Anthony Buckeridge - Shastrix Books

Anthony Buckeridge

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Especially Jennings

Especially Jennings

Anthony Buckeridge

29th July 2018

The fifteenth Jennings story sees the foundation of the Jennings Membership Club - along with a variety of other mishaps that leave Jennings and his friends in various quantities of trouble with the school staff. It’s one of the stories that I read as a child but not one with a plot that particularly well stuck in my memory, so it was a delight to re-read.

As usual, many of the problems of Jennings’ young life and initiated through not thinking about long-term consequences, poor communication, or just unfortunate misunderstandings. The book portrays a delightful world of a boarding school from history, that is perhaps only half close to reality.

Some of the storylines do seem very familiar - the sort of thing that might have happened at my own school (vastly less posh that Linbury Court though it was) - and I’ve always enjoyed how this makes the antics of Jennings and Co very believable despite some of the more outlandish repercussions.

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Jennings of Course

Jennings of Course

Anthony Buckeridge

19th August 2016

The fourteenth Jennings novels sees us join the pupils at Linbury Court as their lost property cupboard is overflowing, the school Christmas concert approaches, and the school cook has left.

I can see this being a very funny story to a younger reader, but as an adult everything seemed a little bit too predictable and cringeworthy to actually make me laugh.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed another visit to the world of Jennings and to a story that I barely remembered from my younger self's readings - but it's probably not one of the best books in the series.

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Leave it to Jennings

Leave it to Jennings

Anthony Buckeridge

31st December 2015

Leave it to Jennings is the last new Jennings story I will ever read - having already read all the following stories when I was a child. It's taken me some time to get hold of a copy, as it seems it's the only book in the series that hasn't been republished any time recently and all the second hand copies are surprisingly expensive, so I suppose actually it's taken me the time to convince myself to pay for a copy, which I finally did earlier this year on a visit to Hay.

I've taken my time reading it, partly to savour it and partly because I didn't want to carry it around in my bag do have been taking it of the shelf just for a chapter or two at a time.

Overall, it's a pretty average Jennings story, depicting several episodes from his days at boarding school along with a throughrunning story of an inter-dorm competition and some prophecies received from a village fete fortune teller.

In general the plot is pretty tame and in places quite predictable, but maybe that's okay in a children's story. I couldn't see any particular reason that it would have been left out of any republishing, but maybe it's just because it didn't stand out in any way that it's never been picked.

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Just Like Jennings

Just Like Jennings

Anthony Buckeridge

23rd May 2012

Just Like Jennings is one of the entries in Anthony Buckeridge's series that I didn't have as a child. Clearly it was revised and republished sometime in the 00s, and that's the edition I've just read - despite the caption at the front of my copy that claims it's the original text.

It's classic Jennings, perhaps the adventures are slightly tamer compared to some of the books, but that gives it a more charming and believable nature.

One thing that stands out about this book in particular is the amount of time spent away from the school - almost all the books are split into three consecutive adventures, and all three here involve trips into the surrounding countryside or nearby village.

I didn't find it quite as laugh-out-loud funny as some of the earlier books - however this didn't let me down at all as the pleasure of reading new stories about some brilliant characters was enough.

I'm really surprised these books are generally out of print. I loved them as a child and I can't imagine that the modern audience, brought up on boarding school tales of Harry Potter, wouldn't find them just as delightful.

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The Trouble with Jennings

The Trouble with Jennings

Anthony Buckeridge

23rd March 2012

I'm pleased to discover that the Jennings books that I didn't manage to read as a child can manage to make me giggle in adulthood. This is another delightful tale of misunderstandings between schoolboys and their teachers at Linbury Court school.

This is actually one of the best of the series in my opinion, which makes it slightly surprising that it was not one of those chosen for reprinting in the 1980s. The story is framed around Jennings' new year's resolutions, and with the best of intentions the eleven-year-old schoolboy still manages to get into Mr Wilkins bad books.

Buckeridge had a special talent for writing about young boys and the differences in the way their minds work from the typical adult occupants of the world, and he tells a story that will, I think, still appeal to children and adults today.

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Jennings as Usual

Jennings as Usual

Anthony Buckeridge

19th July 2011

This is another of the Jennings books that were not available in the 90s when I was young, and I think I can understand why. While it is an amusing story, it mostly focusses on the relationship between Jennings and Mr Wilkins - there's nothing in particular that marks it out as special.

The book is, for once, entirely set within Linbury Court school and doesn't feature any notable guest characters. The usual comedic misunderstandings have dried up a bit though, and much of the plot consists of Mr Wilkins being baffled by his pupils' behaviour.

There's a problem with the printing of my copy (the red and white paperback published by House of Stratus). They've left out the illustrations from the original, but kept the captions for them, which just sit in the middle of the narrative. It was really distracting the first few times until I worked it out. I e-mailed the publishers to point this out but have yet to receive a reply (after 12 days).

Overall I found this to be possibly the weakest and least inspiring of the series. The next few are also ones I've not read yet and I hope they are an improvement as I've been quite looking forward to reading some 'new' adventures.

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Take Jennings for Instance

Take Jennings for Instance

Anthony Buckeridge

13th May 2011

Take Jennings for Instance is a fairly run of the mill entry in the series. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's equally not overly predictable and refuses to rely on the frequent set-up of an out-of-the-box misunderstanding to set up the plot.

The third-formers at Linbury Court have set up a Natural History club, and Jennings is keen to build up a collection of tadpoles. This serves as a backbone for the book, tying together several distinct adventures.

It's a good story, which led me to wonder why it's one that I don't really remember from when I read the Jennings novels as a child, however this was quite nice as I wasn't aware of what was coming up.

As with most of the Jennings books, there's nothing really to date them, and I really do wonder why they seem to be out of favour at the moment with booksellers/readers. I enjoyed them as a child and am enjoying them again now.

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Other reviewed books

Thanks to Jennings
Our Friend Jennings
According to Jennings
Jennings' Diary
Jennings and Darbishire
Jennings' Little Hut
Jennings Follows a Clue
Jennings Goes to School

Unreviewed books

Jennings Again
Jennings at Large
Jennings in Particular
Jennings Unlimited
Speaking of Jennings
The Jennings Report
Trust Jennings
Typically Jennings

Top books

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  2. Jennings' Little Hut
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  4. Leave it to Jennings
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  6. Take Jennings for Instance
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  8. Especially Jennings
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  10. Just Like Jennings
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  12. Jennings Goes to School
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  14. Jennings' Diary