What We're Reading: Adventures in Children's Books

Wunderpants!


Paul Jennings, "Wunderpants," in his collection Unreal! (Puffin Books)
Editor's Note: Over the Christmas Holidays, I received the following e-mail message. I present it here with only minor editing. I can't wait to find out if the book is actually as good as this summary!

Dear David,

Hi! Greetings from Sydney, Australia.

I liked your area in the internet, called "What We're Reading." I decided to make a contribution to it. I am a nine years old girl born in Australia, and I will be in year 4 next year.

I have a favourite book, called Wunderpants, by Paul Jennings. It is about a boy, who had run out of underwear. His mother gave him new ones, with girl type stuff on it. He hates them, but he has to wear them. The boy has a mouse, and the mouse was going to run in a mouse race. The boy's father gets angry, because he found mouse hairs in his toothbrush. The boy forgets that it is the athletical day, and, when he meets his best friend at the door, he suddenly gets embarrassed. He is going to have to change in front of a whole lot of people! The one he fears most is a school bully. He is so very embarrassed that he starts throwing stones. He threw one so high that his best friend practictly, faints! He and his best friend are so surprised by the strength. Then he throws stones over the lake. He throws a stone across the lake. Then they find out that he can lift a park bench. He forgets about the pants for a while. Then, when they approach the school, they remember. When the school fun run began, the boy runs so fast that soon, the whole school is out of sight. The big bully, was shocked, since he and his mouse were the fastest people (and mice). When the boy runs, to a pond, he decides that he should lie around. He jumps in the lake, and then he rests for awhile. While he was bathing, he felt something funny happening to the underpants. He doesn't worry. But he should have. His pants were shrinking. When he actually knew that his pants were shrinking, he started to run. But he had taken his underpants off, and was wearing his athletical suit. Somehow, he couldn't run fast. Then he realized that his pants gave him the strength. The pants had now shrunk that they could only fit in his thumb! He sees the school catching up. He has to run home naked. I won't tell you that part. But anyway, he figures out that the mouse can wear those pants, and in the race his mouse gets first place. That is the end. I am sure you will like it so does my other friends in the states.

By the way, we are now on school holiday, and I am staying with Dad in Sydney. As the New Year is just around the corner, I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 1997.

--Susan Zhuang


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Monday, January 6, 1997
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