The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble

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The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Funny, mysterious and utterly bonkers: this adventure story for young readers with overtones of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and absolutely anything by Terry Pratchett (try Mort for starters) would make even a dentist giggle. But beware – you'll never see the world in the same way again.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Little Island Books
ISBN: 9781910411544

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Do you happen to know where duvet fluff comes from? (It's kind of gross, so don't rush around telling grown-ups when you find out. They prefer to pretend stuff like that doesn't exist.) Have you ever wondered why squids don't use mobile phones, or why vampires always wear black? No? Well, your education's been seriously lacking, so you'd better drop everything (no, not literally – put that sandwich down somewhere safe first) and rush off right now to read this useful and informative book. Never mind the crazy adventures enjoyed (probably not the best word, but you get it, right?) by Jack and don't-call-her-Moody-if you want-your-nose-to-stay-in-the-centre-of-your-face-Trudy. Forget the deadly peril, the dozens of missing children and the six-foot-high Tooth Fairy. There's a lot of important facts to be checked out first.

Then again, maybe you should leave the research aside for now, and find out what our two heroes are up to, especially if you've got a friend who's a bit on the nerdy side. See, nerds are precisely the sort of children real bad guys target first. Makes sense, yeah? Kidnap the most popular boy or girl in class and everyone's out searching the streets and fields in milliseconds, but the absence of that quiet kid who sits in the corner and collects 1950s sweet wrappers could go unnoticed for days. And sadly, you won't find a better description of Jack's best mate David. He's generous and funny and loyal, and Jack couldn't imagine life without him, but there's no denying it: David is a total, gold-plated, certified geek. He's practically got a big arrow above his head, saying I'm a loser, kidnap me.

Fortunately, there's a secret organisation ready to help. No, not MI5, or even the FBI – something a lot more mysterious. They don't all wear dark suits (despite the title of their ministry) or those ultra-cool wrap-around reflecting sunglasses, and they don't use many gadgets (read the book and you'll see why). But they do have some mad skills, in both senses of the phrase, and life soon becomes exciting, and a lot more peculiar, for Jack.

The Ministry of Suits is a wonderful place, and the extracts from their handbook will have young readers giggling helplessly and then insisting on reading great chunks of it out to their unwilling parents. Somehow Paul Gamble makes footnotes (lots and lots and lots of footnotes . . .) fun, and the whole story romps along at a cracking pace. It's lively, with just the right balance of danger and comedy, and it's chock-a-block with explanations so bizarre you just long for them to be true. Don't miss it.

While you're waiting for volume two, you'll probably want to read more stories about young people battling the weird, the nasty and the dangerous. One of the best, by the ever-excellent Jonathan Stroud, features Lucy, George and Lockwood - start with Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase, follow it up with The Whispering Skull and finally The Hollow Boy. Not as lighthearted as this book, but absolutely gripping!

Booklists.jpg The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2016.

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Buy The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble at


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