Author: Robin Klein
Publisher: Puffin Books, 1984
Length: 182 pages
Genre: Junior Fiction
Erica Yurken, referred to as Yuk or Erk by her peers, considers herself a big fish in a small pond. Yuk is stuck slumming it in Baringa East with her eccentric, decidedly bogan family, whilst harbouring dreams of a life of fame and fortune. She is the star pupil (and a bit of a hypercondriac and know-it-all) of Baringa East Primary, until the arrival of new student, Alison Ashley. By all outward appearances, Alison Ashley is perfect and the teachers and other students dote on her, to Erica's chagrin. Yurk declares Alison her enemy, and things come to a head at the annual Grade Six Camp.
Now I have something to confess - I was (or if I'm really honest with myself, probably still am) a bit of a Yuk. I can remember so clearly the first time I read this book - it was at the start of Grade Six, and I also had a teacher who was very much like Baringa East's Miss Belmont. Looking back I was probably a bit of a know-it-all (like Erica) with a penchant for exaggeration, and was desperate to please this teacher (urgh, okay enough embarrassing trips down memory lane). Anyway, I loved this book, and it lead me to read many of Robin Klein's other novels. On a related note, when researching this post, I discovered something very sad. In 2005, Robin Klein suffered an aneurysm rupture which she survived, but left her unable to write anymore. A great loss in Australian Childrens literature.
Ten years later, they made it into a film.
Director: Geoff Bennett
Screenwriter: Christine Madafferi
Release Date: 2005
Cast: Saskia Burmeister, Delta Goodrem, Jean Kittson