Everything has to be educational nowadays, clearly. We used to read vapid novels about kids learning to be friends and climbing fences and getting scraped knees, but now even the younger reader stuff is teaching them how the voting system works. I picked up a book my niece was reading, and the title was Sally and the Very Corrupt Civil Servant. It was all about a seven-year-old girl uncovering and exposing a major case of embezzlement in the criminal justice system. Gee, and here’s me having read the old Looking After Babies Club books back when I was younger, and being totally absorbed with the characters getting into petty fights and trying cigarettes behind the bike sheds.
You need some sort of degree to write these things, nowadays. This is only one is a huge series of Sally’s misadventures, with the final page of this one promising that Sally would return in Sally and the Investigation into the Environmental Sustainability of Commercial LED Lighting. Found that one on my niece’s shelf as well, and all purveyors of LED lighting will be happy to know that LED lighting comes off better than you’d expect. Sally initially thinks that it might be at the centre of an international terrorist plot to pollute the water supply and control the citizens by way of LED-induced mind control, but she later discovers that energy-saver bulbs are actually to blame, having been modified by the Illuminati to make people want to buy their off-brand toilet paper. In the end, it was all a money-making scam.
And then there’s this weird finale where Sally (who is, as I have mentioned, seven years old) goes and infiltrates the lair of the Illuminati with an agent from the commercial LED sector, because I guess commercial LED is really serious business. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a child, but I’m really confused about the message they’re putting forward here…