Joe is so upset that his favourite park is being shut down that he finds himself doing something rather strange. He stands up to the grown-ups. Not just any grown-ups, but his Head Teacher and even the Prime Minister himself! Before he knows it, his rant has gone viral and he finds himself surfing a wave of popular support all the way to 10 Downing Street.
Guided skilfully by his media agent, lifestyle guru and best mate, Ajay, Joe endeavours to lead his nation to a happier and much more fun future. A future with ‘hats for cats’ and ‘swimming pools on trains’; a future where pupils swap with teachers and everyone is forced to dress up on a Friday. Initially, such hilarious schemes are lapped up by an adoring public but ‘behind every good leader there is someone waiting in the wings to crush them’, and Violetta Crump will stop at nothing to nab Joe’s job!
In his debut novel for children, Tom McLaughlin conducts a well-crafted attack on adults who take themselves too seriously. The Anti-Silliness League is established to oppose Joe and contains the sorts of people, ‘who sit twitching behind net curtains…and pop balloons just for the hell of it’. There is a Chancellor who is utterly stumped when asked where all the money is (‘…it’s in the bank, probably, somewhere’), and a Queen with little better to do than shoot squirrels with her catapult.
Thankfully, the children, led by Joe, are on hand to teach everyone the importance of simple things like being honest, being kind and being silly. When Joe prevents World War Three by insisting that two angry heads of state should play nicely or go without, it is easy to imagine that perhaps we would all be better off with children in charge!