect of his friends and family, even in a dress? 

I'd never picked up a David Walliams book before this one, but the premise intrigued me. I'm always curious about books and movies with people doing unusual things, so the story of a boy in a dress caught my attention. This was a really well written book, perfect for fans of Billy Elliot.

In the vein of Billy Elliot, Dennis comes from a family with no mother and one brother, and a very traditional father, except this one drives a truck instead of works in a mine. It's a simple, cute story and I really appreciated David showing that gender roles really aren't important, as well as showing that you don't need to be gay to want to wear a dress anymore. Or female. 

One thing I always have trouble with with these books is the publisher. David is a children's author, but his books are constantly being regaled as the new Roald Dahl. Quentin Blake even illustrates them. David's books are nothing like Roald Dahls and sadly, I have to say, do not quite live up to the standard of Dahl either, so the whole think just comes across as some sort of gimmick.

This book has a predictably cute but very enjoyable ending and I finished the whole thing in a couple of hours, It's a very cute, fun read that I think many kids will love. David covers issues that are not often written about in children's literate and handles them extremely well while still keeping the story light and funny.

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  1. Anonymous1:13 pm BST

    The cover indeed reminded me right away of Roald Dahl. The covers are just so distinct. Shame that David Walliams is being portrayed as the next Dahl. It would be much better if they just focused on Walliams as a writer because people are bound to be dissappointed if Walliams book do not meet their expectations. This sounds like a very cute book though :) I will be checking it out!

    1. Great to hear! I do think this is a great story, as long as you don't compare it to Dahl. Unfortunately for some reason his publishers want you to do this...

  2. Anonymous3:09 pm BST

    I'm intrigued to see what I make of these books. I do intend to read David Walliams as I'm trying to get more 'modern' books for children in my collection.

    1. They're certainly more of the cute variety and I do think kids would love them! I'm not sure I would read it again but it was an enjoyable read.


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