The Person Controller (rrp £8.49, Harper Collins) is comedian and football nut David Baddiel’s second kid’s book after last year’s The Parent Agency. It’s every bit as imaginative as the first offering with as much fantasy and escapism.
Fred and Ellie are twins and huge video game fans. All is well until their obese father sits on Ellie’s game controller and destroys it. Briefly distraught, she finds what appears to be the perfect replacement from a website run by The Mystery Man. He offers this bejewelled controller to her on a free trial.
The controller turns up with a matching bracelet. They soon discover that the mysterious device handles more than video games – it controls whoever wears the bracelet….
The story manoeuvres it’s way past bullies (Isla & Morris – also twins), sweethearts (the fair Rashid) and a laments briefly on the damage TV does to family life (Cash in the Attic gets a pounding). The book is bang up to date with cultural references as recent as Pixar’s Inside Out. It includes plenty of videogame references and, as you’d expect from Baddiel, there’s an interest in football too.
It’s a great read. There’s a good balance of Dahlesque grotesque (the controller gets stuck in Ellie and Fred’s dad’s bum) and sensitivity. The story ticks along nicely although my only criticisms would be that there are a few unanswered questions about the intruiging Mystery Man character. Perhaps more will be revealed in another book?
In short, Kids will like this a lot. I’m sure they’d have lots of ideas of what to do if they had a Person Controller for a day!
You can buy The Person Controller from Amazon here.