‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ by Tom Mc Laughlin is one of the funniest books I have read this year and I found it ironically by total accident.
Tom first came to my attention with his amazing illustration work on some of my favourite picture books the ‘Captain Buckleboots’ serie. My personal favourite of these is ‘Father Christmas on the Naughty Step’ which I use every year for Christmas storytime at the library. He then went on to produce his own picture books ‘The Diabolical Mr TIddles’ and ‘The Story Machine’ which are both outstanding in their own rights.
It was while searching for a copy of his latest picture book ‘The Cloudspotter’ that I came across ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ and knew that if it was anywhere nearly as good as his picture books then it would be a great read. The book tells the story of a boy called Joe who accidentally ends up becoming Prime Minister when he tries to save the park where his Mum works, from closure.
Tom opens his books with real life comments from children who have been asked ‘What would you do?’ if you became Prime Minister. The best comments include ‘Invent a 99p coin. It would make paying for stuff much easier’ and ‘children need only shower/bath on Sundays.’ We also get to see a copy of Joe’s manifesto which sets the scene for the craziness that unfolds within the book.
The country is run by a dastardly man called Percival T. Duckholm who after an altercation with Joe, which brings him to the attention of the world media, tricks him into becoming Prime Minister. We then see Joe trying to run the country and implement his manifesto including having a fancy dress Friday (on a Thursday) and cats having to wear hats. It offers a really interesting insight into the world of politics as Joe is given a tour around 10 Downing Street and goes off on summits. joe has to deal with his arch nemesis Violetta the deputy Prime Minister who is out to destroy him, Inevitably things don’t run smoothly and everything starts to unravel.
There are so many amusing episodes throughout the book which will have children laughing in joy, I particulary enjoyed the roller skating Queen who has curlers in her hair and goes around trying to kill pigeons with a catapult, with accompanying illustration which is fabulous. if you are sharing this book with a child there are lots of things to keep grown ups amused. Each of the chapters are named after songs ‘Panic on the streets of London’, ‘Help’ and ‘Don’t stop me now’ to name but a few. We also get the benefit of Tom’s artistic talents with the hilarious illustrations interspersed in the book, these really enhance the reading experience.
If you’re looking for something to share with your child which will keep you amused or just want a genuinely funny book, then this is the one for you. Enjoy!