Long before British scriptwriter Ivor Baddiel was lending his comedic flair to reality TV shows such as The Voice, I’m A Celebrity and X Factor, he spent years inspiring young minds as a primary school teacher.
Now his passion for cracking jokes, talent shows and seeing children delight in reading have neatly aligned for Baddiel’s latest book – a hilarious whodunnit about two youngsters who must save the country’s favourite TV show from a mysterious saboteur.
Britain’s Biggest Star … is Dad? revolves around twins Harry and Abby, who are recruited by the secret service for the mission. Their ticket backstage is their father, washed-up comedian Gus, who believes the contest might just reignite his career. With a long line of suspects to investigate, will the twins find the culprit before disaster strikes the show?
With a mix of silliness and a suspenseful plot, the book makes for an entertaining read for parents to enjoy with their children.
Baddiel, 58, the older brother of comedian and author David Baddiel, has penned more than 14 books aimed at teenagers and young readers. “Before lockdown, I went into schools and read Cock-A-Doodle Quack! Quack! to the kids,” explained Baddiel. “What’s amazing is in this age of gadgets and technology, just a simple story can affect them. They were enraptured.”
Seeing those young beaming faces reminded Baddiel why he became a teacher some years ago, before a full-time writing career beckoned. “I taught in an area where some of the kids had a rough upbringing. It was incredibly hard work, but I loved it. I remember one child who suddenly had a breakthrough with their reading. Something just clicked and they started reading,” said Baddiel. “All those months of exhaustion were washed away in a moment of elation and made it all
For young readers just starting out, there’s also no substitution for parents becoming more involved, as well as nurturing “that sense of connection”. “My kids are older now – my daughter is 20, my son is 16 – and I miss them being little,” said Baddiel. “It’s fantastic that they get older and hopefully turn into reasonably well-adjusted human beings. That’s great, normal and natural, but reading to kids is such a lovely thing.” He adds: “With some of the parents of children I taught, you would have thought that it was second nature to read to their child, but many times I had to suggest it and stress just how important it can be.
Reading with your child is precious.
Britain’s Biggest Star … is Dad?, which has just been published by Scholastic, is geared towards doing just that, with a smattering of humour that will appeal to parents and kids alike. Asked if he based any of the protagonists on real-life figures from his TV talent shows, Baddiel chuckled without giving much away. “Well, I’ve worked with a lot of comedians and judges over the years, so let’s just say they are an amalgam of people from those types of shows.”
London Jewish News