Demon Dentist by David Walliams

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Demon Dentist by David Walliams

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Alfie doesn't believe in fairy tales any more. So when it turns out Miss Root, the new dentist, has certain magical powers, he refuses to accept it. But if he doesn't wise up quickly, he could lose more than just a few gnashers!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 444 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007453566

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He ought to have realised she was evil from the start. After all, how many dentists do you know who love — yes, really love — rotten teeth? Brown, yellow, cracked, full of cavities, diseased, covered in plaque . . . you get the picture. And for Alfie, a boy who loathes dentists from the bottom of his heart and whose teeth are so rotten they ought to be a tourist attraction, danger definitely looms. You can practically hear the background music when the two meet at a school assembly: dum-dum-DUUUUMMMMMM!!!!

But even before this, something nasty's been going on in town. The tooth fairy's supposed to leave money under your pillow, right? So who's putting creepy-crawlies, dead slugs and old scabs there instead? Alfie and his new friend Gabz need to sort this horrible problem out, and fast.

This is a simple book, with a straightforward plot and not too many complexities. Its attraction lies in the outrageous characters and the positive mountain of stomach-churning and seriously funny details and situations Mr Walliams provides (plus the truly fabulous illustrations by Tony Ross). Add to all this the fact that Alfie and Gabz, who are neither popular nor sporty, are able to triumph against apparently overwhelming odds, and readers will soon be leaping up and down on the sofa to cheer for the new girl who hardly ever speaks and the short scruffy boy with bad teeth. Even that funny kid who ignores the world around him because he's too busy texting has a role to play in the battle between good and evil. After all, almost every child in the world sees themselves as an outsider in some way, and identifying with the underdog who succeeds is very comforting.

In Ratburger, Walliams' previous book for young readers, pretty well every adult on the estate was spiteful, lazy or downright evil. The only decent adult, Raj the newsagent, reappears in this book, still messy and disorganised, still selling out-of-date sweets, but still warm-hearted and kindly. In line with previous children's books by David Walliams there are feeble and stupid adults (the local cop isn't much use, and teachers come in for quite a bashing here, especially if they wear grey or teach Drama!) but Alfie is lucky because he has a dad who loves him deeply and who would do anything whatsoever for his son. And even people who seem, at first glance, to be foolish and insensitive, not to mention downright weird, are shown to be capable of generosity and warmth in the end. In fact, although this book ends on an unusually sad note, there is definitely hope and happiness on the horizon.

If you are a child who absolutely loves going to the dentist (especially if there's a bit of painful tooth-yanking involved), and who also finds no pleasure whatsoever in stuff which is gross, funny and a teeny bit scary, then you will not enjoy this book. Go find yourself a dictionary to read instead. The rest of you will love it.

For more groan-out-loud gruesomeness or joyous silliness, try Ratburger, Billionaire Boy and The Boy in the Dress, all by the same author.

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Buy Demon Dentist by David Walliams at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Demon Dentist by David Walliams at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Demon Dentist by David Walliams at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Demon Dentist by David Walliams at Amazon.com.

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