Getting kids to read is one of my passions. My youngest, who is 8, has recently become quite enamoured with David Walliams – this is a good thing. Just this past weekend he came home from town with Mr Stink and The World’s Worst Children.
He has most of the others albeit that he hasn’t read many of them – though I have read some to him. This intrigued me, why did he enjoy (to some extent) simply possessing them? The answer, I believe, is in the presentation.
Increasingly, David’s books have become more and more elaborate in their presentation. The illustrations by Quentin Blake were always excellent but in recent books, Grandpa’s Great Escape and The World’s Worst Children in particular, the publishers have really gone to town on using various different fonts and font sizes to emphasise the action in the story. Kids love this and it helps keep their attention. For a young reader there is nothing more imposing that an entire page of text – I still recall that feeling of having to wade through long texts myself. I always thought that books without pictures were long and boring!
The new offering, The world’s Worst Children not only continues the same approach with a variety of fonts and font sizes, but it also now published in full colour throughout. No doubt, David’s success allows the publishers to splash more cash on the quality and sumptuousness of his books. This is all to the good. Children benefit by being presented with something that it is great to look at. It draws kids in like the Pied Piper but, thankfully, takes them somewhere far nicer, to a world of words and laughter with some morality lessons to be learned along the way too.
The World’s Worst Children is a delightful collection of short stories that my 8 year old is loving. A boy who wants nits!? Give me more!
There’s a reason he so popular. He’s doing everything right.
Bravo, Mr Walliams!