Book of the week: How to avoid certain death by Tom Clempson


London Mums’ first book of the week for 2018 has to be How to avoid certain death by Tom Clempson. This new book for children Tom Clempson by  is a quirky, hilariously funny adventure from one of the animators behind Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankenweenie. It comes out on the 4th of January 2018 and is a great new novel for 9+ children who love adventure stories.



The plot  

Most children’s lives are made up of three things: going to school, playing games, lazing around. The protagonists of this story are 10 year old twins Sarah and Charlie who are really bored. You quickly understand why: Their lives are also made up of three things but these are survival training, a bit more survival training, even more survival training. They live in the middle of nowhere with their dull grandparents who refuse to let them do anything exciting. The kids wonder what they are even training for.

The author tells us that they live ‘in a time and place where fairytales are true, where pirates rule the seas, kings and queens rule the lands, and magicians rule lines in books using their rulers’. But they never got to experience any of this because they live in the most boring and empty cottage only with their grandma Ethel and grandpa Harold. They never get to meet a single other human being apart from the grandparents.


But one day adventure comes knocking at their door: their grandparents are captured by the most terrifying Pirates of all time, Vladimir death pirate evil Lord of the seven seas.


Charlie and Sarah launch an immediate rescue mission setting sail to find their grandparents and uncover their family secrets.

The verdict 

Fans of adventure stories will love this novel filled with pirates mischief, zombie bunnies and a magical wish-granting island. It is written in a very cinematic and visual style which makes the reading easy and entertaining. I would not be surprised if this book would turn into an animated movie.


A little bit about the authors

Tom Clempson is an animator and writer yes worked on the film roll dolls fantastic Mr Fox as well as Tim Burton’s corpse bride and Frankenweenie. He’s also the author of the Jack Samsonite series.


Illustrator Jason Cockcroft was born in New Zealand but raised in Leeds (England). He is best known for his internationally acclaimed picture book illustrations and for his cover artwork of the final three Harry Potter books.

If you enjoyed this review and love the world of storytelling, visit London Mums books section


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