Paul Jennings (born 1943) is an Australian children's author, who primarily writes compilations of short stories featuring Twist Endings.
The first and second series of television show Round the Twist were written by Paul Jennings and based on his published short stories; episodes after this point were original stories written by other people.
His work is often quirky in style, often drawing upon weird, spooky and fantastical occurrences, including liberal amounts of gross-out humour and Nightmare Fuel. For these last reasons especially, Moral Guardians have frequently questioned the appropriateness of his work for younger readers. For much the same reasons, these younger readers have often loved it.
Jennings' work provides examples of:
- Anyone Can Die
- Be Careful What You Wish For: His favourite Aesop.
- Body Horror: The main characters of Burp and Nails, amongst others.
- Body to Jewel: The main character of Tonsil Eye 'Tis grows a third eye on his finger that cries tears that grow into garden gnomes. In the end, he starts a business selling them.
- Cloning Blues: The Copy.
- Ambiguous Clone Ending: Played With - The Copy has the same memories as the main character, and becomes convinced that he is the original, and that "The Copy" is trying to live his life. It turns out the first part of the story is told using the clone's memories instead of the original's, and the original is dead
- Expendable Clone
- Downer Ending: Quite a lot.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In one story, the Jerkass narrator is a know-it-all bully who regularly taunts and teases people while scoring high on tests. Over the course of the story, the people who he taunts and teases receive free ice cream from a mysterious ice cream man, and subsequently lose the trait he was teasing them about (e.g. a pimply-faced character's acne disappears overnight). Infuriated that he doesn't get any ice cream, he breaks into the man's truck at night and eats all the ice cream he finds. The final part of the story is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, as the narrator wonders what happened... and can't work out whether one plus one is "free or for?"
- Also, the Gizmos in the Gizmo series wouldn't have caused so much trouble if the characters had just left them alone.
- Hurricane of Puns: His joint books with Ted Greenwood and Terry Denton, Spooner Or Later and Freeze A Crowd.
- Jerkass: One will always show up in his stories, usually as an antagonist, rarely as a protagonist.
- Magic A Is Magic A: His Twist Endings frequently follow logically from a previously established trait or truth of the work.
- Nightmare Fuel: A list of his stories that don't have some would be the shorter option.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In Nails, mermen are established as having legs, but are covered in scales that resemble fingernails.
- Picky People Eater: The Slobberers from Wicked!
- Scary Scarecrows: Know All features a scarecrow come to life due to a circus curse.
- Spoonerism: The whole point of Spooner Or Later.
- Tear Jerker: A number, especially For Ever from Uncovered!. Just you try and keep those last few pages in focus!
- Tomato Surprise and Tomato in the Mirror: A number of his stories, but notably The Copy.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: The story Ice Maiden features a boy kissing an ice sculpture and getting stuck.
- Urban Fantasy: Most of his stories.
- Verbal Tic: Without a Shirt is about a boy who can't help adding the titular phrase to everything he says.
- Widget: His stories can more or less be considered weird Australian things.
- Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: The last line of Santa Claws is, "I wish you didn't have such a big mouth."
- Fridge Logic: But the wish before that should have wiped away all the wishes, and killed the granter.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Looking into the eye of a Seeshell lets you see the future, and everything you see will happen. With a dash of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.