By Richmal Crompton (Macmillan)
I discovered Just William as a schoolgirl on holiday in Salt Rock. The house we rented had a stacked bookshelf of assorted books and there lay about five of the 12 Just William books. I was in heaven! Set in England in the 1920’s, William is a scruffy 11-year-old boy with a penchant for getting into trouble. Just William has been made into a television series, film and had countless radio adaptations. My seven year old loved his view of school: “William was frankly bored. School always bored him. He disliked facts, and he disliked being tied down to detail, and he disliked answering questions. As a politician a great future would have lain before him.”
The theme of leadership and friendships is explored through William’s leadership of his gang of friends Ginger, Henry and Douglas who call themselves ‘The Outlaws.’ This is an Enid Blyton meets Roald Dahl type of book – a jolly England atmosphere with loads of schoolboy humour. The books capture a nostalgia for a time gone by when children played without much supervision from parents and could have the run of the town. Some of the humour and vocabulary is dated but it doesn’t matter as the stories are cracker. A great gift for a 7-10 year old boy or girl.
* Two book covers have been released – an updated William from the BBC series, which some children may find easier to relate to, and the original picture of a naughty faced schoolboy with tie askew.