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The Boy In The Dress Fixed

David The Boy In The Dress is a children's book written by David Walliams and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It is the first book by Walliams, a television comedian best known for the cult BBC show Little Britain. It tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy called John and a twelve-year-old boy called Dennis who is encouraged by a rebellious friend to dress up as a girl, and the reactions of his family, friends and school.[1][2] It is aimed at readers aged eight to twelve,[3] and has been adapted into a television film and a musical.

The Boy in the Dress

David Walliams noted that The Boy In The Dress is personal to him as it draws on the experiences of his childhood.[4] When he was a child, his sisters would dress him up and he played many female roles in school. [4]

The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Dennis and his 14-year-old brother John. The boys remain with their father, who resorts to comfort eating after his wife leaves. Dennis is talented in football and is one of the best on his team. However, he deeply misses his mother, who left their family about five years ago, and finds comfort remembering his mother's yellow dress in an old picture. Dennis sees the same dress on the cover of a Vogue magazine and buys a copy from Raj, the local shop owner. But when Dad finds the magazine, he is furious and forces Dennis to throw it away, while John teases him by calling him "Denise". At school that day, Dennis is given detention for kicking a football through an office window. While in detention, he talks to a girl named Lisa James, the prettiest and most fashionable girl in the school. Lisa invites him over to her house, showing Dennis her collection of Vogue magazines and dressing him up in girls' clothing. The two decide to go out in public, with Dennis in an electric blue dress, under the alter ego of "Denise", a French exchange student who speaks very little English. They go to Raj's corner shop. Raj does not recognise Dennis, believing he is "Denise". Later on, they meet a friend of Lisa's named Mac, and he was so impressed by "Denise" that he asks "Denise" on a date, not knowing that it was actually Dennis. Following their success in fooling Raj and Mac, Dennis goes to school with Lisa as "Denise".

In French class, the teacher starts speaking to Dennis in French (which he does not understand), and he ends up criticizing her French accent as a last resort, upsetting her in the progress. At breaktime, Dennis attempts to kick a football, slips, and his disguise falls off. Mr Hawtrey, the headmaster, gets furious and expels him from the school for cross-dressing, forcing Dennis to miss out on playing in an important football match. Dad is enraged and sends Dennis to his room. Darvesh, Dennis's best friend, comes over but is sent back to his home by Dad. Later in the night, Lisa climbs up to Dennis's window and promises him that she'll find a way to get him back in school.

Later on, Dennis returns the dress to Lisa and thanks her for "opening his eyes". For a moment, he contemplated confessing his profound affection for Lisa, but in the end, he doesn't and leaves it at "I'll tell you when I'm older". On the way home, Raj informs Dennis that Mr. Hawtrey's sister, Ms. Doris, now buys the Telegraph instead of him and adds that there is "something funny about her". Lisa and Dennis go to Raj's shop the next morning and find out that Ms. Doris is actually Mr Hawtrey cross-dressing in a skirt. The two threaten that unless Dennis is readmitted to the school, they would tell everyone about Mr Hawtrey's cross-dressing habits. Mr Hawtrey gives in and agrees to reinstate Dennis.

Reviewers and the press noted the book's resonance with Walliams's own cross-dressing.[3] As a child, his sisters would dress him up, and he would often act as a female character in school plays.[5] Philip Ardagh in the Guardian noted the novelty of Walliams's light-hearted approach to the themes, compared with treatments in earlier children's books on the subject like Terence Blacker's 2004 title Boy 2 Girl.[6] Nicolette Jones in the Times praised Blake's illustrations and, though she called Walliams' writing "not the finest", noted "Everyone is on the side of freedom and tolerance by the end, for which the book must be applauded."[2]

Dennis's father tells him "No more Small England, or whatever it is": a reference to a television programme previously co-written and co-performed by Walliams. French teacher Miss Windsor cuts short a school detention, hoping to get home in time to watch Neighbours, although in America this reference is changed to The Young and the Restless. On page 104, it is mentioned that Lisa has a purple dress she'd copied from one she'd seen Kylie Minogue wear at an awards do.

