Down with Skool

Nov 15, 2008

As any fule kno one of the funniest children’s books ever written was this. I only had a tatty paperback reprint until the other day when I found this first edition from the mid 1950s unnoticed and unloved in a local charity shop.


Other books in the seies are “Whizz for atomms”,”How to be topp” and “Back in the jug agane”. Author and former teacher Geoffrey Willans died in 1958 at the age of 47.

Although I have collected/read/sold/destroyed comics for over 40 years I’ve never made any particular effort to visit blogs and websites run by the comic creators themselves. (Although I did visit Steve Gerber’s blog regularly in the last year of his life and for a time I looked at Mark Evanier’s extensive ouevre and that’s about it.) Quite by chance today I found myself in the middle of Todd Klein’s blog. That is a name I have seen regularly for the last 30 years or so as a letterer of umpteen (how many I wonder) comics. It was nice to find out more about the person and personality that until today was just a name. Amongst Todd’s hobbies and interests is collecting children’s novels. In fact he seems to be an authority on the subject. I wonder if he is familiar with this book? 



6 Responses to “Down with Skool”

  1. toddklein Says:

    Actually, I’m not, though I know the work of cartoonist Ronald Searle. Looks like a good read!


  2. themagicrobot Says:

    Hi Todd
    I only just glanced through your blog the other day and will re-visit to download your pdf file of books you recommend. As I said above its great to put a face (and a person) to what was just a name in a comic. At least your comics actually GAVE credits to letterers etc. I have only just recently discovered the names of ARTISTS for some of the UK comics I bought in the 1960s!!
    The “Down with Skool” book was unique in its time for its anarchic spelling. Supposedly written by the (public) schoolboy Molesworth with phrases like:-
    “Gosh chiz this is molesworth 2 my bro he is utterly wet and a weed it panes me to think i am of the same blud.”
    I will send you my spare copy so you can see what I mean. The book was actually first published in 1953 after having been serialized as “The Diaries of Molesworth” in “Punch” magazine.

  3. Lee Says:

    There are 4 Molesworth books,of which this is the first,republished a few years back in one volume by Penguin I think… Ronald Searle is more famous for St Trinians but Molesworth is classic too. The various descriptions of the School Piano never fail to get me laughing!

  4. toddklein Says:

    Thanks very much for sending me your paperback edition! I’ll enjoy reading it when I have a chance, and will review it on my blog then.


  5. themagicrobot Says:

    You’re welcome Todd. Today I’ve been reading the (DC/Wildstorm/America’s Best Comics) “Top 10 Season Two” #2 which has your input. Comics do the “suspension of disbelief” thing so well. A talking house ?!!? Along with “The Age of the Sentry” with its homage to the wackier Silver Age comics its my current favourite.

  6. […] few months ago someone known only as “The Magic Robot” linked to my site in an article on this humorous British schoolboy book from the 1950s. I’d […]

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