Just William (the series) by Richmal Crompton
Created: Sat Mar 20 14:48:28 2010 | Last modified: Sat Mar 20 14:48:28 2010
My first impression of Richmal Crompton books is when I picked up the title "William The Fourth" when I was still at school. I was, at that time, hooked on to Enid Blyton and it was primarily because of that that my father introduced me to Richmal Crompton's Just William books. Since then, a lot of time has passed and I lost interest in them for several years. Now recently I have rediscovered the joy of these books and I have started to collect them again.
To all those who don't know, William is a 11-year old boy who is the terror of his family and his little village. He is not angelic by any stretch of the imagination. Along with his band of "Outlaws", his three friends of similar age and stature, Ginger, Henry and Douglas, he indulges in all kinds of mischief which drive all those adults around him crazy! According to his father Mr. Brown, William is much worse when he is trying to be good, than when he is genuinely involved in doing mischief. That about says it all!
These books are full of short stories involving William's adventures with his Outlaws and his escapades with family members, neighbours and the village farmers whose fields they trespass with impunity. Full of humour, warmth and wit, Richmal Crompton is able to visualize the life of a healthy, fun-loving and mischievous boy with great talent. The setting is in rural England in the 1930s and there are also a lot of culture-specific humour, including the usage of the language and the local slang and so on.
Highly recommended for children and adults alike. There are totally 38 books in the series, though personally I feel that the earlier books in the series are better in originality and have a fresher "feel" to them. The later books have a vaguely repetitive feel to them which is, I think, quite natural. I give a 5/5 for the earlier books in the series and a 3/5 for the later books, simply because a lot of the later books tend to have repetitive themes and also rehash some of the storylines in the earlier books.
Here is a bibliography - a complete list of William books with the dates they were first published: