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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This hardcover book is a facsimile of the first ever 'William' book. The books 5.5" x 6.5" x 1", and well bound, but not with the little pretty cotton coloured binding, just glue & paper. All the original illustrations are present. Text size is large - I don't need glasses to read the stories to my son (9). I won't bore you with reviews of these first William stories, any child of the sixties like me will be familiar with these. I suppose the stories aren't dissimilar to beginning of Mark Twain's 'Tom Sawyer'. They share the witty humour of cheeky boys pushing at adults set boundaries, although, fortunately for him, William never has to face the likes of 'Indian Joe' in the English shires. William stories aren't 'coming of age' either (girls are for dipping pigtails into inkwells). His charm is that he steadfastly refuses to grow up, and he is always a typical roguish but lovable preteen boy knocking about with his outlaw mates.

This first book collected together the short stories a very young Richmal wrote for `Home Magazine' and were aimed more at adults than later books (e.g. the first story in Just William, `William at the pictures' was actually the fourth one published - `Rice Mould' being the first). `Rice Mould' doesn't appear until the second book `More William' though, also published in 1922. William moved with the times though, and his stories were written up to the 1970's, and many will remember the Armada paperback books from the 1960's that mixed stories together. At the time of her death in 1969 Richmal had written 39 William books and sold over 8 million copies.

I suppose the language of these early William books isn't a very easy read for younger preteens with words like 'epicurean', 'apoplectic' and 'discoursing', but I guess I just ignored these tough words when I read the books as a boy (most of the words aren't that difficult). For younger children its probably best to read to them, particularly as you also have accents as well (e.g. "Ad your tea ?" and "Well, why shan't I jus' speak to her"). Being produced way back in 1922, the book is also a little dated compared to later William books, and these first stories are populated with servants and Victorian aunts. Mind you an original first edition of this book costs serious money. The cover picture (not a loose cover) of William in his school cap is from the 1940s, although I looked pretty much the same as a 1st year secondary schoolboy in 1967 - my black crested school cap was a little more formal and restrained though. As a young boy I never had any problem identifying with William and his middle class family background, probably as it was similar to mine. So overall a good value `first edition facsimile' of the classic 'Just William' book - this edition also used to be available as part of a set of the first four classic William books: Just William, More William, William Again, and William the Fourth, but that four book set is sadly hard to find at the moment (try ebay).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This isn't sitcom funny; this is humorous in a sly, observant, understanding and wise fashion. William's earnestness, gravity and complete lack of understanding of how the adult world works is balanced by the author's light and gracious touch and the result is a comedy of manners, youth, family and misunderstanding that is both rewarding and entertaining.

Pity William's mother and father, as well as his older sister and brother, as William misconstrues their comments and misperceives their situations and then steadfastly undertakes to fix that which is not broken. William is a moral creature, sensitive to injustice and wrong behavior, and given to romantic flights of fancy, but when this is refracted through his grave yet childish mind all paths lead to confusion and ruin.

But that's all too heavy and pedantic. William is a charming and engaging creation. Our author has a delicate and whimsical touch and is completely generous in her treatment of all of the characters in the stories who deserve generosity. The humor can be deadpan, or dry, or slapstick, or subtle; it can reside in the narrator's asides, or the dialogue, or the character's situations, but it is always rewarding and entertaining.

The book's chapters read like linked short stories, so this is an especially nice volume for dipping into when you need a bit of a calm pick-me-up. A very nice find.

Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to the publisher of this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2011
Prompt delivery.
Excellent paperback T.V tie in cover of the original Richmal Crompton book, which I am enjoying again with my 10 year old Grandson. For me it is a jaunt down memory lane!
The forward by Sue Townsend tells how she was encouraged to read by the "William" books. I am sure the same can be said by many others.
Each chapter stands on its own as a separate story about the lovable rogue William.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2012
I got this book as a birthday present for my little brother and he as spent more time with it then he has with any of his other birthday presents although there are a lot of long words in it that he can not yet read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2013
Takes me back to my childhood days when Just William was the source of my fun. I used to, and still do, admire the all immersing nature of Richmal Crompton's writing. She obviously has her own fondness for the character she created, giving him opportunities to create inadvertent mayhem that are simply wonderful to be part of. Loud chuckles accompany the reader as you find William achieving the impossible, against all odds and plunging into abject disaster at the drop of a hat. GREAT FUN!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2012
I first read this book (and several others in the series) back in the 1950s. At the time I found it entertaining and amusing. I have now bought the kindle version to read both for myself, but also aloud to younger children. Like Winnie the Pooh it has a charm which stretches across the generations, though I expect that some of the vocabulary will need explanation to some of the younger listeners. I still find the humour amusing as an adult, though the settings are somewhat dated (I remember thinking this even in the 1950s!). Nevertheless, this is an excellent children's book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2014
Bought this as a Christmas gift for my 70+ husband who received 'William' books from his Grandma for his birthdays and loved them . He read this one straight away and really enjoyed the happy memories it brought back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2014
I couldn't resist this, having read all the William stories many years ago. I suppose they're a bit dated but the characters are vivid and very amusing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2014
bit of a ratings con. bought for my 10 year old grandson. and have graded it on 60 years ago when i was 8
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2013
Up to date picture on Just William was ideal to buy for a 9 year old. It had an instant appeal.
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