Just William is the first book of children's short stories about the young school boy William Brown, written by Richmal Crompton and published in 1922. The book was the first in the series of William Brown books which was the basis for numerous television series, films and radio adaptations. Just William is also sometimes used as a title for the series of books as a whole, and is also the name of various television, film and radio adaptations of the books. I grew up reading the stories and made the mistake of thinking they were written by a man because of the author's name!
Ginger is William's faithful friend and almost as tousled, reckless and grimy as William himself. He has been known to take over in William's absence and is his best friend. Henry brings an air of wisdom to the otherwise non-academic Outlaws. Never liking to own up to being at a loss, he can always deliver the knowledge that the Outlaws need. In the first book, it is revealed that he is the oldest of the Outlaws. Douglas, perhaps the most pessimistic of the Outlaws (though it has never stopped him joining in with any lawless activity) is the best at of them at spelling. He spells knights "gnights" and knocks "gnocks". The Outlaws take pride in this because, unlike them, he knows the contrariness of the English language.
William's family, his elder red-gold haired sister Ethel and brother Robert, placid mother and stern father, and never-ending supply of elderly aunts, cannot understand William. Only his mother has any sympathy for him, though his father sometimes shows a side of himself that seems to admit he was once like William himself.
Other recurring characters include Violet Elizabeth Bott, spoiled daughter of the local millionaire (whose companionship William reluctantly endures, to prevent her carrying out her threat "I'll thcream and thcream 'till I'm thick"), and Joan Clive, the dark haired girl for whom William has a soft spot. Joan is sometimes considered a member of the Outlaws (the only girl entitled to this high privilege) and sometimes an "Outlaw ally" because she took a special oath. At one point she went away to boarding school, but continued to appear in William's adventures during her holidays.
William writes stories (The Tale of The Bloody Hand), although most of these are written in terrible grammar, much to comic effect. He likes to perform drama, and is fond of white rats, football and cricket.
A notable feature of the stories is the subtle observance of the nature of Leadership. William often has to reconcile his own ambitions with the needs of the individuals within the "Outlaws". His strength of personality means that his leadership is never questioned. William rarely exercises his power over the Outlaws without conscience.