Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

A review of the humorous children’s novel Billionaire Boy by David Walliams.

I have finally found the time to read one of the books written by David Walliams. Walliams has been heralded as the new Roald Dahl and I felt I should find out for myself. Billionaire Boy is about Joe Spud; a billionaire. At the beginning of the book Joe has everything he could ever want, apart from – yes, you’ve guessed it – a friend. Joe is desperately unhappy. At the private school he attends he is relentlessly teased because his father made his millions by inventing a toilet roll that was dry one side and wet the other. Perfect for washing and wiping.

Joe decides he wants to go to a normal school where nobody knows he is rich, in the hope of finding a true friend. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go to plan. Especially when his father delivers Joe’s homework by helicopter. The story then follows Joe’s quest to find a friend, a girlfriend and the true value of money.

Walliams has a very characteristic style of writing (I could actually hear him reading this) that is easy to read. The character development is slightly two dimensional, but it is a children’s book; and the bullies are quite stereotypical. As Walliams writes in the same genre that Roald Dahl used to, the comparison was inevitable; although it is not entirely justified in my opinion. The artwork does remind me a lot of Quentin Blake’s illustrations from Dahl’s books that my children grew up with. Strangely enough there is little innuendo or double meaning in Walliams’ book. It is very clearly meant for children. I suppose some of the made up swear words could be aimed at adults, but not obviously.

I didn’t find it overly funny, but I’m not an eight-year-old boy. It would be a good buy, coming up to Christmas, for children between nine and fourteen. Any older and they may find the humour a bit too childish; but I enjoyed reading it overall.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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