22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2000
For William fans, this is an absolute must. Ten volumes of William antics have kept me (and all the other members of my household) busy (with about 2 stories a night in bed) for months. For those of you who don't know William, he is irresistable to both children and adults alike.
Children will find his adventures give them wonderful ideas for new games and adventures of their own; they will also enjoy his creativity in his triumphs against the adult world, his school teachers, the local tattle-tale bratt, his schoolroom enemies, stuffy extended-family members, etc..
As for the adults - I very rarely find someone with such an accurate (and amused) eye for social comedy as this author. Everyone's real motives come out in these stories, in hilarious contrast to the image they are trying to portray.
I highly recommend this set!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2001
William is just - William! I can't understand how anyone can raise any objections to his 'destroying of property' and 'not getting his just desserts'! I have just one thing to say to you - GO READ POLLYANNA! Besides, William is basically decent and good and doubtless grew up to be a fine man (ok, I know it's fiction). Richmal Crompton is (was) a writer of pure genius, I am still enjoying William well into my thirties. Granted, he is a light read, that is all part of the charm.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2002
I've loved William since I was a small child and still greatly enjoy his adventures. SO refreshing not to have morals of the "Disney" variety rammed down our throats!( Also,I was read Pollyanna when I was small and have since held a deep loathing for her and her kind which seem to proliferate in the children's books of CERTAIN countries which sort of share a language with us)
Richmal Crompton is a first rate writer and her descriptive vocabulary is second to none in children's literature. I suggest that it might prove a taxing read in some ways to many children today - as it goes a little beyond the range of the vocabulary used on Cartoon network and in the Harry Potter books.
It is possible that all the William books might be enjoyed more by adults feeling nostalgic- although Willaim's village is idealised it is not SO far from the England of not so long ago - woods, fields and little streams and the freedom to play outside ALL day long! I personally like the bits about dead animals in William's pockets- I spent many a happy hour playing with a dead mole as a child - part of life in the country !)
William is a dreadful child, and all the more entertaining for that! There is no-one else quite like William - and long may his adventures continue in print!
If you like morals - go to Pollyanna, A Little Princess or Little Lord Fauntleroy - nicer children you couldn't meet anywhere...now, excuse me whilst I am quietly sick...
Certain books for children - irrespective of when they were written - simply soar above the competition. The William books are a fine example of this. It is now nearly a hundred years ago since the earlier stories were crafted but William Brown is still regarded as one of the most humorous creations in literature. Not just children's literature because of course the best literature will stand being read by anyone of any age. William is as appealing to girls and women as to small boys and men. Though the main protagonist is a small boy, William Brown is universal; he could be you. In particular, William's keen logic - the firm, black and white logic of youth - is familiar to all of us and is a logic that is very hard to argue with. What William does is what we would like to do. In William's presence, pomposity shrinks and shuffles quietly away, adult silliness is exposed and sound qualities - such as loyalty, bravery, even public spirit - are allowed to flourish. William is very human so other perhaps less admirable strengths are evident too - supreme egotism, a dubious attitude towards small girls unless of the adoring and compliant variety, a total disregard for authority...Hang on a minute - that has to be good! You know William is on course to turn out okay despite his endless scrapes, despite his reputation as the most feared maker of mischief in the district. The characterisations, the story lines, the sheer chutzpah of our hero - all these aspects contribute to very amusing and eminently readable stories but the real beauty here is, as with all good books, in the quality of Richmal Crompton's writing. Crompton and William Brown are a magical pairing and I can imagine once the scruffy little character found her, it must have been pleasure all the way; the prolific nature of the William books certainly suggest this. There is really not a single low note in the books included within this set; everything turns out all right in the end. If you enjoy these books you owe it to yourself to track down Martin Jarvis' renditions of the William stories - Jarvis is the voice I hear in my head these days when I read these excellent tales.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2007
This boxed set gives you a chance to wallow in nostalga and the freedom once enjoyed by children to wander off and safely have adventures; or introduce your children or grandchildren to the wonders of William and the outlaws and the unmitigated horror of Violet Elzabeth Bott. These wonderful books contain some of the most perfectly written and plotted comic writing you will ever have have the pleasure of reading - Enjoy!
