The Summer of the Dinosaur by Willis Hall; ill. John Griffiths (Bodley Head, 1977) A middle-grade adventure that would have been excellent at half the length and with more attention paid to Henry and the dinosaur. Instead, Hall belabours the one-dimensional adults and their tiresome quirks. The ceaseless repetition in no way serves as actual humour.
Tag: Willis Hall
The Incredible Kidnapping
The Incredible Kidnapping by Willis Hall; ill. Quentin Blake (William Heinemann, 1975) A middle-grade comedy of incompetence, given to much running about and characters conversing in blissfully ignorant, wilful suspension of disbelief. The story is based on Hall’s play Kidnapped at Christmas and is easy to imagine playing out in that context. Gently amusing.
The Return of the Antelope
The Return of the Antelope by Willis Hall (The Bodley Head, 1985) Hall excels in depicting minor characters and incidental detail, yet there remains a largely untapped visual element to this children’s fantasy of Lilliputians who have ill-fatedly retraced Gulliver’s Travels back to England. The book reads like — and is — an adaptation from television.
42 Word Retrospective: The Last Vampire by Willis Hall
The Last Vampire by Willis Hall (The Bodley Head, 1982) A quintessentially middle-class English family encounters the last (vegetarian) vampire in this YA comedy of happenstance and misunderstanding. By fleshing out every character — even the wolves! — Willis Hall both draws attention to, and disabuses his readers of, the vampire tropes of legend.