07/06/2010

The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck (by Jamie Rix)

I'd never heard of Jamie Rix. Possibly this is because my sons are now grown, so I haven't been adding to our collection of children's books for a while (other than the odd Dick King-Smith or Elinor M Brent-Dyer...). Apparently he's quite a prolific writer.

The blurb appealed to me when browsing the Bookbag page of books for review, so I thought I'd try it. I do like reading children's fiction from time to time, and am always interested in new authors.

The story is about 11-year-old Alfie Pluck who starts life with extreme bad luck. He has Dahlishly grotesque aunts who treat him as their Household Drudge, finding increasingly gross tasks to occupy his time. While out looking for work one day, he comes across a doctor who has created a 'good luck' gene. This unlikely gene is currently lodged in the brain of a very lucky chicken whose luck runs out when Alfie runs away with it, and eventually eats it.

Naturally the doctor wants it back. And his aunts want their slave back. Oh, and the Prime Minister is having a run of bad luck and would quite like to get hold of the gene too. So the race is on to get hold of Alfie... or perhaps his brain..

The book is fast-paced, probably best for boys of around 8-11. There are plenty of villains, highly caricatured, most of whom come to a nasty end. Not for the highly sensitive or squeamish (I wasn't too keen on the scenes were Alfie's brain is about to be extracted). It isn't in the class of Dahl as far as humour goes - the blurb on the back telling me the book is 'hilarious' is rather exaggerated. Nonetheless, it's a readable book, mildly amusing in places, that could be popular with today's children. Recommended for boys of about 8-11.

My longer review of 'The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck' can be found at the Bookbag site.

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