Review by

The Ice Monster

Big daft woolly fun

London, 1899. Meet Elsie, the 10-year-old heroine of our tale. Recently escaped from Wormly Hall Orphanage, she’s about to embark on a transition from barefoot urchin to world famous adventurer, in less time than it takes to say “another fizzingly fabulous book from David Walliams.”

In this keenly awaited novel, Victorian London plays host to a perfectly frozen 10,000 year old woolly mammoth. How Elsie and the mammoth become embroiled in peril on the high seas (as well as the River Thames) makes for a gleefully daft read and a great gift for the kids in your life.

In true Dickensian style, Elsie’s time at Wormly Hall was ghastly, the unfortunate orphans’ existence being plagued by cockroach dinners, pus-ridden stockings, and chimney soot. After ten long years, Elsie managed to escape. Now impoverished but free, she is drawn to the wondrous Natural History Museum in South Kensington, and witnesses the grand unveiling of a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth.

This is where the story becomes electrifying in every way, as a Victor Frankenstein type character arrives on the scene, and the mammoth ‘…like the biggest cuddly toy in the whole wide world,’ assumes a more animated role.

This is a classic Walliams book. Funny, energetic, and with a well-judged dollop of sentimentality. The action moves from a brilliantly depicted Victorian London, to the icy tundras of the North Pole, with a large cast of characters.

Teamed with Tony Ross’ characterful illustrations, several historical landmarks play a role in the proceedings. You won’t believe what’s really been going on in the clocktower of Big Ben! Watch out too for the chilling Lady Buckshot. With her knee-high lace-up boots and cocked gun, she’s a big-game hunting villainess on a mission…boo hiss.

A great book to read aloud with your kids. Look forward to their delighted comments and questions.

‘A pair of ladies bloomers? What were they doing in a bishop’s pocket?’

A hoot.


The Ice Monster by David Walliams is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books, 496 pages.

See our reviews of David Walliams’ Bad Dad.

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