Round The Twist (Series 1):
Cabbage Patch Fib.
Australian Childrens Television Foundation, 1989. 24 minutes, VHS, $79.95
each of 13 episodes.
Distributed by T.H.A. Media Distributors Ltd.
1 (800) 661-4919.
Grades 7 - 9 / Ages 12 - 14.
Review by A.Edwardsson.
The Round the Twist TV series was developed from short
stories by one of Australia's most popular children's authors, Paul
Jennings. (Penguin Books Canada has recently published the stories of
Paul Jennings in print form.) Each episode is self-contained and has a
surprising twist at the end.
The sample episode, "Cabbage Patch Fib," has several problems. The
series focuses on the lives of the members of a single-parent family
living on the coast. Bronson, aged seven or eight, is the star of this
"Cabbage Patch Fib" refers to the lie Bronson's brother tells him
about where babies come from. Bronson asks his distracted Dad if this is
true, and he agrees. The boy goes out at night followed by his bemused
brother to check their cabbage patch. Surprise -- he finds a green baby
lying under some leaves.
The baby is only happy when Bronson is holding him. When his brother
takes it in his arms, the baby holds its breath and turns blue. The same
thing happens when anyone else tries to hold it. The family keeps the
green infant, and enjoys the media circus.
Soon, however, the novelty wears off and everyone is yelling at
Bronson to tend the baby. He has to take it to school, and finds he can't
play with his friends at breaks because he has to feed it. In class,
everyone complains when the stinky "nappies" need changing.
One night, he decides enough is enough and creeps out to return the
baby to the cabbage patch. He leaves it under the leaves and stands by
the garden fence watching it turn blue. His brother and sister rush in
imploring Bronson to help them as they try to revive the infant with
mouth-to-mouth respiration. Finally, Bronson relents and they put the
baby into his arms, where it turns back to its normal green colour.
Then comes the twist: suddenly, one of the cabbages begins to shake
and then grow. When it is spaceship-sized, a leaf opens and a green mother
rushes out. She seizes her baby from Bronson, scolding him in a foreign
language (followed by green media people with microphones and video
recorders). They return to the cabbage, which shrinks back to normal size
as a tearful Bronson waves and says "Good-bye son."
The next day the family digs up all the cabbages in the garden. The
elder kids tell the Dad to explain the facts of life to Bronson. Later,
his sister sees the youngster dragging a ladder, and asks him what's up.
He responds that he's going to block the chimney so a stork can't nest
there. "It's called BIRD CONTROL" (ha, ha).
There are some disturbing aspects to this story. No one investigates
the child's sudden appearance, and the media uproar is unbelievably
short-lived. While fishing with his siblings, Bronson is annoyed when
he's interrupted by the screaming infant. He leans over the basinet and
warns the baby "I'll give you something to cry about." And after dumping
it back in the garden, he watches, stone-faced, while the baby appears to
The story is weak, and so are the special effects. The same shot is
replayed each time the baby "turns blue." (It appears to hold its
breath, then freezes and a blue light shines on its face.) The green
mother appears to be wearing a wrap-around towel. Viewers would have to
know the facts of life to get the "jokes," and if so, it's doubtful
they'll be entertained by the trials of eight-year-old Bronson.
The sound quality and pacing are fine, but the colour is a bit
washed out. There are a variety of shots indoors and outside.
Although it's essentially harmless, this video isn't recommended for
school or library purchase,
A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of
the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a
Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba
branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
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