07 September, 2016

Just William by Richmal Crompton


There are precious few children’s fiction series from yesteryear that thoroughly entertained me as a child and continue to delight me as an adult. Perhaps the foremost of these is the Just William series by the incomparable Richmal Crompton.

Incredibly, it is almost 100 years since Crompton’s most famous literary creation, the schoolboy William Brown, first appeared in print (and no, I was not around to read the first editions!). British newspaper The Sunday Times described the series as “probably the funniest, toughest children’s books ever written”.

Just William contains a dozen smart, funny and entertaining stories about William and his intrepid adventures. William’s ability to get into trouble is matched only by his family’s inability to understand his good intentions. No-one in the history of children's fiction is more misunderstood than William!

In the opening story, William sends his father flying into rhododendron bushes, makes the girl next door ill from dirty sweets, tells people he is suffering from consumption, meddles in his sister’s love life and nearly sets fire to his bedroom. All in a day’s work!

My favourite story is when William decides to leave home to become a gold-digger. He ends up in a local gentry house very briefly “working” as a servant, bringing chaos to a world of order. His long-suffering father pays the price once again.

A splendid series of misadventures and jolly entertaining! They don’t make them like they used to!

Recommended for readers 8+

Author: Richmal Crompton
Title: Just William

Reviewed by Nick K, Ranui Library

Nick K enjoys reading crime fiction, demonological adult and young adult fiction, classic children’s fiction like Arthur Ransome and picture books, especially those illustrated by Quentin Blake. He hates reality TV. 

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