Review of “The Accidental Prime Minister” by Tom McLaughlin.


The Accidental Prime Minister written and illustrated by Tom McLaughlin.

Oxford University Press £6.99

Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2016 (editor Clare Whitston)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Grown-ups have had their turn at running things, and let’s face it, they’ve been rubbish! It’s time that a kid was in charge. Where there is grumpiness, may we bring giggles, where there is jelly, may we bring ice-cream, where there are chairs, may we bring whoopee cushions!

So what did I think?


This is a great book to read to your kids, not just for the story but also for the ingenious use of song titles for each chapter. It was fun to warm up the old vocals each evening at bedtime with my very unique renditions of “I Don’t Like Mondays”, “Our House” and “Don’t Stop Me Now”. I’m sure the kids would love to hear the full playlist…but anyway, back to the story!

The Accidental Prime Minister starts on a Monday morning with our hero, Joe, reluctantly getting up for school. We meet his friend Ajay, and Joe’s mum, who breaks the news that the boys’ beloved park has been closed down. Even worse, it means mum is out of her park warden job. Joe and Ajay discover that the whole area will be redeveloped into flats. As they arrive at school, there is another surprise: the Prime Minister has come to visit. Incensed about the park, Joe asks the PM about it. When the PM waffles on with a load of hot air, Joe shouts out, “Oh will you shut up, you bumbling great warthog!” and has a full on rant. With the whole thing captured by a tv camera crew, Joe’s sparring with the PM goes viral, and before he knows it his life takes a dramatic new path.

Tom McLAUGHlin’s book is full of lively dialogue, and is quick to read for readers age 9-12. When I read it to my eight year old he laughed out loud a lot (and very loudly)! There’s a very generous helping of cheeky jokes and comic situations, and the characters are very distinctive and entertaining. The villain of the piece, Violetta Crump is a snarling, highly strung and calculating politician with her eye on the top job; and she contrasts very well with Joe’s innocent altruism and naivety.

This book is a great introduction to the subject of politics, and a brilliant stimulus for discussing government, power and justice for pupils in Years 5 and 6. I’m sure readers will have lots of fun thinking up what laws they would bring in if they had the chance to be Prime Minister. But as Joe discovers, there’s nothing quite like being a kid and just being able to have fun with your friends in your favourite place.

I’d say this book would be perfect for readers who enjoyed Stinkbomb and Ketchup Face by John Dougherty, The Bolds by Julian Clary, or for fans of David Walliams.

Happy reading!

Pippa Wilson

7th February 2016


One comment

  1. Excellent review. Seriously thinking about buying it.

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