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Just William (Just William #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,987 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Martin Jarvis reads an unabridged version of Richmal Crompton's first novel about the rascally schoolboy William. There is only one William. This tousle-headed, snub-nosed, hearty, loveable imp of mischief has been harassing his unfortunate family for over 20 years. He's as famous over radio as he is in print. His name is a byword for irrepressible boyhood. His pranks are ...more
Published 2003 by BBC Childrens (first published 1922)
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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
Jul 27, 2008 Scurra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, fiction
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
Nov 21, 2010 Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2015 Sylvester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timing is everything. Squirt just happens to be a lot like a 3 yr. old version of William. My favorite bits were William's father shouting to his wife - "He's mad! He's mad, I tell you!" I know that feeling so well. The inner logic of a boy - utterly incomprehensible to the rest of us. So funny. Loved this book. The more I laugh at parenting, the better I feel.

Thanks to Mumzie who pointed this book out to me. :)
Not the Antichrist, though I suspect that Violet Elizabeth Bott has her doubts.
Oct 24, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Grange
Jul 07, 2011 Amanda Grange rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, humour
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
Feb 20, 2008 Abi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
When I finish a 1001 Children's Book You Must Read that is as wonderful as this book, I am happy to think I still have 408 more to read. William is a devil of a little boy, a Dennis the Menace, a Leave It to Beaver, a Henry Huggins. He drives his mother and father and sister and brother and aunt and cousin...everybody, in short, crazy with his antics.
This book about 11-year-old William is good but suffered from the fact that I had recently read Booth Tarkington's "Penrod" (also about an 11-year-old boy). Crompton's stories were just not quite as humorous or as charming. However, perhaps a Brit might feel the reverse to be true.

I also found it a bit odd that the final chapter was about finding Jumble when Jumble had played a significant role in the previous chapter and had been present in several of the earlier chapters as well.
Mightily amusing tales of the scrapes, trials, games, tribulations, and temptations of a young boy. Sometimes naughty, sometimes confused, sometimes thoughtless William is an endearing and frustrating little fellow. If he was real, he would be the most annoying child of anyone's acquaintance, but to read about him is good fun.
Mar 09, 2015 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
3.5* Kara Shallenberg did an excellent job narrating this book about 11-year-old William. In particular, I liked the pace of her narration.
Apr 08, 2017 BarbaraW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few of these books. Very funny. He's kinda like an early 20th century British 'Leave it to Beaver' character.
Pop Bop
Mar 14, 2014 Pop Bop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Dec 27, 2010 Zain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2017 Joaquin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. William is creative in his own mischievous way. If you are looking for trouble, he's got it.
Jun 28, 2012 Aditi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 16, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Jun 04, 2014 Brianht rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
A delightful book. I found it the first time when it was mentioned in an off hand manner in a Dick Francis mystery. I had never heard of William. I'm thrilled to have finally found him. Thank you Dick Francis! I'm glad that my book group seemed to enjoy it. One person commented that it was a bit like PG Wodehouse for kids. I get lots of laughs each time I read it. I laughed so hard this time that my husband picked it up to read. I'm looking forward to the other books in the series. Looks like I' ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic children's story with the irrepressible William Brown.

William is naughty, messy, dirty and the archetypal child from an age when children played outside from morning to night, and a trip to the sweet shop was the height of pleasure. William's middle class family and their domestic help are a bit dated now, but William's inability to follow rules and his constant stream of excuses are timeless, I enjoyed rereading this as much as I did the first time.
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.
Didn't quite reach the end of chapter 2. I didn't like the characters (except for Miss Cannon) and I don't get much amusement out of people doing stupid things.
Jul 12, 2017 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an entertaining audio book, its the first in the series and is a lot of fun. Martin Jarvis is a talented narrator who not only differentiates between the various characters but conveys the various emotions through his tone and voice. I like the fact that this is about children in a more innocent time when they were given more freedom and could be more independent. This is basically 10 short stories about William and his family and friends. I really liked this book and would recommend it ...more
Very funny. it's good to get to read a children's book in-between the adult books. The language of these older books does seem funny now 'gosh' I did like it and would read others. I can understand why these where a big hit in the days they were published, and I can understand people who read these as children, collecting them now. As this type of book are now classed as classic.
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book review number four 1 7 Aug 22, 2014 09:52AM  
Looking for Just William 27 and 37 1 17 Mar 08, 2013 01:33AM  
  • Ennui
  • Molesworth
  • The Harpole Report
  • No Bed for Bacon
  • Mister Johnson
  • My Search for Warren Harding
  • The Adventures of Gil Blas
  • Titmuss Regained
  • Tropic Of Ruislip
  • England, Their England
  • Fireflies
  • Brewster's Millions
  • Augustus Carp, Esq. By Himself Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man
  • Uncle
  • Jennings  Darbishire
  • White Man Falling
  • The Polyglots
  • Before Lunch
Richmal Crompton Lamburn was initially trained as a schoolmistress but later became a popular English writer, best known for her Just William series of books, humorous short stories, and to a lesser extent adult fiction books.

Crompton's fiction centres around family and social life, dwelling on the constraints that they place on individuals while also nurturing them. This is best seen in her depic
More about Richmal Crompton...

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)

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