UFO is a tale of mishap as a family of 5 set out in their old Morris from Sydney headed for Cape York. Trying to do the trip in two weeks (spoiler alert), they only make it to outback Queensland and manage to lose luggage, wallets and a car along the way.
I had a few laugh out loud moments whilst I read this book but I am unsure whether the kids I teach and the youth of 2012 would find it as amusing (it was published in 2006). I know many students in coastal Victoria haven’t done the family road trip interstate, they may have been to Queensland but are just as likely to fly (because it is cheap). Earlier in the year I talked with a Year 10 group about an extract from a short story which was also about a road trip to Qld –
A bit further on there was what Mum called a classic Australian scene: a range of hills in the distance, shining blue bitumen, a bit of old truck tyre, and a dead wallaby on the side of the road. “One of Australia’s fur lined highways,” said Jack Jr.
Craig McGregor Day trip to Surfers
However, only one or two kids understood the scene that was being described. More indicated they had been on long drives with their family but said they played with their phones/ ipods etc. and watched DVDs so they didn’t worry about the length of the journey and didn’t look at the surrounds. So the humor that I found in the boredom, incessant teasing and squishiness of a journey in an old Morris from Sydney to Qld, driving through an often dull landscape with dodgy roadside stops might be lost on them. To me, it is my experience that makes it amusing (having done Sydney to Surfers a few times and a trip to Cape York!). Perhaps the sequels, UFO in the USA and UFO Afloat have a wider appeal.