Trouble at the Tap 'n' Type
Adults think they have it sooooo rough! Oh, my boss was mean to me today! And my back hurts! Puh-leeez. Hey, I'm an adult, but I'm not too old to remember what it was like being a kidit's no bed of roses. Still, I don't think my childhood was anything like the McNally clan's. Jackie, LeFay, twin brothers Joshua and Albie, and the youngest, Fergal, are the children of Rufus McNally, a bitter old sailor. Life for them is a day-to-day struggle for survival, with the oldest, Jackie, serving as a surrogate parent. When sister LeFay is selected to participate in the "Tap 'n' Type" typing competition, Jackie arranges for all of them (except Rufus) to go to the contest. What she doesn't count on is the horribly tragic death of Fergal, which is where The Fall of Fergal begins.
If you're beginning to suspect that Philip Ardagh's book is a bit tongue-in-cheek, you're right. In fact, it's downright cheeky! Kids love dark humor, which explains the success of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Ardagh's own previous series, the Eddie Dickens trilogy (A House Called Awful End, etc.). Young readers are sure to appreciate Ardagh's latest story of plucky LeFay and her try at fame.
The "Tap 'n' Type" contest has its share of odd contestants, the oddest of whom is a spoiled rich brat by the name of Graham Large, who will do anything to win, including blowing the whistle on LeFay's efforts to smuggle her family into her room at the Dell hotel (so they can sample room service). Her sneaky plan won't be achieved easily, what with a retired policeman named Twinkle-Toes Tweedy on the job as a hotel detective.
This first book does begin with a calamitous splat for Fergal, but don't let that bother you. The Fall of Fergal is a funny, well-written entry into what promises to be a great series for kids. Even Fergal's death may not be permanentbut I can't say more. Read the book(s) and find out for yourself!