Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs
Publisher: Chicken House
Alice is used to her hygiene-obsessed parents thinking all children are health hazards, so when she gets a cold, she does her absolute best to keep it a secret to avoid their disapproval. Yet this cold has some rather strange symptoms – she can't stop giggling, and every animal she meets sticks to her like glue.
When, inevitably, her parents do find out and the Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect and his scary goons come to take Alice away, she finds herself at Tryton Mell School, where the food is served mushily frozen to eliminate germs and having a cold is a crime. But the school seems to have a strange history, and what happened to its once kindly headmaster?
A brilliantly original debut novel from a writer who has had a career as a GP, Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs considers the largely unwritten-about (in children's books) issue of children's health and an increasing lack of healthy exposure to dirt and the outdoors in children's lives.
However, the book's more serious themes merely provide a background to an expertly built, dystopian contemporary world which is, ultimately, a friendship adventure full of laughs.