Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson

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Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson

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Buy Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A cheerful adventure including all the right elements: wicked baddies, good friends, slightly loony sisters and lots of fancy dress!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571249701

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Eleven-year-old Skipjack is in serious trouble: his team lost a cricket match because he fell asleep, and now Slugger Stubbins is after him. Slugger has two things in mind: to bash Skipjack, and to squeeze out of him the ten pounds he lost betting on the match. Skipjack, therefore, spends a large part of this wonderfully silly book hiding from his nemesis using a variety of fancy dress costumes from his friend Doctor Hamish Levity's shop. Oli, on the other hand, has weightier matters to deal with: he has discovered an International Criminal Mastermind. And because he has always dreamed of being a secret agent, this promises to be the perfect opportunity to try out the practical tips on espionage contained in The Good Spy's Handbook, which he has recently been given.

Who would not envy Oli and Skipjack their joyous life? Apart from the odd criminal and bully, they enjoy a golden existence. They have the run of Doctor Levity's Joke Shop, and spend long hours there. Sid, who runs Mrs Happy's Pizza Shop, not only makes (and is willing to share) the world's most perfect triple-pepperoni pizzas, but also lives up to her name by supporting and defending the two friends in all their madcap plans. She even allows Skipjack to stay the night so he won't get bashed by Slugger. And both boys have the kind of understanding parents who allow them the kind of freedom children can only dream of these days. Even the girls aren't too dreadful: Dr Levity's granddaughter Daisy not only giggles at Skipjack's jokes, but is also is the best bubble-gum blower in town, and is willing to share her expertise with Skipjack as his Official Trainer in his attempt to break the world record.

There is plenty of action and adventure in this book. It is also very funny in parts, and the two boys are easy to identify with, sharing all the same dreams, ideas and tribulations as their readers. They get into scrapes, they have sisters who blackmail them for bunking off Dance Club, and they are pretty sure their teachers lead mysterious and fascinating lives when they're not at school. The baddies are even kind enough to have obviously evil names like Professor Vladimir Vakloff, Big B and Plunk. And who could resist Doctor Levity, who gets all the best lines?

Skipjack, he said, you are worth your weight in golden fart powder. . . Now I must ascend my ladder to the giddy heights of the third shelf and bring order to the chaos in the Plastic Poo Department.

This is a book which will appeal to a wide range of boys and girls. Older, more confident readers will race through it, laughing out loud at the zany situations and comments. Younger readers will find language which is perfectly manageable without being easy, and sufficient action and humour on every page to make them want to read on.

Many thanks to Faber and Faber for sending this book to Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: Fortunately, there are other Oli and Skipjack Tales of Trouble. Try Gnomes Are Forever, Mirror Mischief and The Spookoscope. And when you've finished with them, there's still the truly hilarious Jeremy Strong to tackle, including gems like My Brother's Hot Cross Bottom.

Buy Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Doom: Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble by Ceci Jenkinson at Amazon.com.

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