Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. He was a frozen chicken thawer, sugar mill rolling stock unhooker, fashion industry trainee, student, department store Santa, TV producer, newspaper columnist and freelance screen-writer. Then in 1985 he wrote a novel for young people. Now he's a children's author.
Gr 4-8-- Concerned that his parents are divorcing due to financial problems, Keith Shipley runs away from his Barrier Reef home to Australia's opal fields, hoping to find his fortune. Along the way he learns quite a bit about himself, including a talent for painting. After being trapped in a mine, he and a friend do find an opal. Although his escapades cause even more strain on his parents' finances when they have to come and take him home, they are unconvincingly understanding, even agreeing to stay together for his sake. In an unbelievable moment of acceptance, the boy realizes that they are very unhappy and gives his approval to their divorce. The humor in this Australian import doesn't translate well and the adventure is far-fetched. --Jeanette Larson, Texas State Library, Austin