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on 22 August 2013
This book is badged on the spine "10" but it is NOT No.10 in the original Richmal Crompton series. The book on sale is a compendium of various tales gathered from volumes originally published just pre-war (1938) up to the start of the 1950s which have some relation to the wartime period (roughly books 20-26 in the original series). The ORIGINAL book 10 was simply called "William" and dated from 1929, firmly in the interwar years.

Unfortunately, MacMillan were taking an understandable opportunity to repackage the first nine original books to tie in with a TV series adaptation. That was OK in its way (despite the loss of the beautiful earlier colour covers in favour of rather naff photos, destroying the period look of the books at a stroke). However having produced this set of the first nine in 2010, someone had the bright idea of adding on "William at War" (which had been made into a standalone unnumbered collection back in 1995) and giving it the number "10". I regard this as REALLY, REALLY STUPID. You do wonder that nowhere in the whole of MacMillan someone did not ask the question "But now we have two different William books with "10" on the spine - won't that be confusing?"

Indeed, this results in there being two volumes available with "10" on the spine. Just to make sure that confusion is inevitable, facing the inside title page of this unfortunate book, "William at War" is listed as the last in a list of ten volumes in "the Just William series". Naturally, the rest of the 38 volumes in this astonishingly consistent series have to be ignored, as this collection jumps half-way up the list and steals one of the original numbers.

Rather difficult to explain to an autistic child. But leaving that aside, an example of corporate stupidity. If you want to create an "enhanced" set of ten volumes, why not treat this collection as what it was when first published - an unnumbered thematic collection - a "special edition" if you like?

The three stars reflect the usual high quality of the stories, but if I could, I would give minus ten stars for the idiocy of this piece of marketing. Shame on you MacMillan!
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