What’s the deal with Walliams, Allen and the like?

Some of my favourite childhood buddies lived up among the dense branches of a tree that went Wisha Wisha Wisha. Silky, Moonface, the Saucepanman and Dame Washalot. Eager to have the kids befriend them too I picked up this book at the Landmark store.

Blyton copy

Once I brought it home, however, I realised it wasn’t an Enid Blyton at all. It was written by Elise Allen.

I felt cheated.

I have to add here that I looked up Elise Allen and she’s done some pretty good work – she’s the lady behind shows like the Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid (Strongly recommend the Dinosaur Train if you have a dino-loving kid) and many more works that the children have enjoyed. So why should she do an Enid Blyton take off and why oh why should the book be packaged like an original?

Then again I stumbled upon David Walliams. Not only are the covers of his books replicas of Roald Dahl’s, he also has the same illustrator, Quentin Blake. He is a self-confessed Dahl fan and his writing style is quite the same too. He has the same mean-adult-pitted-against-the-child formula and has perfected Dahl’s craziness to a tee.



I have to admit I actually liked The Boy in the Dress (it beautifully challenged stereotypes and I recommend it for all 10-year-olds, specially boyish boys) but a lot of the others, Demon Dentist and Mr Stink for instance, are just too much like Dahl, minus his finesse, or so I thought. It might just be my bias speaking of course because each time I see his books my head screams ‘IMPERSONATOR’. The kids love him, though – the proof is in the fact that his books have made him into a gazillionire.

Sample this quote from one of his interviews:

“I had absolutely no hesitation in stealing this idea for my new children’s novel, Mr Stink, when introducing my characters. Nor was that the only thing I stole. I also stole Quentin Blake to illustrate my writing.”

He was nominated for the Dahl Funny Book Award and is hailed as the new Roald Dahl but the thing is why do we need a new one?

Then I chanced upon my niece reading a young adult fiction series by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series. Never one to be able to resist a book I picked it up only to find it was Hunger Games with a twist. A repressed majority, a strict caste system (like the districts in Hunger Games) and a bunch of girls drawn from the varied sections coming together at the King’s palace to vie for the Prince.


She loved it, though. She had the entire series on her bookshelf. And I’m not sure she’d like Hunger Games as much because this one pandered to her every adolescent girly instinct. Which just doesn’t seem fair to me. Not that it matters, since I am not exactly their target market.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Am I the only one stewing in annoyance? Is this set to be a trend that’s going to be loved and accepted just like remixed music or remade films?

17 Replies to “What’s the deal with Walliams, Allen and the like?”

    1. Fan fiction should have the same characters right? Or some connection to the original characters. These have none of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am not a fan of remix music and remade films. I am sure if I were in your place, I would have also felt cheated to find the cover page of the book with all the nuances of a Enid Blyton book turning out to be some other’s work. While Dhruv and I are a fan of Roald Dahl works and have read 3 of his books meant for Dhruv’s level, I have no idea what is the book scene for tweens and teens, hence can’t say about Hunger games and the likes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Anamika, I am not a fan of remixes and remade movies. I think, the original has a charm which must not be muddled with. I am not sure if I’d like a book to blatantly lift the original idea and just present it with a few cosmetic changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it. I disliked it too and it annoys me that the copy cats are so popular among the younger generation.


  3. Its very similar to the take of sidney sheldon by Tilly bagshawe. Ofcourse the title was different but it was projected as A Sidney Sheldon book….. And i did feel cheated. But this does seem to be trend and frankly i am not too impressed by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have encountered many such books and always felt cheated. In my opinion, it isn’t fair. I will look up the Dinosaur Train, Tulika, my kid loves dinosaurs and always picks up dinosaur books from his school library. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dinosaur Train is a set of CDs not books. But they’re interesting. I hope you find them. Let me know what your son thinks of them.


  5. I know what you mean. I had the same feeling when I read Sidney Sheldon’s After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe. She has Sheldon’s style of writing too and has even taken characters from his earlier books. I wonder, why she is using Sheldon’s franchise for her books. To continue the famous author’s name and legacy, may be. But yes, I felt cheated too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sadly, yes is the answer. And it’s not just this series (which I admit I had not read). You have fan fiction takes on Sherlock, James Bond, Jason Bourne and many others as well now. And very rarely do they live up to the original.


  7. I was wondering how I missed this post and then saw the date stamp. I was in hospital 😛

    Anyway, about the post. I have never understood the idea of re-hashed concepts and remixes. Be it music or books. I mean, to be inspired is one thing and to steal is something totally weird.

    Be original is my motto. Even if only 10 people read it, that’s fine. That’s 10 people who like original work. Why do you think my blog’s growth is like a turtle? Slow and steady 😉


  8. I think the publishers are equally at fault here. I had picked up a book by Sidney Sheldon but found out later that it was by someone else. It looked like the original and not noticible at one glance.


  9. It is a very rare fan-faction/remix/remake that makes the cut. Although, for diehard fans of a particular author/creator, the whole exercise seems superfluous. I know how you feel. Nevertheless, as you rightly mentioned, every author has a fan-base/target market and at the end of the day, if someone likes the remake more than the original, what can be done? There are book covers featuring well known author names on the cover preceded by the words “foreword by” in tiny print.

    Looks like everyone is actually happy, no? 🙂


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