A boy buys a video cassette player with a remote control at a jumble sale, or car boot sale. It was described as being made from a "spongy" material, and was possibly green (and maybe pink, although I'm less sure on that). I remember the sponginess specifically, because I thought he should have realised it wasn't normal at that point!

Later, he was watching something when his mum (I think) walked in front of it and he paused her by mistake. I think he could play/pause/fast-forward and rewind her. I think he then took the remote control out and about (possibly to school).

I'd have read this between 2000 and 2004. I think it was either a short standalone book, or a 'chapter' in a compendium of children's fantasy/sci-fi stories. Aimed I would guess at 8-12 year olds. It might have included pictures. If it did, they were typical children's book black and white line drawings, slightly cartoony.

1 Answer 1


I believe this is the short story "Spaghetti Pig-Out", originally published within Paul Jennings' Uncanny! collection in 1988, which was reprinted several times in the 1990s.

A boy receives an odd-looking video player as a gift from his dad, who "bought it off a bloke in a pub" for fifty dollars. The player is described as being green and spongy, with an opening in the front. The remote control is also green, and is described as looking like a bar of chocolate with a couple of licorice blocks stuck on the top. The boy subsequently discovers that the remote control works on people and animals, when he inadvertently pauses his cat.

You can view a preview of Uncanny! at the Internet Archive.

The story was also adapted into an episode of the TV series, Round the Twist.

  • 2
    Yes! That's it. It was a cat! Thank you. Commented May 27, 2021 at 13:48
  • 1
    THANK YOU for posting that video. The "Round the Twist" song was just what I needed to cheer me up today!
    – AJM
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 12:24

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