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The Boy in the Dress

by David Walliams
Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Published by U.S. edition: Razorbill, 2009
240 pages
ISBN: 978-1-595-14299-3

Ages 9 - 13

Twelve-year-old Dennis is fascinated by fashion. When he lets his appreciation for Vogue magazine slip out to Lisa, an older girl and aspiring fashion designer at his school, she invites him over to see her designs. It doesn’t take too much urging from Lisa for Dennis to try on her most recent creation. “He felt so happy that he wanted to dance.” The two hatch a hilarious plan for Dennis to attend school as Denise, Lisa’s French friend. Everything goes fine until Lisa’s French class, when they realize that French is a language neither Dennis nor Denise can speak. The ruse revealed, Dennis is ridiculed by fellow students and expelled by the humorless headmaster. At home, his puzzled and angry father confiscates the only picture Dennis has of his mother, who left two years before. But more than one surprising turnabout is in store in a novel that is both over-the-top and tender. Dennis’s genuine pleasure in cross-dressing is sensitively portrayed in the midst of a story full of quirky, entertaining characters and absurdly enjoyable scenarios, including a climactic soccer game in which Dennis and his teammates storm the field in drag. Illustrations by Quentin Blake capture the blithe spirit of David Walliams’s refreshing debut. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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