Illustrated by Quentin Blake
This book is told from an outside narrator. This narrator tells Dennis' story, but he often talks directly to the reader. The story starts out with a description of Dennis' family. He lives with his dad and his brother, John in London, England. His mom left them a few years before and the boys are not allowed to talk about her anymore. Emotions are nonexistent in their family. The only time they hug is when their third-division soccer team scores a goal, which is not very often. The first chapter ends with,
So why was Dennis so different, I hear you ask? After all, this boy lived in an ordinary house, on an ordinary street, in an ordinary town.The coolest, most beautiful girl in Dennis and John's school takes a liking to Dennis after she finds out he reads Vogue. She makes him a dress and dresses him up as her French exchange student, Denise, and he goes along with it. When he accidentally loses his wig and everyone finds out Denise is really Dennis, he gets expelled. He eventually gets reinstated at the school when he finds out a secret about the headmaster.
Well, I'm not going to tell you why yet, but the clue might be in the title of this book... (p. 19).
This book is one of the 2011 Stonewall Book Awards recipients. The award is sponsored by the American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table for books with exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.
|A Sikh boy wearing a patka.|
it would be boring if we were all the same wouldn't it?After Dennis gets expelled for wearing a dress to school, his friend Darvesh comes to his house to talk to him. He says,
It certainly would. Dennis smiled. (p. 65)
It doesn't bother me you know. You're still Dennis, my mate, with or without the dress. (p. 179)I think this book had a great message of being true to yourself and just doing what makes you happy.
In the "Thanks yous:" in the back of the book, the author, David Walliams, says "and my sister Julie for dressing me up in the first place." So maybe this book is actually about his own experiences as a child.
|Blake's illustrations in The Boy in the Dress|
|Blake's illustrations of the Oompa Loompas.|