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review 2018-12-27 03:25
Boarding school satire
Molesworth - Geoffrey Willans,Ronald Searle

The Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (co-creator and illustrator) had been on my TRL for ages. I was intrigued by the illustrations that were depicted on the cover and its comparison to my dear Roald Dahl. This is a classic children's series (bound together in its entirety here) about a boy named Nigel Molesworth who narrates his time in a boy's boarding school called St. Custard's. Willans captures the spirit of boyhood in a private boarding school especially well owing to his being a Headmaster himself. (This is even funnier once you get to know Headmaster Grimes who is particularly fond of the cane.) This book is replete with bad spelling (evidenced in the title) and absolutely stunning illustrations by Searle who was a satirical cartoonist (perfect for this series). Molesworth and his buddies get up to many hi-jinks and shenanigans which are generally instigated by our hero. Amidst all of this tomfoolery Willans and Searle have taken jabs at the inequalities of the classes by showcasing the Head Boy Grabber as only being placed in such a prestigious position because his parents shell out lots of money. (The Headmaster is greedy and generally does all he can to cut corners most notably with the selection of food offered to the students.) If you can get used to the bad spelling, grammatical errors, made-up slang, and seemingly arbitrary abbreviations for everything you will see why this has held up as a true children's classic. It's witty, cutting in its bluntness, and in general everything I hoped it would be. 10/10


Source: Amazon.co.uk


I wanted to give a little taste for the delights that await you.


What's Up Next: Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson


What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2014-08-30 12:17
August #Bookadayuk – Day 30
Jennings' Diary (Jennings' series) - Anthony Buckridge
The Compleet Molesworth - Geoffrey Willans,Ronald Searle
St. Clare's: Books 1- 6 (St. Clare's Collection) - Enid Blyton
First Term at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton
The Chalet School in Exile - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer



It’s been a very long time since I was last in school (1981 according to the damning photographic evidence posted earlier this month), but as a child and a teenager I loved reading books which were set in schools. And they were even better if they were set in boarding schools. It seemed worlds away from my village primary school and the terrifyingly large comprehensive school I attended.

From Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and St Clare’s series of books set in a girls’ boarding school in England, to The Chalet School, which was unbelievably exotic being set in places like Switzerland or Austria, I devoured these books.

And I didn’t just stick to girls’ schools. Anthony Buckridge’s Jennings books are about two English grammar school boys and their classmates. These were written and set in the 1940s, and while the language might be dated (fossilized fish-hooks!), these stories of teenage boys doing what teenage boys do best (i.e. causing mayhem with the best of intentions), are delightful.

For instance, Jennings and his best friend Darbishire (this is 1940s England, surnames only please) decide to publish a school magazine and have a couple of competitions. One of their friends submits a poem called 'Break Break Break' (you may have heard of it). Jennings reads it and says, "I don't suppose Wordsworth and Tennyson and all that lot would think much of it, but it's not bad for a chap of twelve". After much confusion and accusations of plagiarism, it turns out that their friend had actually entered the handwriting competition and not the poetry competition.

And then there’s Molesworth. Another candidate for the ‘best pairing of words and pictures’ challenge, these books by Geoffrey Willans, and illustrated by Ronald Searle are hilarious (as any fule kno).

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review 2013-09-09 00:00
Down with Skool!: A Guide to School Life for Tiny Pupils and Their Parents - Geoffrey Willans This is the kind of humour I only enjoy for 2-3 pages. After that I'm bored and can't really laugh about it anymore.
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review 2013-05-02 00:00
Down with Skool! (Armada Lions) - Geoffrey Willans;Ronald Searle Another foray into the category that is "Books I read as a child". I read this as part of "The Compleet Molesworth" which collects all four Molesworth books into one.

I wonder what a child of today would make of Molesworth? Even when I was growing up, in the 1970s, this 1950s depiction of boarding schools felt dated. An arcane world of Latin, Trig, Chizz, etc. That said, there was, and is, something wonderful about N. Molesworth's comic musings. The splendid illustrations by Ronald Searle, the incessant misspellings, the ongoing fight against the teachers, and (my personal favourite) fotherington-tomas (""Hullo clouds hullo sky hullo sun"). All of it evokes a lost world of canings, school caps, the remnants of a classical education, masters, bulies, gurls, cads, sops, oiks, parents, and even the skool dog. The book concludes with Molesworth's masterly short story about the Prunes uprising.

As a bit of light relief, and a trip down memory lane, I really enjoyed it. Genuinely funny, although perhaps you had to have enjoyed it as a child?
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review 2010-08-21 00:00
The Compleet Molesworth (Folio Society) ... The Compleet Molesworth (Folio Society) - Geoffrey Willans, Ronald Searle Howling funny book on school life. Every teacher dreads Molesworth and for good reason. Some of the slang is a bit confusing to figure out, but this one is worth it to read. Originally published as four books, and illustrated by Roald Searles.
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