Short Stuff, by Mark Stevens

(from Winning the Wink)
Henson Hobecker loved soccer. He was a soccer fanatic. He was a soccer freakoid. He loved it more than chocolate, even. Which is’t to say that Henson Hobecker didn’t like chocolate – he would have thumb-wrestled just about anyone for a handful of chocolate! He just loved soccer more.
Henson’s team was the Highcliff Cove Under 12s, and his bedroom was a shrine to the sport he worshipped. Every centimetre of wall was covered with posters and clippings of his favourite Manchester United players, even the ones who didn’t play that often.

Short Stuff is, as the title suggests, a series of short stories about all sorts of ‘stuff’. Read about amazing soccer games and the dangers inherent in trying to change your appearance…even the tiniest bit. Discover what it is that makes someone special and experience the creepiest of practical jokes. It’s all here. There are stories about good luck and stories about the advantages of honesty. Ten short stories. Ten tall tales. Titles range from the intriguing, ‘$42.10’ to the mysterious, ‘Flathead at Porcupine Beach’. There is also the identifiably gross ‘Tom’s Magic Booger’.

Short Stuff, a collection of ten short stories, is a mix of unbound imagination and outrageous humour. Mark Stevens sets off on a riotous adventure and pulls readers with him into a world often unfettered by reality. It’s a great fun place to visit. Stories are short enough to entice reluctant readers and there is an index at the front so they can skip through to whichever story most takes their fancy. Characters seem to be around 11-13 years old and all exhibit the enthusiasm and physicality of the age group. There are challenges, mysteries and journeys into self-awareness. But more importantly, the stories are fast-paced and laugh-out-loud-funny. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers, and older reluctant readers.

Short Stuff, Mark Stevens
Working Title Press 2008