on August 30, 2006
"Unreal", first published in Australia in 1985, was Paul Jennings' first book, which he wrote while he was a school teacher. It is a collection of weird and wonderful short stories for kids, though it's fun for all ages, I reckon. "Unreal" went on to win a whole bunch of awards, and Paul Jennings went on to become a full time writer, and something of a phenomenon here down under. His books sold millions of copies, and spawned two TV series ("Round the Twist" and "Driven Crazy"). He's done an awful lot for kid's reading down here. I've been a fan of Paul's since I was nine or so years old. I'm grown up now, but still I find his books worth reading and re-reading.
Every single one of the eight stories in "Unreal" is great fun, and are among Jennings' best work, in my opinion. Here's a summary:
"Without A Shirt" features a boy who obsessively ends every sentence with the phrase "without a shirt". His teacher feels sorry for him and the other kids make fun of him. His life, however, takes a strange and unexpected turn the day he has to do a talk in front of the class...
"The Strap Box Flyer" is a story I'd forgotten about for quite some time, but it's interesting. It's all about a greedy businessman who goes from town to town selling glue. He tells his customers it will stick anything together. He doesn't tell them that it will only stick for 4 hours. Great ending to this one!
"Skeleton on the Dunny" is something of a ghost story centred around an outhouse. "Dunny" is an Australian slang word for toilet, used in a similar way to the American slang "the can". Really liked this story when I was a kid.
"Lucky Lips" is all about a sixteen year old boy whose never been kissed, but hopes to change all that with some magic invisble lipstick. Things end up getting a little crazy, though.
"Cow-Dung Custard" is a story designed to gross out, a type of story that Paul tends to write from time to time. This one's about a boy whose Dad is a prize winning gardener. He's a success thanks to his special combinations of animal manure. One of his combinations, "cow-dung custard" is a bit too special, and ends up causing chaos among the townsfolk.
"Lighthouse Blues" is another ghost story. A young lad goes to work as an apprentice on a lighthouse, and every Friday night he hears eerie music played on the saxophone, music whose lyrics seem to be trying to say something to him!
"Smart Ice-Cream" is an interesting one. A know-it-all boy is convinced that the local ice-cream truck is making his peers smarter by way of the ice-cream they eat. A short but sweet story (pardon the pun!)
"Wunderpants" is all about an enchanted pair of homemade underwear. I think that's all I need to say about that one!
Highly recommended to young readers. It's a lot of fun. If you enjoyed it, check out some of Paul Jennings other books like "Quirky Tales", "Uncanny" and "Unseen".
on September 20, 2001
I think that this story would be suited to children 7-12 years of age.
In this story there is a very smart boy who always gets 100 out of 100 for Maths and English.
He teases people with pimples and other problems, but Peppi the ice-cream man fixes these problems with ice-cream.
There is a twist at the end that you couldn't guess. Read to find out.
This was an okay story. It is pretty short but has enough infomation to get the story line across. There were a few funny parts that make the story interesting.