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BOOK REVIEW: The World’s Worst Children 3 written by David Walliams & illustrated by Tony Ross

| 1 September 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The World’s Worst Children 3 written by David Walliams & illustrated by Tony Ross

May 2018
Paperback, $24.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Fiction / Children’s Fiction / Humour


The President of the United States dubbed it the “Greatest book ever written.” Well, that’s if you believe the joke. This title – which is crammed full of hilarious gags and will appeal to both youngsters and grown-ups – is The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams. This book proves that the popular comedian-turned-children’s author is still going from strength-to-strength with this series thanks to his original and engaging ideas and stories.

From the desk of the President of the United States of America

Hello, people of the world, and welcome to this book – in my humble view the greatest book ever written, after my own one, which was better.
It is a huge honour for me to write the introduction as my best friend in the whole world (maybe my only friend) is David “The Dave” Walliams. I am a big fan of all his stuff. The World’s Worst Children is my favourite one of his books as it’s mainly pictures and I only really look at the pictures.

There have been some people who have compared Walliams to Roald Dahl. This is not because both have used the illustrating services of Sir Quentin Blake. The whole premise of the World’s Worst Children series is that it’s a group of short stories based on terrible kids along with some morality and heard-earned lessons thrown in for good measure. It certainly sounds similar to the ideas first explored in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. But instead of Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, and Mike Teavee, readers are introduced to ten terrible kids. Consider: Hank who is obsessed with playing pranks, Walter the sarcastic wasp with a vicious tongue and Bonnie Bossypants who dictates everything to everyone, even her parents.

Honey hogged the bathroom. The girl would spend so long getting ready that by the time she left the house whatever she was going to had long since finished. Often days before.
The reason that Honey was such a hogger was that she had the longest beauty regime in the history of the world. It was even longer than Cleopatra’s, and she bathed in ass’s milk.
It was even longer than Elizabeth I’s, who had leeches attached to her body for hours to feast on her blood so she could look pale. It was even longer than Marie Antoinette’s, and she had a pouf of hair a metre tall that needed teasing every morning.
No, Honey Flunk’s beauty regime was epic.

Some of the humour is a tad gross-out. This is certainly true in the tale starring the triplets. They are three boys who compete with each other to be the grossest one of all. To do so, one eats and collects earwax, the other belly button lint, and the final one, snot. It is yuck but you can imagine a young, reluctant reader lapping up this quirky plot and enjoying the eye-popping illustrations by Tony Ross.

These being three of the world’s worst children, they wanted to be the best at bad things only. Very bad things…
When they were babies, Tom, Dick and Harry would battle over who could:
“Do the smelliest blow-offs while sitting on Father Christmas’s knee…
Build the rudest snowman. This was all about where you placed the carrot…

Walliams does some interesting things with this book and not least because he drops in the newsagent Raj for a cameo. Some of the characters are not who you would immediately think of when you consider the terms, “World’s worst children.” Take Valentine Glorious for instance. He is a teen who is completely full of himself and utterly obsessed with his own reflection. This proves great fodder for a nice swipe at the Kardashians of this world.

Valentine was handsome, and boy did he know it! He was so vain he couldn’t walk past a mirror without checking his reflection in it. One time, some boys at school came into the toilets and caught Valentine kissing himself in the mirror.
Valentine believed that because he was handsome he should be famous too. He had no talents of any kind but, like a lot of famous people, he wasn’t going to let that hold him back. The boy annoyed everyone by acting as if he were famous, strutting around the school wearing sunglasses. He never took them off, even when it was dark, and spent all day bumping into things as he couldn’t see where he was going.

In terms of humour, Walliams employs a range of different devices. Firstly, there are gags in the illustrations. In other instances, the joke is due to exaggerated circumstances and repetition. There are your stock-standard ones involving bodily functions. But perhaps the best and smartest lines in this compendium are those that are similar to what you’d find in a Pixar film, they’re there for the adults to enjoy because they will most likely go over younger readers’ heads.

The girl lived not far from a huge stadium that was home to football matches and rock concerts. One Saturday afternoon, she crept out of the house and cycled there. A huge poster outside the stadium advertised that night’s entertainment. It was a rock band from the 1960s called the Rollicking Fossils, and they were playing their “15th & Final Farewell Tour.”

This text uses different fonts to make different points. It certainly makes the experience of reading this book as visual as possible. The illustrations – along with Walliams’ vibrant prose – really help to conjure up a fantastical word that is explored just as a child would do. Consider it a world of pure imagination.

The World’s Worst Children 3 is a fun and entertaining book. There is a little something for everyone here because there is so much to laugh at and engage with. These ten tales are short, sharp bursts of energy and the whole thing is so easy to sit and consume in the one sitting it’s almost like polishing off a big bag of rainbow lollies. Yum.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her website is at:

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