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Just William (Just William, #1)
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Just William (Just William #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,113 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Whether it's trying to arrange a marriage for his sister or taking a job as a boot boy as step one in his grand plan to run away, Just William manages to cause chaos wherever he goes.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 23rd 1990 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published 1922)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melki
There were some quite interesting things to do outside. In the road there were puddles, and the sensation of walking through a puddle, as every boy knows, is a very pleasant one. The hedges, when shaken, sent quite a shower bath down upon the shaker, which also is a pleasant sensation. The ditch was full and there was the thrill of seeing how often one could jump across it without going in. One went in more often than not. It was also fascinating to walk in mud, scraping it along with one's boot ...more
Scurra
This is a stand-in for the whole Just William series by Richmal Crompton. As with Molesworth, these books are not only really, really funny, but also offer an insight into aspects of the British class system - the subtle distinctions, prejudices and interactions between the different strata of the middle classes (frankly, the working class and aristocrats are virtually absent here.)

And all of this filtered through William's eyes, making perfectly normal social situations into mystifying, suspic
...more
Manny
Not the Antichrist, though I suspect that Violet Elizabeth Bott has her doubts.
Sharon
I haven't rated/reviewed Just William before?!That's a shock to me but then I haven't read it in a while. Just William is a great example of the best of what I will riskily call period British humor. There were plenty of writers like that:the guy who wrote Billy Bunter, W.E. Jones (he wrote this one funny Biggles book) James Herriot and Gerald Durrell. Jerome Klapka Jerome seems to live on albeit as a red flag for the intellectual reader who likes fun. P.G. Wodehouse's reputation is the only one ...more
Graham
Along with Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton was one of my staples as a child. I always thought - and still think - that Blyton had the edge because her stories focus on adventure whereas Crompton's WILLIAM stories are all about the humour. But that doesn't make JUST WILLIAM any the less entertaining.

The stories are perfect for nostalgia purposes; bringing to life a bygone era of England, the early 20th century, when children could play in the woods and streams and engage in all kinds of dangerous p
...more
Lindley Walter-smith
The first William collection is one of the funniest and the best. The incorrigibly uncouth but wildly imaginatively William interferes with his grownup sibling's love lives, has a brief but intense crush on a teacher, joins (against his will) the Band of Hope (because members of his class have such a refining effect on the village children), and manages to avoid attending a wedding dressed in white satin as a page.
Phil
Well, I have no idea whatsoever why it has taken so long to get around to the joys that are the Just William stories. These are just fantastic. Slightly variable, which you might expect from a short story collection, but at their best these had me literally LOLing.

The writing is superb - while this might be a children's book, Crompton doesn't stint on the vocabulary (unctuous and laconically for example) and the author's tone is gloriously deadpan. I think this is one reason why the books don't
...more
K. Carters
I got hold of a box set of Just William books (well the first 10 at least..there are loads more!) and I loved the cover and the vibe. However, these have aged badly in content and I don't mean fondly aged so you feel all happy and drift off to a happier place, you just sort of read in horror at distant parents, physical abuse and questionable standards.

I enjoy the book set as a piece of office furniture to adorn my bookshelf but don't think the other 9 will ever be read. It's just not my jam san
...more
Zain
Crompton's first book of the series. Some of the stories lack the polish that her later books have. Nevertheless, William is as irrepressible as ever, with his staggering, limitless imagination, unassailable logic and as you read of his antics, hilarity indubitably ensues. The character reminds me a lot of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) sans the modernity.
One particular story is of William's flitting interest taken by mountain-climbing, where he and a friend stack all the mattresses of the hous
...more
Brianht
I first found the William series by Richmal Crompton when I was at high school. I read as many as I could get my hands on and have returned to them in the intervening years. They are a brilliant expose of what it is like to act like a nine or ten year old boy. The characterisation is brilliant as is the dialogue. Even after taking into account the length of time since the first William book was printed, the dialogue given to William still stands the test of time as faithfully records how any you ...more
Abi
Apr 18, 2010 Abi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The young and the young at heart
Quite possibly the funniest books in children's literature. William Brown is one of my favourite characters of all time. The Just William books are collections of short stories chronicling the adventures and misadventures of eleven-year-old William Brown, who in the first books in the series lives in the 1920s. William remains the same age as history progresses throughout the series, the embodiment of perpetual boyhood. With his friends Douglas, Henry and Ginger (who all together are 'The Outlaw ...more
Rebecca McNutt
William is a hilarious character and his adventures are vibrantly written, fast-paced and interesting. This is a great book for all ages and certainly worth reading.
Alan
I've read just about all of the series, but this one can stand in for all of them. I read them when I was growing up (in the 60s) and they're utterly brilliant for kids and adults alike (I read one of the series 10 years ago). Maybe I liked it so much for two reasons - William was the mischevious kid I wanted to be, in charge of his own gang (The Outlaws); and I grew up in the countryside having similar adventures in brooks and streams and trees, although I was from a working class family and di ...more
Aditi
Not-so-sweet William raises hell in a sleepy little English village in the years before the first world war rocked England. Coming from a time when food is plenty, sweets are delicious (and cheap) and children spent all day outdoors dreaming about pirates and robbers, William is an archetypal image of boyhood. He also happens to be head of a gang called the Outlaws and local disturber of the peace. Richmal Crompton infuses her characters with a lot of humour and wry observations on adolescence a ...more
Pop Bop
Sly, Dry, Grave, and Very Funny, February 28, 2014


This isn't sitcom funny; this is humorous in a sly, observant, understanding and wise fashion. William's earnestness, gravity and complete lack of understanding of how the adult world works is balanced by the author's light and gracious touch and the result is a comedy of manners, youth, family and misunderstanding that is both rewarding and entertaining.

