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Tom McLaughlin has illustrated several books for Bloomsbury, including The Cloudspotter (as read by Tom Hardy on CBeebies Bedtime Stories) and The Story Machine, which has received wonderfully positive reviews and has sparked a number of thought-provoking articles on dyslexia (which Tom understands well, being dyslexic himself). Tom loves drinking tea, eating lunch and drawing (in no particular order). He lives in Devon.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | November 2020 Book of the Month | Tom McLaughlin’s new story stars a royal family, but as you’ve never imagined them before! When hapless Bertie, the Queen’s brother, gambles away their entire estate on a game of Happy Families, the whole family are turfed out. It seems no-one is particularly sorry to see them go either, they’ve been stuck-up, selfish and entitled. Life in their new home in King Street, Windsor takes some getting used to, but mixing with the hoi-polloi, aka their new neighbours, teaches the former royals to be much nicer people (as well as giving them a taste for Pot Noodle). It’s delightfully silly and very funny, but actually full of useful life lessons too. Published by Barrington Stoke, this is accessible to all readers including those reluctant, struggling or dyslexic.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | A fun way of looking at prejudice that quickly makes it clear that even if someone is different to you the two of you can still be friends. Here, the Reds, who are round and eat red apples, are happy to be red. And the Yellows, who are square and eat bananas, love being yellow. How can the two groups ever get to like each other? And then there are the Blues who wear blue bow ties and are shaped like triangles and love being blue. They are different again and no one likes them at all. The arguments between the groups get sillier and sillier as they squabble over everything and make a lot of daft rules. Will they ever get to like one another? Then A Different comes along. Where will he fit in? Suddenly difference seems fine and what colour you are doesn’t seem to matter so much. Lots to think about as the expressive colour block characters work out how to live together.
Tom McLaughlin creates some of the best, and funniest adventures for young readers and this is another hilarious, cleverly structured story. Nine year old Pete just wanted a quiet day watching the snooker on the telly, so how on earth did he end up committing armed robbery (sort of), impersonating a policeman, and driving a tank across his own lawn, before breaking up a gang of admittedly incompetent criminals? Read the book to see how it all begins with his mum’s parsnip bake… It’s part of the joy of the book that even as the plot gets more and more convoluted, and as yet more accidental disasters heap on Pete and his new friend Sammy, there’s a logic to everything that happens. Irresistible page-turning fun, and McLaughlin’s cartoony illustrations are an added bonus.
In a nutshell: very funny cartoony alien invasion story The imminent destruction of Earth is the subject of Tom McLaughlin’s typically hilarious new book, though he manages to slip in a few comments on our world and those who run it too. Freddy just wants to watch the wrestling, not start a space war! How could he know his DIY satellite dish would transmit signals to aliens from the Planet Twang and encourage them to start an invasion? Freddy and his friend Sal manage to get hold of Nasa and the White House and before long the world’s leaders have assembled in Freddy’s living room, much to his mum’s annoyance – she has to tell them off more than once. Despite his threats, alien Alan is a lot less terrifying than first thought, but it’s funny too how an invading force makes everyone suddenly get along; after all, ‘Nobody’s perfect’, says Freddy, ‘We’re all just human.’ Clever, ingenious and irresistible fun! ~ Andrea Reece
October 2017 Book of the Month In a nutshell: original madcap adventure with a seasonal feel All Ben wants is for his dad to spend more time at home, surely that’s not too much to ask from Father Christmas? But when his letters are ignored, he begins to doubt Father Christmas and sets up a trap to find out if he’s real. This in turn triggers an extraordinary series of events involving a confused Santa trying to break into Buckingham Palace, a wild ride across the world’s skies, multiple UFO sightings and much, much more. McLaughlin has a brilliant line in madcap adventure but no matter how daft things get (very), his central characters always feel like real kids. This has laughs a-plenty, but a warm heart too. McLaughlin’s own illustrations add to the fun. ~ Andrea Reece
