Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies

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Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sweet, funny and inspirational tale of a boy whose life is changed by a talking head louse. It sounds daft, we know, but it's an entertaining tale all about unleashing potential.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 162 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Live It
ISBN: 1906954534

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Jake is a nice boy, navigating the later years of primary school with varied success. He has a secure home, a nice mum and dad, and plenty of friends with whom he enjoys energetic playtimes. But Jake isn't realising his full potential in lessons. He tries to listen, really he does, but his attention keeps wandering. And his performance in tests is more than a little disappointing. With SATs looming, Jake really should buckle down to some work. But, try as he might, buckling down isn't Jake's strong point.

And then, one day, Jake picks up head lice. Again. And one of them accidentally bites down on a nerve that leads directly to Jake's brain. Astounded by what it finds, the louse - Brad, it decides to call itself - makes contact with Jake. And as Jake's final year at primary school progresses, Brad encourages Jake through all the challenges the year presents - how to succeed in class, how to cope with bullies, how to go out with a girl. Brad has discovered that Jake has an amazing brain, if only he cared to use it. But can he convince Jake to make the changes?

I thought this story was funny and inspirational. It shows schoolchildren, especially boys, that achievement doesn't necessarily equal geek and social pariah status, that knowledge is a good thing. It also invites children to empathise with others. Walking a mile in another man's shoes is not a common impulse when you're at primary school, but if you can do it you might better understand why other people don't always behave in a pleasant way. It's calm and reassuring about all sorts of different types of relationship - parent and child, teacher and child, bully and bullied, even proto-romance. And it even discusses death - head lice don't live for long you know, and so Bart can only ever have a temporary influence on Jake.

There's a lot of worthiness in this book. But it is still great fun to read so it strikes a lovely balance. And the basic, rather icky, premise of a head louse as a central character will appeal to all children who like lavatorial humour. That's all of them, then!

I'm looking forward to book number two in this series, Lousy Behaviour, which will be out next year.

You might also enjoy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, which is about poetry - bear with us! - and is just as funny and inspirational. But if it's brain invasions that appeal, then look no further than Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan - it's about a brain tumour, not a head louse!

Buy Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lousy Thinking: Hitching a Ride on a Schoolboy's Mind by Mike Davies at Amazon.com.


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