When Jeff’s well-read mum decides that too much telly is a bad thing, he has to cope with the incredulity of his school-mates, while also finding other things to do. He tries every ruse in the book to catch up with the new cult game-show and maintain his street cred, but ends up instead with two new friends and a raft of new skills which culminate in his winning said game-show before either he – or we – really know what it is about. By this time, though conscious that he might be ‘outside common culture’, he has realised that at least he’s not hypnotised by TV as his old friends seem to be.
The message is clear – TV is OK ‘but there’s lots of other good stuff to do’. A well-paced story in which we experience Jeff’s changing feelings as he faces what might seem a fundamental challenge to modern children.