Spring is the new autumn as David Walliams sends fans into a frenzy with the surprise publication of his first collection of cautionary tales, The World’s Worst Children.

HarperCollins Children’s Books will publish a new David Walliams title in May 2016, supercharging the market and changing the landscape of this spring and summer for book retailers everywhere. The bonus book will delight Walliams’ millions of fans who no longer have to wait until September for a new title. HarperCollins will publish The World’s Worst Children at top speed, with fans across the globe able to enjoy this additional full-colour gift hardback ahead of his scheduled autumn novel.

A wickedly funny and wonderfully surreal collection of ten stories about ten delightfully dreadful children, The World’s Worst Children is David Walliams’ unique take on the classic cautionary tale. This momentous new addition to the David Walliams canon will be illustrated in spectacular technicolour by the inimitable Tony Ross and published in a glorious hardback gift edition. The collection will also be available in e-book and audio, with the story hilariously read by David himself.

Are you ready to meet the World’s Worst Children? From Dribbling Drew – a boy whose drool gets him into terrible trouble – to Sofia Sofa – a TV super-fan so stuck to the sofa that she’s turning into one! – the uproariously funny cast of characters will delight David Walliams’ readers. As an extra special treat, fan favourite Raj even makes a hilarious appearance!

The World’s Worst Children will launch in all formats on the 19th May 2016 in the UK and across key international territories including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

David Walliams said “I loved writing this collection of stories, as I let my imagination run completely wild. There is a huge emphasis on surreal humour in this book. I hope children around the world will enjoy it, even the most reluctant reader.”

HarperCollins Children’s Books Executive Publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said, “Children love surprises, and what a brilliant surprise to have a new and unexpected book from their hero: author David Walliams! A wonderfully Walliams twist on the classic cautionary tale, this is David’s very first short story collection and demonstrates just what a genius storyteller he is, with every story fizzing with the power of his unique and incredible imagination. And, for the first time, we will publish Walliams’ fiction in glorious colour with illustrations blazing throughout by Tony Ross. These stories are a joy and will have children everywhere reading all summer long. Only David Walliams could deliver such a wonderful book as such a terrific surprise.”

David Walliams is fast becoming a global phenomenon in the world of children’s literature – his ability to wow fans is unprecedented. Having just returned from a hugely successful tour of America where he visited thousands of children in schools, performed at sell-out public events and made a starry guest appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Walliams is currently riding high in The New York Times Bestseller Lists. As a global brand, The World of David Walliams continues to grow: export sales have increased by 77% year on year with growth in every single market. David’s books are now published in 46 languages.

In the UK, David Walliams’ book sales continue to thrive with over 9.5 million* copies sold. His most recent fiction title, Grandpa’s Great Escape, published in September 2015 and was the standout, industry-wide success of the year. It was No. 1 in the overall book chart for four weeks in a row, sold over 500,000 copies in the calendar year and seized the coveted Christmas No.1 spot in the children’s books chart – David’s second Christmas No.1 in a row.