For the Record by Ellie Irving
|For the Record by Ellie Irving|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Engaging story full of the best kind of English eccentrics trying to save their Jersey village from the bulldozers. Charming and fun. Ellie Irving was kind enough to chat to us about writing this book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Bodley Head Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Luke is obsessed with records. He's so busy planning on breaking world records when he grows up, and playing world records DVD games, that he doesn't take much of an interest in what's going on around him. But that's about to change, because when the village of Port Bren is chosen to host a waste-incinerator plant his house will be demolished and the graveyard where his dad's buried will be destroyed – unless the village is too historically important for this to happen. How can they put themselves on the map in one week? Luke comes up with the idea to break 50 world records… but why won't his mum let him take part?
This is a real charmer which tweens and younger teens are going to lap up. It's an easy to read book despite the fairly lengthy chapters – it's full of gentle humour, traditional English eccentrics who'll raise a smile from the adults reading, a sweet romance for Luke's mum, and a lovely narrator. Luke is a very sweet character, who's rather serious and obviously still grieving for his father a year or so after his death, and his relationship with his mum is really well portrayed, especially once she has two men taking an interest in her. The other inhabitants of Port Bren, and visitors such as the record adjudicator Simon who turns up depressed because he knows that everyone wanted the more famous Vinnie Denton, and becomes more and more drawn to the village, are all delightful. That's except, of course, for the necessary money grabbing villains wanting the development to go ahead who we all suspect will come to a Bad End! But not that Bad, because this is too sweet a book for anything really awful to happen.
There's never much of a doubt that Port Bren will be saved (look at the subtitle!) but the journey to get there has a couple of fun twists and turns and always managed to hold my attention. Some of the records attempted and achieved are impressively zany (Irving thanks someone in the notes for telling her to ramp up the crazy and it's clear she took that advice!) and there's a wonderful list of all the attempts at the back of the book complete with who tried them and whether they passed or failed which is entertaining in itself.
Overall, this is a high recommendation which children and parents alike will enjoy as a nice light read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For another really charming story for young readers, take a look at Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Ellie Irving was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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