Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Guys Read Funny Business edited by John Scieszka
It’s here: Volume One of the official Guys Read Library. Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read initiative was founded on a simple premise: that young guys enjoy reading most when they have reading they can enjoy. And out of this comes a series that aims to give them just that. Ten books, arranged by theme, featuring the best of the best where writing for kids is concerned. Each book is a collection of original short stories, but these aren’t your typical anthologies—each book is edgy, inventive, visual, and one-of-a-kind, featuring a different theme for guys to get excited about.
Funny Business is based around the theme of—what else?—humor, and if you’re familiar with Jon and Guys Read, you already know what you’re in store for: ten hilarious stories from some of the funniest writers around. Before you’re through, you’ll meet a teenage mummy; a kid desperate to take a dip in the world’s largest pool of chocolate milk; a homicidal turkey; parents who hand over their son’s room to a biker; the only kid in his middle school who hasn’t turned into a vampire, wizard, or superhero; and more. And the contributor list includes bestselling author, award winners, and fresh new talent alike: Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo (writing with Jon Scieszka), Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, and David Yoo.
Guys Read is all about turning young readers into lifelong ones—and with this book, and each subsequent installment in the series, we aim to leave no guy unturned.
I won this book in just a random Twitter follow a few months ago from Walden Pond Press. I don't read short stories very often but this one pulls you in and you can't help but read this one. First of all, it's got a plethora of funny kid authors. Then, they are writing funny stories. What more could you ask for? The stories range from chuckle funny to so funny I was wiping my eyes trying to read. Some of my favorites were the ones by Eoin Colfer with "Artemis Begins" and "Your Questions for Author Here" by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka.
In Artemis Begins, Eoin Colfer tells an apparently autobiographical story of growing up with four brothers and how one of his brothers lived a charmed life able to sweet talk his way out of anything. An unlikely role for the middle child, Donal was something of a hero in the neighborhood giving out and later trading his "favors, tricks, con jobs, and sob stories" for candy and what have you. Now, if you've ever read the Artemis Fowl series, you can appreciate the Artemis in Donal or the Donal in Artemis. The story has an ultimate piece de resistance that is a must read and had me laughing throughout thinking, "That is so Artemis!"
But, even if you haven't read Artemis, you can appreciate the story for the sheer genuis of Donal.
The other story that I found so amusing was "Your Question for Author Here" by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka. It's the story of a boy with a school assignment to write to an author and he wants the author to do all the work. Instead, she ends up making him do the work and then some. Joe sends a Perfunctory letter, though he is supposed to send a Friendly letter and gets a Perfunctory letter back. Through a series of letters, he and the author become friends and Joe learns about writing fom the author. Even so, his assignment doesn't go as planned and the story ends with a surprising twist making authors the hereos of the day!
Many favorite authors are included in this book of short stories and if you have a reader that checks for how many pages are in the book, this is the book for him. (I've found boys do that for the most part in my library volunteering and mothering, but I"m sure girls do it, too.) I think reading short stories are easier sometimes for kids that don't like to read or who aren't as sure of their reading skills. This is the perfect book for them. But, if you aren't a kid, don't let that stop you from reading this book. I passed being a kid many years ago and I loved this book! And a must is the trailer that is posted on the Amazon site where you can order the book. It features all of the authors telling a joke and it is great!
I recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy these authors, it's fun to see them write something outside their genre. Great for any age!
Heather in Sandwich