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Down With Skool!

(Molesworth #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  54 reviews
112 pages
Published (first published 1954)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  451 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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As any fule kno this is the BEST book ever!

N. Molesworth M. Rayner

Sum peeple e.g. Nott ahem ahem say this book haz bean fogottin this is NOT TREW iff you want an eggsample just luk at the Wikkipeadier page for me Nigel Molesworth you will sea I invented Hogwarts skool ov weedy wet Harry Potter and girl swot Hermione Granjer chiz chiz say no moar.
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Another foray into the category that is "Books I read as a child". I read this as part of "The Compleet Molesworth" which collects all four Molesworth books into one.

I wonder what a child of today would make of Molesworth? Even when I was growing up, in the 1970s, this 1950s depiction of boarding schools felt dated. An arcane world of Latin, Trig, Chizz, etc. That said, there was, and is, something wonderful about N. Molesworth's comic musings. The splendid illustrations by Ronald Searle, the i
Ivonne Rovira
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Fiona, Delee's Scottish friend
I teach school, which means that I am forever being serenaded with laments of how much better education was in some bygone era. Students were more respectful; students were more intelligent; most of all, students were more devoted to learning.

These experiences provide me just one more reason to love Down with Skool! Geoffrey Willans’ book purports to be the extended description by one young Nigel Molesworth of his English boarding school, St. Custard’s. Published in the 1950s, Down with Skool! p
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Molesworth 1, the curse of st. custard's. As everbode kno, st. custard's is uterly wet and weedy, but of course that is the same with all skools. Best bit: skool food, or the piece of cod which passeth understanding. ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a particular strain of British comic prose that reached its zenith in the late 1940s, early 1950s; no less surreal than the later Spike Milligan and Monty Python, it was satire that came out of harsher economic times, so the background is always a bit shabby, worn out, held together by string. Maurice Richardson, J.B. Morton and W.E Bowman were three of its finest exponents...

Geoffrey Willans was another master. This is the first 'Molesworth' book ('Molesworth' ought really to be written
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, comedy
First read while I was at skool (hem hem) these are books that I return to time and time again and they never disappoint. The adventures of our narrator Nigel Molesworth, the curse of St Custards and his skool chums (chiz, chiz). So funny and still so relevant. Mrs Grabber's speech (a woman as young as she is attractive) at sports day never fails to make me laugh out loud, "Cor strike a light". Five stars as any fule kno. ...more
Funny school guide. Although set in a british boarding school of the 50's there is still a lot of things which are familiar. The entire book however is written in broken english which can get annoying at times.
Overall pretty enjoyable and strangely subversive. I never would have thought that this was written in the 50's, seems much more like a product of the early 70's.
Catherine Robertson
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-genius
Grabber - winner of the Mrs Joyful prize for rafia work. Just one treat among many.
This is the kind of humour I only enjoy for 2-3 pages. After that I'm bored and can't really laugh about it anymore. ...more
A satirical expose of British prep. school (particularly a boarding school in this instance), Willans and Searle's Molesworth would be worth of reintroduction in today's Private Eye. Rich with appalling spelling from our narrator and writer, coupled with hopeless teachers and vaguely foggy parents, it is an over-the-shoulder view of many junior and secondary school experiences. Lessons which seem to bear little meaning, and Masters who seem more sadistic and cynical than most of the villains out ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
First encountered Molesworth the 'goriller of 3B' aka 'the curse of st custard's' as quite a small child who desperately wanted to go to St Trinians as Mallory Towers seemed rather too earnest and full of sporty types like Darrell Rivers. Molesworth is the complete antithesis of all the goody-goody schoolboy heroes such as Tom Brown and of a far greater criminal tendency than even Jennings. He also benefits from the wonderful line drawings of Ronald Searle allowing us, his adoring audience an in ...more
Michele Brenton
If you have never read one of the Skool books whilst sitting on the loo - you have never lived!
Very funny, I read most of the Molesworth books as a kid. Definitely not moldy chizz! I learned never to annoy the skool dogg or hide the beke's bottle of bere or eat the skool sossiges and that Peason sez helo trees, helo sky, helo berds and has the Misses Joyful Prize for Raffia work.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I just loved these Nigel Molesworth books when I was young. A nice counterpoint to all the Enid Blyton prigs.
Suzanne Moore
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Down with Skool, is the first in a series of books about Nigel Molesworth the terror of St. Custard's Boys School.

