REVIEW

Author and comedian David Walliams delivers another imaginative kids' book, this one set in Buckingham Palace

A British National Literacy Trust survey of more than 56,000 children in December revealed that the 22 per cent of children who own books read above the expected level, compared to just 3.6 per cent who do not own a book.

David Walliams, like J K Rowling, has presumably bolstered those ownership figures. The actor, comedian and writer published his first book, The Boy In The Dress, in October 2008, followed by Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny, which were all turned into BBC films.

Other books, such as the World's Worst Children's series have followed at a prodigious rate, with Walliams earning over £100 million, making him one of the Britain's highest earning authors.

Author and comedian David Walliams has helped get kids reading again. Picture: Getty Images

Author and comedian David Walliams has helped get kids reading again. Picture: Getty Images

Walliams said that he likes reading with his six-year-old son Alfred, including sharing the stories he loved as a child, especially Roald Dahl and the Dr Seuss books.

Walliams has said, 'I'd urge all parents to make time to read with their children, as it is a joy for both of you. What could be better than firing their imagination just before they drift off to sleep?".

One can see why his books are so popular with imaginative and humorous texts, black-and-white quirky characterisation, large textual exclamations, numerous illustrations, in this case by Tony Ross, and what might be termed naughty bits.

Walliams has said, "Everyone loves the word 'fart' - kids and adults. Kids of a certain age love talking about anything to do with going to the toilet. I know my son does. I always like to make my books a little bit naughty, forbidden".

His latest and 13th book, The Beast Of Buckingham Palace, racked up sales of over 130,000 copies in the first week after publication. Walliams initially also had to contend with media comments whether his book was about Prince Andrew!

It is set in 2120 with 12-year-old Prince Alfred, a book loving recluse in Buckingham Palace. He has never known life outside Buckingham Palace in a world devastated by climate change. "The Kingdom is dark. Britain has not seen sunlight for fifty years".

While the King rules, he is "as lost as his Kingdom", being controlled by the scheming Lord Protector, who imprisons the Queen in the Tower of London.

The Protector, who controls the Palace with the aid of an all-seeing flying robot eye, summons Edward III's griffin and other mythical beasts to control the kingdom.

Alfred must battle against the odds to save his family and the impoverished downtrodden populace with the aid of Little Mite, who is" very small, very poor and very hungry - but also very brave". Read on!

  • The Beast of Buckingham Palace, by David Walliams. HarperCollins. #22.99.
This story Giving naughty and nice kids exactly what they love first appeared on The Canberra Times.