Renee Mihulka – Children's Book Reviews & Writer

Awful Auntie

OVERALL: 4.5 4.5 Stars
awful auntie

Concept:4 Stars
Characters:5 Stars
Plot:4.5 Stars
Writing:4.5 Stars


David Walliams
Tony Ross
Harper Collins


Description: If you love Roald Dahl then you will love this book by David Walliams. Even the illustrations look the same and the main character Stella is very similar to Sophie in the BFG and the Aunt reminds me of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda. Walliams has the same sense of humour as Dahl and the same over the top depictions of adults. In Awful Auntie Stella wakes to find that both her parents have been murdered by her owl obsessed aunt and now her aunt is hell bent on forcing Stella to sign over the family mansion before she disposes of her too. The book is filled with outrageous situations and ridiculous scenarios that kids will enjoy which are complemented with the illustrations by Tony Ross.

Concept: The concept behind this book is a small orphan girl fighting for her family home and life against an all powerful adult, which is the concept behind many Roald Dahl books. It isn’t the concept that makes the book a good one, but rather the quirkiness of the characters and outrageousness of the plot.

Illustrations: As is the trend at the moment this book teems with illustrations that compliment the writing. Tony Ross’s illustrations remind me of those of Quentin Blake’s and there is no doubt that they bring the story to life.

Characters: It is hard not to love awful Auntie even when you are hating her and completely appealed by her behaviour. Her owl obsession is hilarious. Stella is the steadfast heroine and Soot a quirky, loyal sidekick. Gibbon the ancient butler provides comic relief and another layer of craziness. The characters are what make this book, you feel for Stella and Soot and alternately laugh and gasp at  Aunt Albert with her total lack of morals, single mindedness and inability to spell.

Plot: The plot is well thought out with some twists and turns that keep things moving and interesting. To keep the comparisons to Dahl going, I’m not sure Walliams’ plots are as tight and well put together, but they are still good.

Writing: As mentioned earlier, Walliams writes in a very similar way to Roald Dahl, with a few modern touches and he doesn’t make up as many words as Dahl tended to, at least not in this book. The writing is easy to read and humorous  and will appeal to both boys and girls.

PARENTS: This book will appeal to both boys and girls even though there is a female protagonist. It’s similar to the BFG by Roald Dahl in this way and so is a good one to give to boys to read. Also the many illustrations will appeal to kids, boys especially. I sometimes found the blatant viciousness and murderous inclinations of Aunt Alberta a bit confronting but I’m not sure kids would feel the same way about it. To them, it is just an us versus them situation, kids vs adults.

Things to ask and discuss:

1) When did you figure out there was something not quite right with the Inspector/detective that came to pay Stella a visit?

2) Why is Soot such an important character?

3) Did Aunt Alberta have any good qualities you can think of? Do you think that someone like her might actually exist?

4) Why did Wagner, Aunt Alberta’s Great Bavarian Owl, change loyalties?

Come on comment, you know you wanna.

Book Reviews and Writer