Penguin Random House
September 3, 2018
Classic Morris Gleitzman! And pure unadulterated joy! In these parlous times when politicians behave without regard for those they are sworn to represent this could not be more timely or indeed, pointed.
Ludo is a helper. A year after losing his mother his desire to help and his commitment to the values of being a true Scout remain firmly fixed in place. When his father wins a seat as an independent MP and the pair move to Canberra Ludo begins to see that politics, the people embedded in the system and the nation’s capital are all far from being the selfless ideal he had in his mind. His zeal for helping the homeless people in the capital quickly escalates into a mission with much wider implications. Along the way he is able to recruit like-minded allies, not least of all, his dad.
Ludo is a very likeable protagonist and never becomes priggish which could so easily have happened with a lesser creator. His warmth and compassionate nature are a lodestone throughout the narrative which readily endears him to the reader.
With Morris’ usual deft touch the gravity of some nasty situations is liberally leavened with a good dash of humour as well as some moments of real poignancy. Quirky characters as well as unsavoury ones are sprinkled throughout making this an engaging read with some very important underlying themes.
Not only do I believe this would be a novel which could be used to great effect with students but I do think it should be mandatory reading for every single elected member – perhaps it could be a requirement of their introduction or even better, preselection process?
Highly recommended for either independent reading or read-aloud for children from about eight years upwards. Kudos to Morris for a fantastic and apt new book!