Awful Auntie by David Walliams

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Awful Auntie by David Walliams

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Rachael Spencer
Reviewed by Rachael Spencer
Summary: A wonderful book for a wide age range of children which will be around for many, many years to come. David Walliams shows himself to be the next Roald Dahl in this brilliantly sinister tale of Stella Saxby and her awfully Awful Auntie.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780007453603

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Stella Saxby is the sole heir to her family home, Saxby Hall, but when her awful Auntie Alberta decides she wants it for herself, what will happen to her? Find out in this excellently written, funny, yet poignant and wonderfully sinister book by the brilliant David Walliams.

Some writers just have that gift for children, and who knew that David Walliams was one of them? Well he is. I’m sure I’m not the only person to say there’s something incredibly Roald Dahl about his writing style, and I find it very exciting that there is somebody in the industry to take on that mantle. There is a completely magical sense of humour which underpins the style and content of the book, but at the same time I love that Walliams doesn’t shy away from the darker side of stories, much as Dahl didn’t. Children are so much more resilient to this than they are often given credit for, not everything is sweetness and light and kids actually love that in books and stories, and I don’t think we should hide that away from them.

This is a book which knows exactly how to appeal to children, not just the story but the actual book itself. The way it is laid out makes it intriguing and exciting, with maps and illustrations tied in with the text to create a world which seems impossible not to want to explore. This is for kids, and as an adult reading I suddenly felt like a ten year old under my duvet with a torch reading a book when I should have been sleeping. The entire opening of the book is completely captivating and compelling, not only the opening chapter which sets the scene, but also the introduction of the characters (my favourite being Wagner the great Bavarian mountain owl, of course) and the way it slips the back story in before continuing deeper into the story itself.

Tony Ross couldn’t have been a more perfect choice as an illustrator for this book. Pictures in books for this age range are a careful balancing act, one which has paid off brilliantly here. There are quite a few illustrations, but they don’t take away from from the text at all, in fact they just add to it. Going back to the Roald Dahl similarities, Ross’s illustrations echo Quentin Blake nicely, with entertaining yet ever so slightly sinister line drawings which match the tone of the work beautifully.

It isn’t very often that you read a book and know whole-heartedly that you are reading something which will be around in ten or twenty years time. I know that when my son is older, he will read and love this book and, no doubt, all the rest of Walliams’ work too. I haven’t read any of his other books yet, but I cannot wait to now, and I’m pretty sure that you will too if you already haven’t.

If, like me, you'd like to find some other Walliams books then you could try Demon Dentist. Alternatively, if you've read all of his books and are looking for something else, then I'm sure you or your kids would love Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.

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Buy Awful Auntie by David Walliams at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Awful Auntie by David Walliams at


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