Guys Read: Funny Business
I am not a professional literary critic nor do I have any idea about how to write a “proper” book review, but when I was given the chance to read this book and to write about it, well, it was on opporunity I could not pass up.
As you all know, I am a teacher. I am passionate about books written for children. I am also a mother of two boys. And as a teacher, book lover and mom I feel I know what makes a good book good and a not-so-good book well, not-so-good. And, this book, Guys Read: Funny Business is a good book! It is good because it does what it claims to do– it is funny! It is laugh out loud funny.
Guys Read: Funny Business, is part of a series of books edited by the great Jon Scieszka (Stinky Cheese Man, True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Time Warp Trio etc) whose aim is to create confident and enthusiastic boy readers. Guys Read: Funny Business is a collection of 10 short stories written by some of the best writers of children’s fiction. Writers include– Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo & Jon Scieszka, Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, and David Yoo. As I was reading the book, I actually found myself laughing out loud! At other times, I had to remember that the stories in this book are geared for boys ages 8 and up and so I “became” an 8 boy year old reading the book and I found myself, again, laughing out loud. I was also grossed out, freaked out, bummed out and a little spooked out, too. 🙂
My favorite story by far was written by Jonathon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo called, “Your Question Here.” The story tells of the correspondence between a not-so-enthusiastic student and an author. The student writes to the author as part of a school assignment. He says, “We are reading a book in school where a kid writes to an author. So we have to write to an author.” He then adds, “We are also studying the ‘parts of a friendly letter.’ So this is also a friendly letter.” The boy then describes a bit about the book they are reading and how the author in the story writes back and “saves the kid’s life or something.” He then asks the author to “send a bunch of author stuff so we can get this over with.” Needless to say the author, Mrs. O’Toole, doesn’t take too kindly to this letter, but writes back anyway and through her letters, she is actually able to turn the boy around- he writes a poem, reads more books and just maybe Mrs. O’Toole saves this young boy’s life as well. The letters between the teacher and student are hilarious and you can actually feel the animosity of the student, the disgust of the author (in the beginning) and then you feel them both turn the corner to become friends.
Another story I enjoyed and am actually surprised I am saying this is Jack Gantos’, “The Bloody Souvenier.” I am surprised because what happens in the story is totally and utterly disgusting, but when I summoned the inner 10 year old boy in me, I found my self laughing, relating and truly enjoying the story. I won’t give away what happens, but will tell you this- it is involves a wart and a rusty pair of needle-nose pliers.
Oh, and if you are looking for a good story to read to your kids (8 and up please) during the Thanksgiving holiday, try “A Fist Full of Feathers” by David Yoo, but please read it AFTER dinner…
Title: Guys Read: Funny Business
Author: A collection of stories and illustrations edited by Jon Scieszka
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publishing Date: September 21, 2012
Reading Level: Ages 8 and up
For more information about Guys Read and Jon Scieszka, check out these links:
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