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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Having enjoyed Gangster Granny and Billionaire Boy, my eight year old boy and I decided to try Demon Dentist. To be honest we stopped reading about halfway through. It gave him bad dreams. If your child is not a fan of dentists, this book certainly isn't going to help. In one scene Alfie is strapped down in the dentist chair and wakes up to find all of his teeth have been forcibly removed. Now that's nightmare material for me and I'm thirty-nine. Finding out that your Dentist is actually a witch with hollow black eyes, that hides under your bed and leaves eyeballs under your pillow was frankly too much for my eight year old. Ultimately you all know your own children. If your child is likely to be disturbed by either of the things I've mentioned, I'd give this one a fairly wide berth. If you think your child is a little more stoic (we have read all of the How to Train Your Dragon books without a single bad dream) then they may well thoroughly enjoy this. It's got all the standard Walliams hallmarks and Raj - the popular newsagent - has a starring role.
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Quite understandably, David Walliams is the number one bestselling children's author in the United Kingdom. He has been hailed as the heir to Roald Dahl, but for my money he leaves Dahl in the dust.

While I have always appreciated and admired Dahl's books, there is an astringent and slightly nasty undercurrent in some of the books that just leaves me a little bit off, even as I'm enjoying them. I have no problem with the books being unsentimental, dark and a bit macabre, but there's often a hint of contempt or thinly veiled anger that just doesn't quite fit in with everything else. That said, I'll take Dahl over antiseptic cutesy any day.

And that's where Walliams comes in. Just as macabre and grotesque, just as committed to portraying the triumph of the good, young and kind over the old, greedy, and wicked, a Walliams book is sustained by the cheerful, fundamental goodness of his young characters. Just as was the case with Dahl, the stock setup involves adult villains who mistreat children, at least one good adult to help the child heroes, a few completely ineffective adults, and then child heroes who persevere and save the day. The plots are bizarre and extreme, the villainy is outrageously exaggerated, the violence is cartoonishly grotesque, and anything that happens happens to excess. There is child-sized nastiness, farting, tooth-pulling, and icky grossness.

But, Walliams mixes in sweetness, (hero Alfie and his Dad share scenes of heartbreaking tenderness), and a good deal of remarkably restrained deadpan humor. So, manic chase scenes are still loaded with dead funny and crisp throwaway lines and observations. The conversations between Alfie and his compatriot friendgirl Gabz are gems of finely crafted timing and emphasis. Certain set scenes, (Alfie's being comforted by the friendly newsagent Raj after his first dentist visit), are perfectly paced and balanced.

All of this is brilliantly served by the illustrations of Tony Ross, who complements Walliams in the same fashion that Quentin Blake elevated Dahl's work. Ross's drawings capture the moment and advance the story without at all cluttering the text or slowing the narrative, and they fit exactly with the reader's own mental pictures of the characters.

So, whether you call the books clever or funny or zany, or even darkly comic or macabre, they are so well conceived and well executed, and feature such winning child heroes, that you owe it to your child reader to try one on. (Although if you aren't quite sure where your child falls on the ick-tolerance scale you might consider a book like "Ratburger"before this one, which does have a lot of scary demon dentist stuff in it. "Ratburger" just has, well, ratburgers.)

Please note that these books are finally coming up for sale in the U.S., (at least as Kindle books), but I received a free advance ecopy of this particular book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2013
Short little book featuring 12 year old Alfie who lives alone with, and is sole carer for his wheelchair confined Dad after his mother died in childbirth. Alfie loves his dad who affectionately calls him 'Pup'.

Alfie hasn't been to the dentist since he was six with the toothache. And I cant blame him considering the ancient dentist diagnosed a rotton tooth, tied dental floss around dental nurse Mrs Prigg waist, the other end on forceps attached to his poor tooth .. and then .. jump out of the window !

I liked the style, I liked the introduction to all the charactors at the start, inparticular Mr. Grey the timid headmaster ( I wondered what inspired this choice of name). And of course texting boy, the boy that 's always texting.

And I liked the warnings of made up words like ' yankers' the human chain trying to yank out the tooth. I loved the relationship with Alfie and his dad and there 'multi coloured world of make believe'.

Has a sinister Dentist the children have to call Mummy, and a curios chaptor 38 called 'Mummus going to eat you'. The book is written in a comical way and this does make the scary bits easier but I would not really recommend for younger children. 9+
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on 7 November 2013
'Demon Dentist' is an amazingly fantastic book. The main plot is about a boy called Alfie and his friend Gabz, who try to defeat the tooth witch. She takes teeth but leaves things so horrible they are unmentionable... This novel is told in the third person. 'Demon Dentist' is funny, scary, and at the end a little sad. There are quite a log of made up words e.g. yankers. Read it if you dare! Oh yes, one more thing: BE PREPARED TO LAUGHT YOUR HEAD OFF!
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on 18 April 2015
This is another fantastic book from David Walliams but most definitely one of his darker works.
As mentioned in several other reviews sensitive and younger children will likely find the dentist absolutely terrifying.
I actually soldiered on through the chapter when Alfie is trapped, restrained and tortured by the dentist inwardly preying and expecting for the funny stuff to happen to balance things but it just didn't, she rips all of his teeth out with horrifically described torture instruments and he escapes with no teeth at all.
It IS a funny story (in places) with some great characters as usual, Raj the newsagent is a big favourite of ours but I would definitely NOT recommend this for kids under 10, and especially not for any kids who have the slights fear of dentists!!
We really enjoyed it and It is a good theatrical read to treat the kids to if you still enjoy reading to them as I do.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2013
David Walliams has a real gift ... the ability to hook children into reading; even those who are self confessed reluctant readers! This book was published on Thursday. One child walked in reading it on her kindle; another couldn't wait to get home to read the copy that had arrived in the post. my copy was downloaded, ready for me to start reading at break time and at lunch. By Friday, half the class was addicted, and a 20 minute silent reading (SQUIRT) session was obligatory!

Thank you, David Walliams! Whilst his writing may not be great literature, I feel that any author who can make a group of children want to read can't be all bad ... and my class WANT to read this week!!! If only he were as prolific an author as Enid Blyton ... then my class would be permanently reading! LOL!

Highly recommended for children aged 8 to 12 with a wicked (and I mean wicked!) sense of humour!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 October 2013
I've been a fan of Walliams' children's books since The Boy in the Dress. I loved Billionaire Boy. I've read all the others. And I'm thrilled that kids read them, love them, read some more.

But Ratburger and Demon Dentist... I'm disappointed. Maybe I'd be giving it 5 stars too if I was 10. But I just can't.

I think David Walliams' best books for kids are the ones that are obviously personal to him (and very touching) or funny without trying stupidly hard to be funny, without villains, that are character-driven, that don't aim towards an over-the-top Indiana Jones chase sequence and lose their unique feel.

There's nothing 'wrong' with Demon Dentist - you've got a poor kid who's lost his mum, whose dad is disabled from inhaling mine dust, who is losing teeth after bad experiences at the dentist many years ago. Along comes a scary new dentist intent on getting our hero into her chair for her own nefarious reasons. Our hero must work out what is going on and how to save the day. With a sidekick of sorts in a girl from school and with an overly-helpful chocolate munching social worker trying to get him to his dental appointment.

For me, things just didn't gel. Alfie himself is likeable - a young carer with a dentist phobia.
It's the characters around him that I didn't like. Winnie the social worker is very much a stereotype, and her biscuit munching annoying. I was a bit creeped out by Alfie's dad calling him "pup". And by Alfie constantly calling the underused Gabz, his "friend girl" as a "little girl"... She's in secondary school. I didn't understand why the dentist refers to herself as "Mummy" either.

Poor Raj, formerly my favourite character is taken out of his lovely corner shop context and put more firmly in the action, only to be "cowering" in every scene.

I didn't find a 'texting boy' character funny, maybe I'm just getting old...

And there were some plot questions I had:
*SPOILER ALERT*
What is the purpose of the acidic toothpaste - if the dentist wants teeth and the toothpaste destroys them, what good is that?!
Why does Alfie want a tooth from Raj and not from someone at school, many of whom seem to be losing their teeth every day?
Why can't the dentist just STAY DEAD?! How many times does she come back to life?
*END OF SPOILERS*

Walliams clearly admires Roald Dahl's books and emulates them (this time managing a Mr Twit-beard-like picture) but in my mind he falls short with his latest in measuring up. Dahl was almost Dickensian in his cast of supporting characters, Wallaims' aren't fleshed out. Even at 400 pages, this book resorts to visual gimmicks rather than revolting/witty descriptions. He's done it better in the past.

I didn't like the ending again, as with Ratburger. Too much of a chase (after chase after chase) with an ending I didn't want.

Am I an old misery guts? I hope not. I don't think Walliams will lose money with Demon Dentist, and I can see that it's going to be popular. I just think he's selling himself short by veering in this direction with his writing. Demon Dentist is in many ways his saddest book, but I found Billionaire Boy much more moving and that was about a rich kid! I found Boy in the Dress very upsetting - because a boy's dad missed his wife. These were more considered and character-driven, they didn't try as hard to win readers.

I didn't plan on writing this much. I just feel disappointed in Walliams a little.

I'm glad so many children are reading it, there's lots of techniques employed that they'll enjoy and learn from, it just really wasn't in the same league as earlier books from him.
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on 29 September 2013
Demon Dentist iis a fantstic book. Walliams is amazing at nnarrating it, and makes the more scary bits,funny. Ive read all 6/6 of hiss books and is by far the best (especially if you like made up words!). Reccomended for 9+ as there is some scary content. Hope this review is a help :)
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A twelve year old boy named Alfie hasn't been to the dentist for many years after a painful experience. When a new dentist comes along, Alfie discovers the secrets of this Demon Dentist.

This book will make you laugh from the very first chapter. An event occurs towards the end of the book which might let a tear slip down your cheek but don't worry, David knows how to put a smile on your face after sad happenings.

So, why five stars? Because it is enjoyable for all ages, and can be read in a matter of hours.
Who would like this book? Those who love reading and want to smile a lot!

Everyone will love this book and all of the perfect illustrations to match.
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on 11 February 2014
This was a present for my 10 year old Grandson who hasn't stopped talking about it since he got. We have also bought him other titles by the same author with the same result. Highly recommended by a very happy 10 year old boy.
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