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The Fall of Fergal by Philip Ardagh

Reviewed by Kilmihil Children’s Book Club

The Fall of Fergal is book one in the ‘Unlikely Exploits’ series. The story begins at the end – with Fergal falling out of a hotel window. The McNally family are poor, and their father Rufus is a war hero, but a really useless dad. Jackie their older sister has brought up the younger members of the family. Joshua and Albie were Fergal’s twin brothers and Le Fay was his older sister.

Le Fay is a finalist in a typing competition and gets to stay in a hotel where the final is held, and as none of the McNally’s had ever stayed in a hotel before, all of the children smuggle themselves into the room.

Le Fay finds a friend in Malcolm Kent who was very kind to her and defended her when her typing rival Graham Large was going to get her into trouble. The other children meet with Mr Peach the ventriloquist with a very large moustache, on the bus to the hotel and make friends with him. He is coincidentally performing at the typing competition, and helps them out. The story ends with poor Fergal dying because of his fall from the window and Rufus becoming a much better father and person.

This was a good read and was given a 7 out of 10 rating from the children in the book club. They did however find that while it was funny, they didn’t like the author coming in and leaving one story just as it was getting exciting to bring the reader another person’s story. They did say that they would read the next book in the series to see what will happen to the McNally family.