Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams

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Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Utterly silly from start to finish and yet it leaves the reader with a warm, cosy feeling. Forget about whether anything in the plot makes the slightest sense - just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007494019

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Most people don't really get Grandpa. He's old and set in his ways (apart from the fact that recently he's taken to going down to the shops in his brown checked slippers, whatever the weather), and he's definitely getting more and confused by the day. In fact, a lot of the time he thinks he's back in World War Two, flying his Spitfire out across the Channel to defeat the bad guys. Only his grandson Jack understands that the way to get through to him is to play along.

But then disaster strikes and the sensible grown-up people decide Grandpa can't look after himself any more. His brain may be on the fritz but he's determined and loyal, and physically he's pretty fit too, so when he wanders off from his little flat into the night (which he does more and more often) he's capable of getting into – or onto – some very dangerous places. It's no good, he'll have to move into Twilight Towers, which is described by the local vicar as Disneyland for old people, and because this is a David Walliams book, you just know that's going to be as far from the truth as a description can possibly be.

There are two ways of looking at a David Walliams book. You can get annoyed when logic is ignored (a bunch of old wrinklies legging it over a great high wall? Seriously?) and a lot of the characters are as clichéd and obvious as pantomime, but – well, lots of people love pantomime, and the fact that they know exactly what's coming doesn't detract in the slightest from their enjoyment. And after all, Roald Dahl got away with it! The alternative is to accept what's going on without asking too many questions, and just enjoy the story. Sure, teachers and policemen and guards are always really dim and clumsy. Fat people are often evil, and parents don't have a clue. But our old friend Raj (who runs the corner shop) is there, as generous and perceptive (except when it comes to the quality of his well-licked and out-of-date sweets) as he is in the other Walliams books, and Tony Ross's superb illustrations add immeasurably to the carefree, slightly manic tone of the text.

Those of us willing to admit we actually are sensible grown-up people know that for all the laughs a story about an old man with increasing dementia isn't going to have a happy ending. Well, maybe . . . there is a joyfulness about the last chapters, and in fact, this story might well help young people facing the loss of a beloved grandma or grandpa.

David Walliams is one of the big stars of children's fiction, and anything he writes is guaranteed to be popular. His earlier works like Ratburger and Demon Dentist will be welcomed by anyone who happens to have been in stasis on a trip to Mars for the last couple of years and hasn't managed to keep up with what everyone is reading. And for everybody else there's the master himself: we recommend George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl as an excellently silly read. Younger children will enjoy 40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert and Amanda Haley.

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Buy Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams at


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