Review: His Name Was Walter

Wow, wow, WOW.

This book is brilliant. I loved it so much. I think it is up there with one of the cleverest books I’ve read, and I would say my new all time favourite middle grade book. It is original and engaging and incredibly clever, like actual genius, in terms of story elements and things that make it all click together. It consists of a story within a story – two plot lines in two separate times.

Side note: This is probably not my best written review, as it’s a little gushy and incoherent, but this is what this book made me do. So apologies in advance.

The story begins when a school bus breaks down and a few kids (and a teacher) are waiting around for a taxi to take them to the nearest town. While they wait, they go up to this old house on a hill to wait out a storm that has started. Colin is the protagonist and has just moved from the country as his family had to sell up, so he is a bit of a loner. The other three kids and the teacher aren’t friends either, but all barriers come down quickly as they soon realise this house isn’t all it seems.

They discover an old writing desk with a secret drawer and a hand written and illustrated book in it which they take turns reading. This book becomes a second story in its own and is told in a fairytale rhyme and follows a young orphan boy Walter as he makes his way through the world. This book also happens to be described as the exact cover of THIS book and is called ‘His Name Was Walter’ . It has a world with animals that talk, witches and shape shifters… but Colin and the others start to realise the more they read, the more familiar and true it becomes…. and that maybe it isn’t as far fetched as it all seems. Walters story has been hidden from the world and it shows an old wrong that must be righted.

Honestly this book is just genius. It flicks back and forth between the present and this fabled story. I adored every second of it, and really thought it was unique and inspiring and wonderful. There’s some great twists and it’s quite hard to describe why exactly it’s so incredible without going into the ending and what makes it so dang special. The premise is great, but the execution and the twist at the end make it so brilliant and then a fabled story, ahh alright I won’t say anything else, but trust me, the ending of this book is soooooo good!

The story is also really quite creepy and a bit scary, but never gets too scary. I couldn’t get over the fact that the book they find is the actual cover and everything of this very book, and I love how the two separate times and plots work together and the balance they strike.

His Name was Walter is an incredibly clever, and inspiring book. It made me laugh, fall in love and then want to cry. I loved Walter so much, he was definitely my favourite, but I think all the characters were fantastic and well constructed. I can see this being made into a movie one day and I hope they do and I hope they do it justice. The only story that I could relate this to is Alice in Wonderland, but this one spends more time in the present time, than the fabled world, so is more grounded in reality.

Highly highly highly recommend to anyone and everyone. This book won a stack of awards and rightly so!


Title: His Name Was Walter

Author: Emily Rodda

Publisher: HarperCollins

Year: 2020

Age: 8+

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