Friday, 27 December 2013
Review: Demon Dentist by David Walliams
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: September 26th, 2013
Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find… a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it…?
After recently reading Gangsta Granny I was quite eager to read more by David Walliams. He's funny, his books have great illustrations and children absolutely LOVE them. After reading my second book, Demon Dentist, I'm not a die-hard fan but I do want to read the rest of his back catalogue - always a good sign!
Demon Dentist, for me, is even better than Gangsta Granny. It's deceptively dark, gruesome and truly frightening when you deconstruct it. It's about a demon masquerading as a crazy dentist hellbent on ripping every child's entire mouthful of teeth out, leaving disgusting, vile 'gifts' under their pillow as a treat (like badger's paws and bat's wings, for example). I'm not sure how a younger reader would take this book, so it might be best to say it's for older children, maybe 10+. The illustrations are fantastically sinister, with Tony Ross perfectly capturing the grotesque Demon Dentist and her creepy cat, Fang.
As seems to be the case with David Walliams books, or at least the two I've read, they end on quite a sad note, which I find unusual for children's books. I don't know whether he's trying to teach kids a lesson about loss and grief, or prepare them for the inevitable, but it seems out of place, especially in Demon Dentist. I felt so sorry for Alfie, and I'm sure children reading it will, in some cases, be distraught!
This is a perfect book for me, thanks to its humour, horror theme and accompanying pictures. I like my children's books to be dark and disgusting wherever possible and, thanks to my lifelong phobia of the dentist, it seems Demon Dentist was written especially for me. I'm so glad I'm above the age when teeth are wobbly and fall out, because I would not like to go to bed thinking I'll wake up to find a horde of centipedes under my pillow. I hope kids don't lose much sleep after finishing this book!