Friday, 22 November 2013


David Walliams
London, HarperCollins, 2012, 317p

It is always an unusual sensation to finish a grotesque novel and be feeling slightly peckish.

Zoe has a pretty miserable existence. Her father is always at the pub feeling sorry for himself; her stepmother is mean and greedy; and her pet hamster had just died. So when she finds a baby rat in her room, she is quick to adopt him as her new friend, even though he will land her in a lot of trouble.

Ratburger is classic Walliams: cheeky and zany. The story is ridiculous, with Zoe coming up against a chef who makes burgers out of rats. And the characters are disgusting, particularly Zoe's stepmother, who chain-eats prawn cracker crisps. She is overweight and dirty, and Walliams' language made me want to gag.

The book is brilliantly illustrated by Tony Ross, who brightens up the pages with his characerisation. The whole book seems to have been thoroughly composed, with fonts manufactured to reflect the onomatopoeic dialogue.

For me, Walliams' stories are not incredibly original, but bring classic children's stories into the modern age. Much like Roald Dahl, I imagine these will be forever loved.

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