This second selection of short stories by Australian young adult writer Paul Jennings hit the shelves in 1987. We read it at some point in the early 1990s.
We recently recalled the book and went around trying to work out the name and its author. Well, now we know. And we can recommend these to today’s youth as well.
As with most of his work, this is a series of short stories with a major focus on the fantastical. There are eight in this one. They are:
- Pink Bow Tie
- One-Shot Toothpaste
- There’s No Such Thing
- Inside Out
- The Busker Souperman
- The Gumleaf
Now, our memory is a bit hazy here. As we haven’t read any of these since circa 1992. But what we do remember? Fun short stories that appeal big time to young adults/kids/morons.
Jennings certainly deserves praise for his imagination. The fantasy elements are akin to Terry Prachett’s Nome trilogy. Except grounded in normal human life.
The Busker sticks with us, however, as it tells the tale of a man who exploited a situation with his only friend—a dog. The outcome is pretty heatbreaking.
And the emphasis is fantasy. Each story is rather short, which helps for any young lads (as this will appeal mainly to geezers) who don’t like reading.
It’s accessible, enjoyable, and decades on clearly left an impact with us. As we remember it. And the TV series that grew from its hairy armpits.
TV Adaptation: Round the Twist
Jennings’ short stories were adapted into this Australian TV series starring Richard Moir. And others.
Just as the first series aired in 1990, Moir had unfortunately been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
He was able to take part in second series filming during 1992, but then withdrew from acting. The second series ran in 1993—it was popular enough to make it over to England. And we vividly remember watching the series.
Jennings wrote the first two series. A family living in a lighthouse enjoys various fantastical experiences.
A third and fourth series followed in 2000 and 2001, respectively, but Jennings had no involvement. And we didn’t bloody well watch them. So can’t comment.