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Quirky Tails by Paul Jennings
Published by Puffin Books, 1990

Reviewed by Kilmihil Children’s Book Club

This is a selection of nine short stories by author Paul Jennings. The children found the book was easy to read and some said that they would prefer short stories to a longer novel, while others disagreed and would have liked some of the stories in the book to go on as most endings left them wondering what happened next.

The more popular stories in the book were No is Yes, Sneeze n Coffin, The Copy and Spooks Incorporated.

In No is Yes, Ralph goes to visit Dr. Scrapes and meets his daughter. He can’t understand why she says things the wrong way until Dr. Scrapes tells him that she has never spoken to any other person but him all of her life, and when he talked to her he changed words around. No was yes, salt was sugar and so on. Of course, in time Dr. Scrapes gets his comeuppance.

Sneeze n Coffin is a hilarious story about a girl whose stepfather is an undertaker – for both pets and humans.

The Copy is another quirky tale about a new invention – a copy machine that can make exact copies of anything, even people, with disastrous results.

Spooks Incorporated is both scary and funny. Two men have started a business venture, spooks for hire. They are hired by relatives to scare off other people, but things backfire when they meet up with the ghost of a headless chicken.

The book was well liked by the book club members and was given nine marks out of ten. The stories are extremely funny but also sometimes quite strange and scary.