Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just William (Just William, #1)” as Want to Read:
Just William (Just William, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Just William

(Just William #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  5,032 ratings  ·  219 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. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 1990 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1922)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Just William, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Peter Yes! I loved both the Jennings books and all the William books when young and still love them now. Happy memories of being lost in a book and those ti…moreYes! I loved both the Jennings books and all the William books when young and still love them now. Happy memories of being lost in a book and those times when I literally cried with laughter. Give yourself a new year treat and read Just William.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,032 ratings  ·  219 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Just William (Just William, #1)
Elizabeth
Jul 03, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: Parents, kids, fans of vintage children's books
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Neil Gaiman
Shelves: fiction
I thought this was remarkably ageless. Written in 1922, Crompton details the antics of a very curious, very original little boy who terrorizes his family while thinking he's helping. I picked up this book because Neil Gaiman said that it was the inspiration for Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch on my podcast. I ended up enjoying it thoroughly and even reading it to my daughter. It was charming and fun. ...more
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
Majenta
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very funny. But William got at the stories and put them a little out of order, didn't he? See what you think. Or just read it and enjoy. ...more
Graham
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, humour
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
Scurra
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Manny
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Not the Antichrist, though I suspect that Violet Elizabeth Bott has her doubts.
Sylvester
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. :)
...more
Amanda Grange
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Abi
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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. ...more
Nigel
Classic, timeless tales of the incorrigible William. Read to my 8 and 10 year old, who loved it. Some very grown up language in these books (with regards to phrasing and vocabulary, not inappropriateness!), which is likely the main reason they are not still best sellers for 9-12 yo
Wreade1872
First off in the version i read there seemed to be a chapter out of order, i would read the chapter titled 'Jumble' after 'The Show' for maximum making sense :) .

There's nothing new under the sun. In terms of old english characters while Billy Bunter is distinctly Eric Cartman, William Brown is very much Bart Simpson, (maybe a a tiny bit less evil though).

Its episodic fare nothing in the way of overarching story but the humour really doesn't age, its good stuff. Not much else to say really, a l
...more
Leslie
3.5*
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.
...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kaethe by: Neil Gaiman
The basis for the main joke in Good Omens. I have been meaning to read it forever, but it isn't found much around and I didn't try until watching Good Omens.

To the good, William is a serious pain in the ass to his family and much of the village. He isn't cute or charming. But Jumble is established as already being his dog in the penultimate chapter and then the last chapter is William meeting Jumble, which is awkward.

I do get it now, and I am sorry there wasn't more of Adam being a chaotic torm
...more
Yibbie
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Kitty
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is great, and VERY funny. It's about a boy called William Brown, also known as Just William, and all the funny mischief he and his friends get up to.😂😂 I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh. ...more
Phil
Mar 09, 2015 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
...more
Kirsty
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, july-2018
I didn't read Just William as a child because I thought they would be too boyish, but having read and adored several of Richmal Crompton's adult books, I was more than intrigued by the series. Just William is told almost in a series of short stories, all of which feature the mischievous eleven-year-old William Brown, along with various friends and family members. I wish I had read this when I was younger; it is terribly amusing, and difficult to put down. A couple of the stories were familiar to ...more
Lindley Walter-smith
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Pamela
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Emily.Lynch
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Just William took me a while to get into; the language is quite old fashioned and that put me off the book for a long time, but when I got started the stories were so funny and clever I couldn't put them down.
When I first read the blurb I imagined these stories would be a lot like horrid Henry, but wow, (no offence horrid Henry) they are so much better! They are cleverly written and funny, and will leave you laughing out loud at the bravery of William. Recommended
...more
Laurel Hicks
That boy!
Chloë
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just William was a course read for a module on children's literature. I had not heard of this series of books before starting it, so had very little idea of what to expect going into it.

The book contains twelve chapters, each a different story of around twenty pages in length. Overall, there were surprisingly enjoyable moments throughout the book and also some nice imagery and phrasing that I quite liked. However, the format of the stories quickly became predictable and I grew tired of how repet
...more
Pop Bop
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Zain Mirza
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Cheryl
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tedious. No redeeming qualities. Maybe it appeals to the same ppl who like Three Stooges?

I guess it was good at the time because it let the boy be wild, without any lesson to be learned, as most stories then were full of lessons... but now all I see is the destruction, the wanton heartlessness & self-centeredness, the lack of depth or resonance.

Our world needs fewer holy terrors and more people with consciences. More compassion, more good citizenship, more community. If you must read about a g
...more
Clare
I received this book as a freebie from Audible.

11 year old William is a real personality. A clever, loveable, charming child. However William cannot help being naughty, and feels he is not understood by his parents or adults in general.

Just William is a collection of 12 short stories. My favourite stories are William in white satin - when William is a page at a wedding. William's New Years day - The owner of a sweet shop asks William is asked to look after his shop until the owners nephew return
...more
Alan
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy
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
Aditi
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book review number four 1 7 Aug 22, 2014 09:52AM  
Looking for Just William 27 and 37 1 18 Mar 08, 2013 01:33AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Stig of the Dump
  • The Luck of the Bodkins
  • Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
  • Cargo: Leine Basso Thriller #5
  • Wild Strawberries (Barsetshire, #2)
  • Hailstone Mountain (The Erling Skjalgsson Saga)
  • The Railway Children
  • Skysteppers: World Book Day 2021
  • Vet in a Spin
  • Blithe Spirit
  • Biggles Learns To Fly
  • The Valley of Lost Secrets
  • The School for Scandal
  • Biggles Flies East
  • Service With a Smile
  • The Wind in the Willows
  • Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
  • Collateral Damage
See similar books…
See top shelves…
139 followers
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

Other books in the series

Just William (1 - 10 of 40 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)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
36 likes · 5 comments