However, transformation can happen in the most unexpected places. In Raj's newsagent, a fashion magazine seems to be calling Dennis - can it be that Kate Moss is really telling him that it's okay for boys to like Vogue? Aided by Lisa, the coolest girl in the school, Dennis creates a whole new persona and puts it to the ultimate test - but can a boy wear a dress, and what will the headmaster, his dad and his friends on the football team think if they find out?

Dennis feels different - an ordinary boy in an ordinary house in an ordinary street, playing football with his mates and living with his dad and brother, but frustrated by the boring grey world he inhabits. Life has never really been the same since his mum left. However, transformation can happen in the most unexpected places. Aided by Lisa, the coolest girl in the school, Dennis creates a whole new persona and puts it to the ultimate test - but can a boy wear a dress, and what will the headmaster, his dad and his friends on the football team think if they find out?

This book is superb! I'm a believer of reading to your child each night and David Williams writing keeps not only my son engaged but myself too. So much so I had to put my son to bed an hour earlier, as neither of us wanted to put the book down and my son was annoyed he would fall asleep during it and had missed some bits LOL the boy in the dress opened up discussions with my son and I about empathy, feelings and friendships which saw davesh not caring what he wore he was always his best f...

David Walliams is a very famous comedian, he iis so funny, and now is writing books! The boy in the dress is the most fab book ever! I loved how he wore dresses, and fooled everyone, even his best friend about being a girl. Dennis thought boy clothes were boring and dull, but girls clothes were bright, fun and sparkly. His Dad isnt very nice, though the ending was heartwarming. This book is a m a z i n g, David has to write more books!

It was another, equally camp character who provided the inspiration for the original book. When, 11 years ago on Little Britain, Walliams started cavorting around in a dress as the rubbish transvestite Emily Howard and exclaiming in the most unconvincing manner, "I'm a lady!", little did the performer know that this over-the-top sketch-comedy character would spawn a children's literature phenomenon.

Plonking himself down in a seat next to me in the stand, Walliams takes up the story. "I was inspired to write The Boy in the Dress in 2008 by a real boy who went to school dressed as Emily Howard. He sent me a letter about it and then queued to meet me outside the Manchester Apollo after a Little Britain gig.

"He said to me, 'I don't know if you remember me, but I'm the boy who goes to school dressed as Emily Howard.' I replied, 'I do remember you, and I'm very glad you do that. It's really brave of you.'"

Walliams, whose big break came with Little Britain in 2003, continues: "That started me thinking, 'What if I wrote a story about a boy who feels different from everyone else and wants to express that by going to school in a dress? Wouldn't that make a really interesting children's book?'

But for all his well-documented love of cross-dressing, Walliams is quick to point out that The Boy in the Dress is not autobiographical. "It's not about my own childhood. It's more a fantasy of how I would have liked my life to have been back then.

Fifty-three-year-old Syal, who is currently starring in Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre, carries on that, "What David has done for younger readers is not dissimilar to what JK Rowling did. He has a massive following among the under-11s. He just knows how to write for children. I can't think of anyone else who could have got a story about a boy in a dress into the mainstream.

Saunders thinks this is the most appropriate time of year to show The Boy in the Dress because, "It's a proper family sit-down. It appeals equally to adults and children. It's an hour of colourful, bright, cartoony fun. It already feels like a Christmas tradition. Spend your Christmas with David Walliams and a boy in a dress.

I just had an idea for a story - what would happen if a boy went to school dressed as a girl? I thought it would make a good children's book as it was a story about children. I wanted it to be about the hypocrisy of grown-ups too, which is so frustrating when you are a child.

The Boy in the Dress is an unusual and brilliant book. From its beautiful purple cover with silver sparkly writing to its pencil drawings by Quentin Blake, this is quite a special book. We soon learn about Dennis, the main character, who is twelve years old and lives with his father and older brother. He misses his mum, longingly peeking at the one photo he still has of her, when they were a happy family, on the beach and she was wearing a pretty yellow dress.

Although the word transvestite is never mentioned, it's fair to assume that Dennis certainly has leanings in that direction. He's definitely not gay though, which I was pleased about, as the one transvestite I have known wasn't gay either. It's a common misconception that blokes wearing a dress want to be women, so they fancy men. Not true. There are definite distinctions between being a transsexual, transvestite and being gay. 041b061a72


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