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Curriculum Vital

Joe has got my vote!

The Accidental Prime Minister by Tom McLaughlin

 

Joe is an ordinary boy, who loves his mum and wants her to be happy. So when she finds out they've closed the park she works in all he wants to do is find out why, and how it can be fixed. It sounds exactly like the way every great political career should start, with concern and a drive to make things better.

"Oh, will you shut up, you bumbling great warthog!"

With that one line, Joe is thrust into the public eye and goes viral... the internet kind, not the ill kind. Maybe it's not the done thing for a kid to stand up to an adult like that, but he has some good points.

All he wants to do is save that park for his mum, and for kids like him who want to have fun... and when it looks like he's going to get what he wants he's so excited by what the prime minister is saying to him that he signs the bit of paper put in front of him and becomes the Accidental Prime Minister. It's happened to all of us hasn't it? We sign bits of paper without reading the small print all the time!

Joe, with his best friend Ajay at his side, starts the most enjoyable campaign I think the world has ever seen. But not everyone is as happy with the plan as they are. The deputy prime minister, Violetta, is not only outraged by Joe taking her place as PM, but by the buffoonary that he's placed in her vision of an ideal world. Longer lessons, no play time, no fun. Every revolting child will learn so much so quickly that they can be put to proper use as a money making work force by the age of twelve.

Unfortunately Violetta has had much more practice at the political game and smears Joe's good name. As every child would, if they could, he sulks in 10 Downing Street in his pyjamas eating jelly. When all seem lost, he's brought back to his senses when he sees his mother working in a factory he knows she hates, and gets some hard truths from a little girl with a water gun. He knows what he has to do.

From the beginning of this book it is a fun and fast paced comedy, packed with idea's you would only expect from a child's mind [or a fun loving adult's]. It makes you wonder how we might make politics a bit more fun! Perhaps with some of his wacky ideas...

Hats for cats.

Fruit shaped buses.

Swimming pools on trains.

Cats with wi-fi so that every one has a great signal.

Get rid of shows like Britain's Got The X-Factor Voice On Ice, surely we've got enough singers by now!

Who wouldn't vote for a party proposing cat wi-fi?! Crazy people, that's who... Although we might also want to consider pigeon wi-fi in city centres and seagull wi-fi for the coastal areas.

While it's a comic romp, it does get across some serious points. Joe's mum is a culinary inventor, making things like cheese salad with onion gravy and plum tandoori crumble, "Joe knew it was really because money was sometimes tight, but it meant that meal times were never dull." A lovely way to get across something that a lot of children may experience. Joe also learns that you can't force people to do things they don't want to, that even if you're on the side of right [and I think everyone is, if they're up against Violetta] you can't always win and most importantly, if you have friends behind you and confidence in yourself you can achieve great things.

Some honourable mentions for other bits in the book are needed though... Joe is invited to Buckingham Palace and the Queen appears from behind a curtain on a pair of rollerskates with a catapult... I hope no one minds, but this is how I'm going to imagine the Queen's life when she doesn't have a camera on her! Oh, and, while Joe is helping to stop a world war they end up naming a mountain Jemima on Sundays.

Having sat down to start reading the book, "just a couple of chapters" [haha, queue hysterical laughing, I don't remember EVER sitting down with a fantastic book and being able to read just a small amount], I finished the whole thing. Wacky situations and haphazard characters really make you want to read. And after page turning late into the night to finish it in one sitting, I find myself asking the same question as Joe at the beginning of the book... why are mornings so early!?

See some of Tom Mclaughlin's other books below.