Book Reviews: ‘Demon Dentist’, by David Walliams
by David Walliams Published by Harper Collins Children's
on 26 September 2013 Format:
Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find… a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it…?
OMAR’S REVIEW …
Star rating: * * * * 4 out of 5
I’m not sure how to feel about David Walliams’ Demon Dentist.
I was mightily impressed by his ability to prod depth into the tale with just a single line. For example, you could read the list of bedtime stories the Dad tells his Pup as just a list of stories, but I doubt it’s a coincidence that they’re all protection and escapist fantasies, being told by a wheelchair-bound man no longer able to escape or protect.
There’s a certain level of inconsistency that I just can’t wrap my head around. From telling long tales in a single line, he then goes on to spend multiple chapters on a single slapstick scene.
Despite an obvious capacity for writing comedy, something’s slightly off. He seems to have gotten together excellent comedy ingredients. There’s a colourfully dressed lady of ample proportions on an undersized outdoor moped revving her engine indoors, something great is about to happen here. Then what’s done with them? She drives around for a couple of chapters in an overlong chase scene where she’s the negligible background.
But then there are the brilliant bits.
The protagonists and antagonists all have an almost Dahlesque* feel to them, with their exaggerated features, and caricatured flaws, each somehow fitting the role they’re meant to play so perfectly you could never imagine them as anything else.
(* Made up word alert).
Walliams isn’t shy. He’s not afraid to tackle topics that often get left out of kids’ books, and doesn’t stop to sugarcoat them either. Sickness, poverty, and age, all get introduced with a frankness that would be refreshing even in most adult books.
He’s also not afraid to wade through some pretty grotesque concepts, some of which made my skin crawl, and others which gave me unsettling flashbacks of a girl called Helen who force-fed me boogers to get my attention when I was 9.
I liked it a lot, but I couldn’t help but feel that he was so good in parts, that I was greedy for it to stun me on every line, and was disappointed when I wasn’t being elated. To the book’s credit though, I rubbernecked my way through, always eager to spot the next dripped drop of gruesome goodness, or giggle at the gold nuggets generously littered throughout.
AMBER, AGE 10, REVIEWS
Star rating: * * * * * 5 out of 5
I got into trouble for reading this book late at night.
Picture this: I’m getting into bed, I’m pretending to go to sleep, five minutes later I pick up my torch and I continue reading. It takes me approximately one and a half hours to finish the book then I go to sleep.
Next morning I wake up, tell my mum ‘ I’ve finished the book’ and she LITERALLY SHRIEKS ‘Ambeeeeer! Did you stay up all night to finish the book!? You are going to be so tired today at school… blah, blah, blah’.
I was kind of tired but it was worth it because I could not, I repeat, COULD NOT put this book down.
This book is most definitely one of the funniest books in history. It is absolutely hilarious (in particular when everybody chases a little boy called Alfie all over the town)! There’s also a couple of slightly scary bits like when the Tooth Witch extracted all of Alfie’s teeth. I liked the fact that the dentist was hidden in a very dark, ominous corner of a very dark, ominous alleyway.
My favourite bit is where Miss Root announces she is a Tooth Witch and takes away her clean sparkling white teeth to reveal hideous fangs!
I loved David Walliams’ other books (Ratburger made my top 5) but this is his best yet!
An easy 5 out of 5 stars!