Round the Twist
144pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Thirty years ago, if you wanted to capture the kids’ attention, particularly boys, through books, no teacher was without a copy of one of the latest Paul Jennings short story collections. Unreal, Uncanny, Unmentionable, Un-anything – pull it out at any time and you immediately had their undivided attention. Here, in a few short pages, was someone who mentioned the unmentionable and who brought a blush to the face of many a sensitive teacher (part of the appeal of the stories).
And then Jennings invented the Twist family, fourteen-year-old twins Pete and Linda, eight-year-old son Bronson, and father Tony, a widowed artist who makes sculptures. They live in an old lighthouse on a rugged part of the Victorian coastline and their madcap adventures became one of the most popular on television at the time, and which is now enjoying a resurgence on streaming services. Beginning in print form first (the new release has the original cover) Jennings agreed to work on the television series in partnership with Esben Storm and this gave him the unique insight into how the series was made that is included in this latest release which includes three of the original stories.
Because of the popularity of both Jennings himself, and the series which ran for 11 years, there is a generation of Australians who not only know his name but can attribute their reading success to his works and so they will be delighted that such a significant part of their childhood is now opening up for their own children – if, indeed, it ever disappeared. Fun for fun’s sake!