The Accidental President by Tom McLaughlin

The Blurb On The Back:

Ajay

Find out how I accidentally sort of became the ACTUAL president of the USA – yeah baby!

Hank

My opposition – he sure knows how to throw a TEMPER TANTRUM, his face can turn from pink to bright beetroot in 20 seconds flat.

Sophie

Behind every great leader, there’s a Sophie. Nothing phases her … well, nothing but a MARMITE SANDWICH.

Joe

My BFF was the first kid Prime Minister in the history of the WORLD and is the first leader to call in a cheese related crisis

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

2 years ago, Ajay Patel’s best friend Joe Perkins became the first kid to be Prime Minister of Great Britain.  Ajay started out as Joe’s media guru, but more recently he has been Minister for Education but ended up being chased out of a conference by vegetable-throwing teachers.  Joe needs to find a new job for him so when a role opens up as the British ambassador to the United States just 3 days before the election for their next President, he figures that Ajay might be perfect for it – after all, he likes America, he has an American passport and he knows not to cause a hullabaloo.  What’s the worst that can happen?

The 5th in Tom McLaughlin’s self-illustrated THE ACCIDENTAL SERIES for children aged 9+ is a delightfully silly affair that pokes fun at politicians, rich businessmen and what it means to be British.  Ajay is a well-meaning main character whose tendency to drift off topic and wing it gets him into all sorts of trouble but whose enthusiasm and desire to do the right thing means that readers stay with him through it all.

The story is delightfully silly with McLaughlin picking up from THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER and moving the action forward with Ajay.  I hadn’t read THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER before reading this and although you don’t need to in order to follow the story as McLaughlin gives you enough information on what happened previously, given that his and Joe’s friendship is important to it I think you do get more out of it if you check it out first.

I liked the way McLaughlin injects just enough reality into the story to retain a vague sense of plausibility (e.g. Ajay’s American passport) and yet keeps taking the story in wild directions (e.g. Ajay’s dancing on winning the election and his plan in the final quarter).  The relationships are well done – especially between Ajay and Joe and Ajay and his parents (a scene involving a throwaway line to his dad’s swimming trunks did make me laugh) and the illustrations help emphasise the humour.  I also think that adults will enjoy the antagonist Hank Jones – a self-absorbed coffee tycoon whose childish behaviour is an obvious parallel with Trump but also (thanks to subsequent events) to Howard Schulz.

All in all, I thought that this was a fun read that kids will really enjoy but has enough bite to keep the adults happy too.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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