Title: The Person Controller
Author: David Baddiel
Page Count/Review Word Count: 385
This is David Baddiel’s second children’s book, and although I haven’t read the first (The Parent Agency), I understand that they’re connected – at least, they’re set in the same fictional universe, and there’s a little bit of crossover towards the end of the second book where we get to see some familiar faces. I’ve got to say, I wasn’t hugely impressed – it was reasonably well-written and the story line was okay, but it was just missing that little spark of magic.
That said, the humour was pretty good throughout, and I loved the illustrations – they were provided by Jim Field, who did a great job of absorbing Baddiel’s words and bringing them to life. The cover in particular is fantastic, and it’s almost worth reading for that alone. And let’s be fair, even though I wouldn’t put Baddiel in a par with Roald Dahl, it’s still worth reading – after all, you whizz through it due to the large print and the illustrations, and you feel accomplished by the end. This isn’t a book that you’ll struggle with – it’s fluid and well spaced out, with plenty of chances to pause and pick it up another day. That’s why it’d work pretty well as a bedtime story.
Essentially, the story follows what happens after a pair of twins discover a magical controller, which, when paired with a bracelet, allows the operator of the controller to manipulate the wearer of the bracelet. It’s an interesting concept, and Baddiel has a fun play with it, but it’s not one that would work well if he tried to continue with it in further books. But I doubt he will – the interesting thing about both this and The Parent Agency is that although they do sort of operate within the same fictional universe, they’re also total standalones. In practical terms, that means that you don’t need to have read his first book to read this one, which is a great advantage.
Overall, a 7/10 is my default rating for a book which was of a professional standard but which just didn’t quite blow my mind – make of that what you will! And be sure to let me know what you thought.