The Boy Who Fooled the World


Cole isn’t particularly bothered by the visit of former pupil, famous artist Marika Loft,  to his school. He and Mason are charged with preparing the art room for her arrival while the class visit Thrill Kingdom. While Cole’s family’s straitened circumstances means he cannot afford to attend, he isn’t sure why Mason’s remained at school. After all Mason’s family are loaded!

However, Marika Loft’s visit opens an unexpected opportunity for Cole when he wins the school art competition, and is charged with creating a work to appear nationally. Yet Cole isn’t sure how this is happened. Furthermore it appears his inspiration is accidental and most evidently will not strike twice. What can Cole do?

Money is Cole’s over-riding concern, from not appearing as though his family struggles, especially before Trevor and Niall, to the lack of  a school coat that fits. Cole’s parents count their pennies constantly. Therefore when news comes that the museum in which Cole’s Mum works is forced to close down, his family are desperate. Where might another income source appear? Surely it couldn’t be something ludicrous like Marika Loft’s huge art auction of Cole’s second painting, or a never- been-solved Edwardian oil painting treasure map?

The Boy Who Fooled the World’ is direct and compelling. We are invested in Cole’s survival and peace of mind. Furthermore we want his family to be able to pay for boiler repairs and buy new shoes. How will they survive in a hostile world ? This is more than a story of families in difficult times, however, for there is room to consider Cole’s father’s actions, against the desperate responsibility Cole feels. This is clever, informed story writing of the kind we love and respect, from award-winning writer, Lisa Thompson.

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The Boy Who Fooled the World

Lisa Thompson


‘The Boy Who Fooled the World‘ has the best of intentions. After all, his winning entry in Marika Loft’s school competition is accidental. Cole has no idea how his piece is chosen; it’s not like he has a fully formed idea. Yet somehow, luck doesn’t strike twice. Therefore, when he’s charged with completing another, more outstanding piece by Marika’s agent, within a tight deadline, Cole is up against it.
Cole feels up against it in so many ways. Dad supports the family from home, while Mum’s job at the museum brings in very little money. There’s not enough for new shoes, or to attend school outings. Niall and Trevor make the most of Cole’s straitened circumstances. However, things appear to be about to get enough worse, for Mum’s museum is going to close…. How will Cole’s family survive?
Somehow, the opportunity to earn a vast amount of money accidentally appears a lifeline. Yet the lifeline requires an inspiration Cole doesn’t feel. Could there be another angle to earn money? For example, could Cole and his friends solve an age-old art mystery, tracking the treasure map within ‘Enigma in Oil’? It seems out of the question!
As in The Light Jar, amongst her other superb titles, Lisa Thompson shows a dexterity and empathy in touch. We are drawn into Cole’s situation so that we understand his motives, realise how he is disgraced, and want the best for him and his family. ‘The Boy Who Fooled the World’ is a thoughtful, timely tale of a boy who ultimately wants his family to get by in very challenging times.


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