Geoffrey Willans and illustrator Roger Searle worked together on a comic diary of Molesworth's school escapades for Punch magazine from 1939 to 1942. Down with Skool was their first published book (1953), which became so popular that several books followed before Willans died suddenly of a heart attack. Willans a former headmaster, and quite possibly a young prankster in his early y
Stef Rozitis
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-novel
Bits of it were really funny but I think my dad got the humour more (seeing he went to a school more like that)

The reification of the types of masculinity in the culture of an all boy's school was the worst thing. It poked gentle fun at school (some aspects of it) but played right into sexism and homophobia with some of the jokes and seemed to really be saying that type of schooling is a good thing - there was no critical substance.

It's just humour I guess you could say but as me, a girl in Aust
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: funny, childhood
First published in 1953 - an enjoyable childhood read. The deliberate spelling mistakes were amusing back then, but sadly prophetic of modern day standards.
Tim Julian
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First of the immortal Molesworth tetralogy as any fule kno. I must have been 9 or 10 when I first read this, and though I've read it countless times in the intervening half-century it still makes me snort with laughter and there are bits I had forgotten among the chunks I recall perfectly. A perfect marriage of comic writing and drawing. ...more
Alex Ankarr
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, silly, funny
Blimmin' adore this forever. Go on, laugh your socks off. ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
So completed Down With Skool! (Molesworth #1) by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle. This was one of the recommendations I got here when I requested for school story recommendations last year. I started it 6 months back but put it down after one chapter. It seemed so different from anything I have read. For one it does not have a story as such - it is more like random jottings on various aspects of school by a school boy. The other thing is the language - it is full of wrong spellings and gramma ...more
Danielle McClellan
Nov 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Read this British classic after listening to a rousing conversation about it on my favorite podcast, Backlisted. I have learned about some terrific books through this podcast, my favorite being A Month in the Country. This was fun, quite dark children's book but clearly a cultural treasure that does not necessarily translate to an American reader (at least this American reader). I did enjoy the sly humor and the illustrations. A quick read. ...more
Sarah Tipper
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I last read this about thirty years ago, aged ten. It’s a charming book and very readable today.
Molesworth senior is a great guide to all that happens at St Custard’s school and all who labour in her. You can’t help feeling a certain warmth towards all the masters, parents and fellow students he describes to us. The illustrations are magnificent.
Wendelin St Clair
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Once you get used to the the odd orthography and peculiar punctuation, which takes no time at all, it's brilliant. Being from 21st century New Zealand and never having attended a public school, I'm sure at least 42% of the jokes went over my head, and most of the satire was lost on me, having never encountered the originals. I still enjoyed it immensely. ...more
Russell Mark Olson
If my review were based on text alone, I'd have to give this book a 4/5, but Ronald Searle's illustrations are so absolutely wonderful that they alone would give the book a 5/5. Searle is the greatest. ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: awful
It was just too hard to read. I was spending too much time trying to figure out what the misspelled words were. It is an older book as well and many times books lose their meaning over time, which is what think happened here.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Cheeky fun. Illustrations by Ronald Searle, whose St. Trinnian's cartoons are much funnier. This is cute, but tiresome, an recommended only to huge fans of mid-20th-century British school stories and completist League of Extraordinary Gentlemen psychos. ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ronald Searle's artwork really makes this book. Much better than the St Trinnies series. ...more
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
One of my favourite humorous books when I was about the age of the main character. It's that absurd, occasionally cynical British humour that you either love or you completely don't get. ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Very funny with delightful cartoons. Very well observed. I'll probably end up coming back and upping it to five stars. But maybe I'm not quite public school enough. ...more
Joshua Blair
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read this in one sitting, and while it might have been funnier if I had grown up in English schools in the early 20th century, it was still fantastic. Brilliant illustrations, too.
Christina Packard
A British schoolboy book is just not my type of humor.
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Herbert Geoffrey Willans was an English author and journalist, is best known as the co-creator, with the illustrator Ronald Searle, of Nigel Molesworth, the "goriller of 3b and curse of St. Custard's".

He was educated at Blundells School, Tiverton, and became a schoolmaster there. Molesworth first appeared in Punch in the 1940s and was the protagonist and narrator of five books, beginning with 1953

Other books in the series

Molesworth (5 books)
  • How to Be Topp
  • Whizz for Atomms
  • Back in the Jug Agane
  • The Lost Diaries of Nigel Molesworth

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