Review Blog

Nov 17 2008

The boy in the dress by David Walliams

cover image

Ill. Quentin Blake. HarperCollins, 2008.ISBN 9780007279036
(Ages: 12+) When Dennis is befriended by Lisa and so has access to her marvelous wardrobe, a new world opens for him and he is able to talk to someone with the same tastes; reading Vogue and trying on a variety of fabulous dresses. But when one day Lisa convinces him to dress up and attend their school, bad things are bound to happen. Kicking the football to his best friend Darveesh, he stumbles and falling backwards, dislodges his wig and is exposed. Expulsion means he can no longer play in the grand final on Saturday, and as he is the best striker the team has, everyone is distraught. But on the day, Lisa comes up with a cunning plan to turn everything around, even Dennis' father is proud, and all is saved.
A laugh out loud story of one boy's dreams, The boy in the dress, promotes the idea that everyone is different and that difference makes us who we are. The acceptance of Dennis' behavior by all who matter is the underlying foundation of the tale, and one that will endear the story to its readers. Dennis' father, a gruff, burly man, deserted by his wife, finally comes to be proud of his son, who loves him dearly. It is a tender moment in a book full of comic situations.
The accompanying drawings by Quentin Blake add to the fun and frivolity of the story. Facebook has images of David being photographed in scenes from the book, and it is fascinating to see the plethora of videos of boys in dresses aping sections of the story. This handsomely presented hardback book with its vibrant purple cover and silver lettering will have instant appeal to students wanting a funny read. Knowing of the series Little Britain will also be an attraction, and the cover the book and its author are receiving on Facebook will add to its success.
Fran Knight

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