Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins: NY, 2010.
This book is the first volume of short stories of the Guys Read Library. Each volume will focus on a particular genre. This one is humorous stories. Guys Read is a website started by Jon Scieszka to promote reading among young boys.
As with all short story collections, I have a few favorites. The first is Artemis Begins by Eoin Colfer, a story about Colfer's brother, the inspiration for Artemis Fowl. Kid Appeal by David Lubar includes an attempt at the best school project. I love the project gone horribly wrong, but recorded for posterity. Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka's entry, Your Question For Author Here, is one of the best. A boy writes to an author for a class project, even though he didn't read her books. He is candid, but she doesn't let him off easy, and a real conversation ensues. A Fistful of Feathers by David Yoo has an ironic twist. For all of the boys out there who don't want to do exactly what there dads like or fit the expected societal mold. Have to admit I was wondering about the turkey's thoughts myself (a little creepy).
For those looking for grotesqueties, The Bloody Souvenir by Jack Gantos might be your thing. A boy seduced by danger and hiding it from his mother operates on himself with nasty consequences. My Parents Give My Bedroom To a Biker by Paul Feig is an odd tale. I like the beginning, but the explanation for the scenario is goofy to me. It may be just right for young boys, though. Christopher Paul Curtis's What? You Think You Got It Rough? is also not something I cared for, but I could see boys cringing and loving it. Unaccompanied Minors by Jeff Kinney is a prime example of sibling rivalry and harassment, lasting into adulthood. Will by Adam Rex features a school with superheroes-to-be, a perennial favorite. Best of Friends by Mac Barnett has two boys that are friends by default with one of them bailing in the end. It also includes one boy using a prize to solicit new friends.
There are some creative and bizarre stories in this collection. Just a few laugh out loud moments, but you'll find yourself laughing, or at least smirking(snickering), at the strangest antics.
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