Inventive Orson builds his own planet with a cupful of rocks, a dash of water, a sprinkling of metal and a lot of nothingness. He loves his planet and is proud of all he has achieved. Orson’s planet becomes so successful that soon everything wants to live on it and Orson knows that he must let it go and find begin a new life of its own. Tom McLaughin’s story is a delightful celebration of imagination and creativity as well as a useful lesson about letting go of things that you love. ~ Julia Eccleshare
July 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: action-packed, laugh-out-loud inventor adventure Tom McLaughlin had readers in stitches with The Accidental Prime Minister and The Accidental Secret Agent, but The Accidental Billionaire is possibly his funniest yet. Jasper is a regular kid, though one given to staging ambitious, mostly (highly) unsuccessful experiments. Attempting to split the atom one afternoon, he accidentally gives his cat the power to speak. In no time at all, talking cats are the in thing with people queuing up to pay Jasper to make their cats speak too. Jasper and his nan are rich beyond their wildest dreams but there’s a price to pay: Jasper realises he’s not just made some cats talk, he’s created a feline army! Can he reverse the process before cats take over the world? A brilliantly funny what-if adventure and enormous fun. ~ Andrea Reece
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month July 2016 Inventive Orson builds his own planet with a cupful of rocks, a dash of water, a sprinkling of metal and a lot of nothingness. He loves his planet and is proud of all he has achieved. Orson’s planet becomes so successful that soon everything wants to live on it and Orson knows that he must let it go and find begin a new life of its own. Tom McLaughin’s story is a delightful celebration of imagination and creativity as well as a useful lesson about letting go of things that you love. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2016 Melric and the Crown by David McKee The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Chris Riddell Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin Strange Star by Emma Carroll Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration by Michael Morpurgo
The story of a boy who accidentally becomes a secret agent, Tom McLaughlin’s new book is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly if, like its hero, you daydream of being James Bond. An ambitious money-raising stunt involving a zip-wire and an ornamental fountain brings schoolboy Kevin Twigg to the attention of Jake Pond, a diminutive spy looking to take unofficial time off. Before you can say shaken not stirred the two have swapped places, and Kevin finds himself on a dangerous mission for MI7. He might be geeky in real life, but Kevin turns out to be a surprisingly effective secret agent, managing to infiltrate a gangster party, blag his way into a bank vault and fly a helicopter before unmasking his headmaster as the arch villain. Extremely silly, but exciting too, this spy spoof is licensed to thrill! Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Children aged 8-12, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | June 2016 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: espionage – laughs – fake moustaches. Books in The Accidental Series: 1. The Accidental Secret Agent 2. The Accidental President 3. The Accidental Prime Minister 4. The Accidental Billionaire 5. The Accidental Father ChristmasReaders could go on to Anthony Horowitz’s cracking spoofs such as The Falcon’s Malteser, and they’ll also enjoy David Solomon’s award-winning My Brother is a Superhero. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2015 - April 2015 Debut of the Month We’ve all thought it: a twelve-year-old boy could do an MP’s job at least as well as the present lot, probably better. That’s the premise in Tom McLaughlin’s debut novel, only the twelve-year-old in question – Joe Perkins – doesn’t just get to be an MP, he accidentally becomes Prime Minister. Promising that where there is grumpiness, may he bring giggles and where there is jelly, may he bring ice-cream, Joe sets out to make the country a happier, more relaxed place. It works, at least until his scheming deputy puts a spanner in the works, or a nail in a bouncy castle to be precise. McLaughlin milks all opportunities for situation comedy, and indulges in some terrific fantasy lawmaking while the action scampers along at pace. Beneath the humour there are serious points being made about democracy and government, and this could actually inspire future generations of politicians. ~ Andrea Reece
How far will Mr Tiddles the cat go to keep his loving master Harry happy? Harry has longed for a cat but, when Mr Tiddles arrives, things begin to get a bit out of hand. Every day he brings Harry something new; it starts with a mouse but soon Harry is waking up to some very generous presents including a train set and a horse. When Harry decides to find the source of the generous gifts he finds himself face to face with the Queen and also discovers just how audacious Mr Tiddles is prepared to be. A rich flight of fancy, this is a delightfully exuberant story.