November 18, 2010

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Guys Read: Funny Business,
edited by Jon Scieszka, 2010, Walden Pond Press.

I have no business judging this book; it is specifically “packed with the kind of writing guys will enjoy, the kind of writing that gives guys a reason to want to be readers.” Eight- to 12-year-old guys, in particular. But I read it anyway, or some of it. I read “Artemis Begins,” by Eoin Colfer, and thoroughly enjoyed it — it’s about Colfer’s childhood and how one of his brothers was the inspiration for Artemis Fowl, the main character in Colfer’s popular series. I read “Your Question for Author Here,” by Kate DiCamillo & Jon Scieszka, and loved the back-and-forth of letters between school kid and famous author, Scieszka obviously writing as the school kid, DiCamillo as the author. In other hands it could’ve fallen flat but their voices are charming. I read “Unaccompanied Minors,” by Jeff Kinney, and it was good entertainment. I skimmed through the book and didn’t get hooked by any of the others — yet — but that’s OK, because I am not a guy. And anyway that’s how books like this go. You like some, you skip others. The rest of the contributors are Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, David Yoo, Christopher Paul Curtis, David Lubar, Mac Barnett and Adam Rex, who also supplies one illustration for each story. Go to www.guysread.com if you want the full story on this Guys Read project, the brainchild of Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, the Trucktown series of picture books, Math Curse and Science Verse, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, the Time Warp Trio books and plenty more. His Guys Write for Guys Read was published in 2005. For those three stories I mentioned, which are worth seeking out at your library at least, B+.