Thursday 14 November 2013

Children's book review : Demon Dentist - David Walliams

We've just been reading, and thoroughly enjoying, David Walliam's new novel, Demon Dentist. It's a hilarious read so don't be put off by the warning on the front page : "Beware. This is a horror story. With quite a lot of made-up words." Well, it does feature a nasty witch and a few grisly moments (if you weren't scared of going to the dentist before, you might be afterwards !) but it's not really horrible or scary so there won't be any nightmares after reading it. The made-up words are also quite sensible most of the time and sound as if they should exist : mopedding, wichistry, hot-air-balloony, huggiest. If you're worried about your kids picking up unorthodox words, don't worry - all the made-up words are clearly asterisked (I think that might be a made-up word actually !) throughout the story.

Ah yes, the story. Demon Dentist tells the rather gruesome tale of a nasty witch, disguised as a dentist, who is almost like the tooth fairy's evil twin sister. She is on a mission to steal all the children's teeth, even if they're still attached to their gums, and goes around leaving unimaginably horrible things under pillows in place of the tooth fairy's usual coins. The unlikely hero is a little boy called Alfie, whose totally rotten teeth attract the Demon Dentist, so he has to foil her plans and reveal to the world what she really is. He's helped along the way with an unlikely cast of allies, including the over-enthusiastic (and gassy !) social worker Winnie, his wheelchair-bound dad, the tight-fisted shopkeeper Raj and friend-who's-a-girl-but-not-my-girlfriend Gabz. The characters are fun, if rather stereotypical and one-dimensional.

David Walliams really likes playing with words, not just making them up but also using different typefaces to bring the words to life. The book also uses a huge amount of illustrations, by the talented Tony Ross (famous for his illustrations in the Horrid Henry and Little Princess books), which should help even reluctant readers whizz through the pages.

Both in terms of the drawings and the content, the book really reminded me of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. It has definite ewww-factor and a huge amount of laugh-out-loud moments, even as an adult. The plot is quite predictable, but it will definitely appeal to tweens looking for a fun read.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007453566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007453566
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.6 x 4 cm

Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Booktrust's Ultimate List: 100 Books to Read Before You're 14

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