Mick Drake author of the comic novel All`s Well at Wellwithoute
on 9 February 2015
William seems to do all the things I want to do,but I probably wouldn't get away with it in the same charismatic "William" fashion! I was ten when I first listened to my father read it to me. Now three years I still enjoy it! my family and I listen to it when we are caravaning in Devon!
William's adventures are based in 1950's England in a closely knit lively little village. The problem for William is that news travels fast in a little community! William and his dog "Jumble" along with his gang of boys, called the "Outlaws" have a series of reckless exploits. In these hilariously funny stories everything thing seems to go wrong, but in the end he seems to escape it with just a scalding. Richmal Crompton encapsulates the character of William in fluent yet snappy sentences . The 'olde' English turn of phase adds to the amusing dialogue. "He saw himself through a mist of pathos , as a drunkards child.He saw his father weeping over him in hospital and begging his forgiveness ."
I think it would be a good book for young boys or anyone who likes a bit of mischief.
ISAAC SHIRLEY AGE 13
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2011
I used to be a fan of William books when I was a child, so when I saw this boxed set online I couldn't resist buying the set for my daughter. It was easy to order online, and the books arrived on time and in perfect condition. Definitely a great buy....and since my daughter is too young to read the books yet (she's 9 months)....I'm having fun reading all the books and falling in love with William all over again.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2012
I started reading "William" in a Spanish translation when I was 8. My father was desperate to get me to read something regularly, and bought "William psichiatrist". I started reading it, doubtfully, then laughed a lot, and couldn't stop reading and loving literature. For me, a Roman catholic, and a Spanish on top of that, William's stories had some extra bonus, like priests who where married and attended village social meetings, the reading societies, the nonconformist view on alcohol (on holidays it was my charge to buy wine in the tavern).
There are "children books" and then there is children literature. The first -like Jerome Stilton and their like- just take children for granted and think they have no brains and that anything goes, including soft morals. The same tale can be written several times provided you change the names. Well, children literature (Roahl Dahl, Richmal Crompton...) is literature written for children. Thus, it can be read at any age, because it is good and doesn't assume that young heads have brain damage or retarded inteligence. This is the case of the William stories.
William is a "bad" boy by his parents'standards, still influenced by the high Victorian tradition. According to the well situated high middle class between World Wars, a child should be obedient, quiet, clean, respectful, corteous, attend dance classes, go to Sunday chool etc. William is a true child and a brave boy, with a lot of sentiment, passion and a complete lack of knowledge about how life works. He likes playing with his friends, imagining and writing plots, rehearshing his own theater works and films... His innocence makes him a misfit in a world ruled by adult conventions and stringent social control.
Thus, William is a styre of the society he lives in: the new rich, the intelectual societies, suitable marriages, the "musts" in the social roles played by a well to do middle class family. He plays with London cockney kids (when London kids were considered more or less a savage tribe), he says what he consideres to be truth, he wants to be an adult in a world where adults don't want to be bothered with his earnest pursuits.
Other revieweres have argued that the concept of "bad" children has changed with time. This could be so, but then this books were written when cynicism was not a voge. I enjoy the Simpsons a lot, but William plays in another leage. The Simpsons are cynic, desperate, bitter, sarcastic. William is good "deep down". At the end of the day, his own sins bring a punishment, that is never severe (more often than not he has a hot bath and goes to bed, or hides just in time, later to have to give up to his parents). But not all social satire should be full of tears and sorrow.
So there you have a laugh, a hearty laugh and a sharp look at social mores.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2010
I have just purchased this boxed set of Just William books, bought as a present for my 8 year old grandson. Talk about a trip back in time! Absolutely brilliant, reliving all my emotions from all those years ago. I can't believe it possible to have some much pleasure second time round, particularly after an interval of some 60 years!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2001
If you feel the need to get self-righteous about William's never getting his just deserts, you're missing the point completely. Two reasons: one is that William is and presumably always has been a fantasy of freedom, even if he appears to be hemmed in by his family, school, all the things that he dislikes so much... The other reason is that for many of us, the just deserts are much more frightening in the anticipation. William does get into trouble, but a lot of his time is spent agonisingly trying to devise ways to counteract or postpone the trouble he's sensibly expecting to get into for something he's already done. He isn't to be taken as a serious role model, I'm afraid, or not in his entirety, and no sensible person would judge him as such...