We’re engaged in a multi-generational love fest with Paul Jennings at the moment and if you’re wondering why, all the reasons you need are in his latest book The Unforgettable What’s His Name (illustrated by Craig Smith).
It isn’t just us either, as his recent interview with The Guardian showed –
For a generation of us, the theme from Australian series Round the Twist triggers an emotional response. With the show’s original fans hitting their 30s, there seems to be a groundswell of nostalgia for Round the Twist and its creator, Paul Jennings. Based largely on Jennings’ bestselling books, it was rude, scary, weird and funny.
Ali Webster, 34, a librarian at a Sydney primary school and lifelong Paul Jennings fan, says she fondly remembers being read his stories by her dad. “Paul Jennings’ books were my saviours when I was a new librarian, and needed to engage reluctant readers,” says Webster. “I tell the kids that the books are naughty and that they shouldn’t show their mums. That gets them interested.”
In Melbourne, there’s even a restaurant named after Paul! Mister Jennings is where we took Paul and illustrator Craig Smith to celebrate the book being sent off to the printers, and Paul & Craig took it upon themselves to leave a creative and personal thank you to the restaurant staff!
Mister Jennings is named after chef Paul Flaherty’s favourite childhood author, Paul Jennings, a throwback to the playful and fun insights you can see in Flaherty’s food today.
The Unforgettable What’s His Name
Like his early books, Paul’s latest offering The Unforgettable What’s His Name is a hilarious and action packed adventure story about a boy who wants to just blend in, that also deals with important issues like self-esteem and family.
Some kids don’t want to be noticed – and that’s OK. But the world is changing in such a way that it is more and more difficult to get by if you are shy.
I hope that the book tells the quiet people that their lives can be exciting and successful.
My books hardly ever mention a kid being on a computer. They’re based on the adventures that I used to have, and I think today’s kids would like to have. I mean, it’s more exciting to be in snow or on the edge of a cliff than on Facebook.
Win a signed book & illustration
To celebrate publishing The Unforgettable What’s His Name, we’re giving away two incredible prize packs. Each includes a glorious Craig Smith illustration from the book, plus a copy of The Unforgettable What’s His Name signed by both Paul and Craig – just fill in the form below for your chance to win:
NSW Premier's Reading Challenge
Paul recently spoke to 7,000 school kids about his love of writing for children, where his ideas come from and why he decided to write a book about a boy who is so desperate to blend in that he becomes invisible. You can watch this video, from the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge, below: