Title: Willy the Wimp
Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  Willy, the diminutive chimp, wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s no wonder the suburban gorillas call him Willy the wimp–until one day Willy answers a bodybuilding advertisement with hilarious results.

*Free copy provided (as part of the ‘Anthony Browne Collection’) by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting book which, on first glance, I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I now do. This special anniversary edition of the book is in paperback, about A4 in width and square in shape. Inside there are glossy, thick pages with colourful illustrations and text. ‘Willy the Wimp’ is a simple story which seems a bit silly but at the same time has a great message which may have been lost on a few reviewss I saw on Amazon some time ago. 😮

Willy the Wimp book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

Willy wouldn’t hurt anybody, not even a fly, but no matter what, the suburban gorillas still call him ‘Willy the Wimp’. Willy hates being called a wimp, and one day he reads an advert in a newspaper which promises to change everything. The book has such a simple story, Willy answers a body-building advert and follows all the rules to get fit and strong. The plot may seem simple and at first it seems silly that Willy goes through changes in order to deal with the gorillas, however, those that look at the book’s ending more carefully will realise that it’s a brilliant story of overcoming the bullies by doing something that makes you feel better and more confident, and feeling happy with who you are.

The illustrations in this book are good and funny and show the story well. Some of the illustrations do look a bit silly though such as the gorillas, who are body building. They look so silly that it made me laugh. (sorry I didn’t take a picture of that page :/ )

Willy the Wimp book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I do like the ending, there’s a very funny dialogue between Willy and Millie which itself made me laugh, and the last page is funny too! The ending is satisfying and I think plenty of kids will really enjoy this book. Whether they’ll get the subtle message in the story without an adult pointing it out though I’m not so sure, but this is definitely a book worth reading with kids, particularly those who may be dealing with self-confidence issues.

-Review first appeared online October 2017 – now republished here.


What do you think of this book?  Have you read any of the Willy the Chimp books?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