Review Blog

Dec 19 2019

The beast of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams

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Illus. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008385644.
Fanciful, escapist, heart-stopping action is in store for children who read David Walliam's latest book The beast of Buckingham Palace. What a clever, multi-faceted book - if you can get over the action to the underlying themes and the history.
Our hero is small, weak, bespectacled Prince Alfred who is captive in Buckingham Palace in the year 2120 (one hundred years from now.) It seems that humans have wrecked the planet, all of the major landmarks of London are in ruins, the water undrinkable, the people starving and the land is in darkness. The royal family still live in the palace under the control of evil forces that are progressively unveiled as the story proceeds. It is a classic fight of good against evil with a mash-up of the historical going back to the time of King Alfred and the futuristic with laser gun-toting guards, the All-seeing Eye and the Octobut.
Twelve year old Prince Alfred discovers his strength and leadership ability with the aid of a little street mite, his mother the queen and a band of elderly lady revolutionaries. Together, through a series of exciting and dangerous twists and turns they fight supernatural power that is magically derived from the ancient scripts and texts from the days of old Albion.
David Walliams, as in Grandfather's great escape, captures with warmth and humour, the effective partnership that can exist between the very elderly and the very young when bad things have to be overcome. What a band of feisty fighters the old ladies turn out to be, fighting for Britain with their handbags, rolling pins - whatever comes to hand! They are crucial to the victory with their dauntless, fearless and canny strategies!
David Walliams and Tony Ross go together like Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake. This book is a visual feast of pictures and weird fonts that complement the action packed story line and onomatopoeia-laden text.
Children will love this book.
Wendy Jeffrey

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