Pity William's mother and father, as well as his older sister and brother, as William miscons
...more
Kimberley
Being a mummy you have to read plenty of stories and this is one we originally found in audio form. Luckily I managed to find a copy for bedtime and other times I am demanded from my 4yr old to read to him. These wonderful stories, while dated are full of adventure and mischief but truely lovely.
Shruti
William's antics are hysterically funny. His imagination and inner world brings back my own childhood. I guffawed so hard, that my jaws were hurting by the end ... as the author says, I was "riotously and loudly amused".

However, her blatant chronological lapses and disjointed introduction of characters took away from the pleasure of the book. For example, Juggles (William's dog) is introduced early in the book, but the story of Juggles' adoption by William appears only towards the end of the bo
...more
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Whether it's a trip to the cinema, babysitting a youngster, being a page boy at a wedding, or running away from home to take a job below stairs, the 11-year old William Brown can always be relied on to create chaos and havoc wherever he goes. This short story collection (the first of 38 books) is a wonderful introduction to a classic character.

Having originally read the books perhaps 20 years ago, I picked up the boxed set of the first 10 of them at a bargain price (sadly no longer available) ea
...more
Alan Smith
The archetype of the self-centred, anarchistic, hell-raising pre-adolescent male is an honorable one. Think William George Bunter, Nigel Molesworth, Rex Milligan, or even Australia's own Greenbottle. But the greatest of them all was William Brown.

The creation of Richmal Crompton, the William stories first appeared in women's magazines (a fact that would have disgusted their hero, who would have scorned such a soppy route to fame) but soon grew to include a much wider audience.

William is the cla
...more
Barbra
I definately must be going back to my childhood. I read these books when I was a child and really enjoyed them then and I enjoyed this just as much now. A way of life that is now fast disappearing.

Back Cover Blurb:
No matter how hard William Brown tries, his school uniform always looks tatty and disreputable, he mangles the English language in his speech and writing, and he can never remember any of the rules he's supposed to be following. Along with his gang, the Outlaws, he spends his days cont
...more
Amanda Grange
Like all the best children's books, the William stories are just as enjoyable for adults, in fact sometimes more so. Take this, from The May King in More William: "William was frankly bored. School always bored him. He disliked facts, and he disliked being tied down to detail, and he disliked answering questions. As a politician a great future would have lain before him."

I don't remember if I read them as a child, but I bought some of the reissues recently after seeing the short TV series at Ch
...more
Jackie Ley
I haven't actually read any William books for years but they were an important means of introducing me to the sheer joy of reading and how it felt to enjoy a book that was 'laugh out loud' funny.
Felicity
A charming rather amusing book about the scrapes we get ourselves in to when we are children. William is brighter than the normal child and as a result successfully twists each situation to suit his needs! I particularly enjoyed the grammar story and the story of his aunt staying. Very funny in places but not the best children's book I've read. Maybe I needed to read this when I was younger?
Ray Hall
I really enjoyed Richmal Cromtons Just William stories.The way she constructs her stories and the laugh out loud humour she injects into each story is I'm sure a writer on the top of her form.Showing village life as it was then,Williams long suffering family and his gang the outlaws,this is a series to be enjoyed by all the family.Highly recommended.
Rich
Apr 30, 2015 Rich added it
Ok so it's been 39 plus years since I read this series so I'm not sure I'm up to a review .Happy memories though,..,
Sriraam Kalingarayar
I haven't laughed more reading any other book ... Or rather I have never laughed more doing anything else
Margaret
The hilarious goings-on of 11 year-old William, who likes to live life his way, although following instructions closely--("I wasn't playing Lions and Tamers, I was playing Tigers and Tamers") always getting into one outrageous scrape after another and trying the patience of every adult he comes in contact with. Arguing with eloquence is his strong suit and he is the little brother that no teenage sister or brother wants to have.

This rather reminds me of P.G. Wodehouse's stories, and written abo
...more
Nikki
I love this kind of book. It reminded me a lot of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy', one of my favourite books of all time. While Cedric is an angel and William is always up to no good, they're both so fundamentally innocent and endearing. 'Just William' was really funny all the way through, mostly because of Crompton's perfect way of describing things. Her choice of words is spot-on and makes these stories hilarious. I felt genuinely carefree and happy while reading this book, which is a very rare thing ...more
Unique
I laughed so hard reading this book I fell of my chair. Enough said?
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book review number four 1 6 Aug 22, 2014 09:52AM  
Looking for Just William 27 and 37 1 12 Mar 08, 2013 01:33AM  
  • Molesworth
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  • Before Lunch
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  • No Bed for Bacon
  • The Adventures of Gil Blas
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  • The Polyglots
  • Ordinary Jack (The Bagthorpe Saga, #1)
  • Titmuss Regained
  • England, Their England
  • Brewster's Millions
  • Uncle
  • Minnow on the Say
  • White Man Falling
  • A Hundred Million Francs (Le Cycle de Louvigny, #1)

Other Books in the Series

Just William (1 - 10 of 39 books)
  • More William (Just William, #2)
  • William Again (Just William, #3)
  • William the Fourth (Just William, #4)
  • Still William (Just William, #5)
  • William the Conqueror (Just William, #6)
  • William the Outlaw (Just William, #7)
  • William in Trouble (Just William, #8)
  • William The Good (Just William, #9)
  • William (Just William, #10)
  • William the Bad (Just William, #11)
More William (Just William, #2) William Again (Just William, #3) William the Outlaw (Just William, #7) William the Conqueror (Just William, #6) Still William (Just William, #5)

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