'What section do you want to advertise in? Toys? Sporting Equipment? Computers and Video Games?'
The woman in the newspaper office took off her glasses and polished them on her cardigan.
'What are you advertising?'
'My Parents,' said Keith.
What does a kid do when his Mum and Dad are past it?
Get them into shape, decides Keith. And find them new partners.
It's a brilliant plan-but he'll need help.
Convinced that his separated parents have little chance of attracting new mates due to their advanced ages (36 and 37) and excess body fat, Keith, 13, the budding artist previously met in Misery Guts and Worry Warts, goes on an all-out campaign to make them over, or at least get them dates. His first effort-advertising them in realistic nude portraits at a school art exhibit-is spectacularly unsuccessful. And a mural with their idealized, swimsuit-clad figures on the side of a building in their South London neighborhood only causes the local travel agent to sell more beach holidays. But no matter: with his fearless best friend, Tracy, and her Aunty Bev, a Spandex-clad beautician, coming to visit from Australia, Keith figures he'll have his folks made over and dating in no time. However, things don't turn out as Keith had planned: Mum finds a boyfriend on her own; neither Dad's new look nor his romance with Bev suits him; and Bev is hounding Tracy mercilessly about getting fat. Everything comes out all right in the end, but not until Keith realizes that looks aren't everything. If the message Gleitzman conveys isn't wholly new, seldom has it been so gleefully and palatably presented. A punchy narrative, droll characters and original plot make this a real page-turner. Ages 8-12.