When I heard that this book was coming out, I was excited. My 11-year-old daughter is a bookworm, but still loves humor. My 6-year-old son can read well, but reading doesn’t always grab his attention, so I know that it’s going to be up to me to provide him with books that interest and entice him.
I previewed this book with that in mind — wondering if it would please my tween daughter, and also wanting to store up some great resources for my son a few years down the road.
Guys Read: Funny Business is wonderful and fit the bill on both counts.
The authors who contribute the short stories in this book are a veritable who’s who of children’s writers: Jon Scieszka (who also edited the book and is the mastermind behind the Guys Read site), Kate DiCamillio, Jeff Kinney, Eoin Colfer and many more.
As the title suggests, these stories all have one thing in common — they are funny. The voice is good and conversational, which makes these great to read-aloud, either parent to child or child to parent. They also touch on some important issues such as friendship, courage, integrity and fitting in.
And just because these stories are funny and are targeted towards reluctant readers, don’t think that means that they lack literary merit. I love the creativity and imagination that flows from great children’s writing. Take for example the first sentences of the first story in the book “Best of Friends” by Mac Barnett: “Ernest was a nerd, but it was fourth grade: we were all nerds. Even the best of us was shackled to some fatal flaw.”
This story along with “Dear Lady Author” by Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillio were my favorites (that one had Amanda and me laughing out loud as I read it aloud). I know I already mentioned that these stories are great to read aloud, but it bears repeating: they make great read-alouds.
Do yourself a favor — preorder Guys Read: Funny Business (which publishes September 21), buy it for your child’s teacher’s class library, or put it on your child’s Christmas wish list. It’s wonderful, and it’s just volume one in the Guys Read library. I can’t wait for future books in the Guys Read series: Nonfiction, Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery, and Sports (edited to add a link to the Guys Read: Thriller book).
I’ve marked it a 5-Star Read because I love the idea of the book, and then it lived up to its promise, with me enjoying each and every story.
Content Note: In an effort to appeal to boys (and honestly to just meet them where they are), there is a fair bit of potty humor, and “The Bloody Souvenir” speaks for itself — reading it aloud with my daughter, we were both grimacing. Most of the boys in the stories are in 4th grade and older, and I think that’s a good recommended age to begin enjoying this book.
Managing editor Jennifer Donovan is not a guy. She does read, and she is married to a guy who was once a little boy, and she’s raising a little guy. She blogs about non-gender-bending topics at Snapshot.