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Posts Tagged ‘Humerous stories’

Just Doomed by Andy Griffiths Illustrated by Terry Denton

March 17, 2012 Comments off

Just Doomed by Andy Griffiths, Illus. Terry Denton. Pub. Pan Macmillan, 1012.

You know when you are doomed when you hear a noise like a piano falling through the air at you and you look up and there is a piano falling through the air at you“.

That sentence sums up the type of writing you are going to experience in this book. You will know  from reading Andy Griffiths other books like Just Stupid and The Day my Bum went Psycho which were hugely popular.

You will also know that Andy Griffiths has got reluctant boy readers especially, reading his books in droves. It is not classic literature but the stories and the books are classics. The 100 ways to know you are doomed are classic.

My favourite three stories from this novel are the time Andy is sent by his mother to pick up her handbag and he doesn’t want to be seen walking with it. The time tthe Griffith family check into a nudist colony for a holiday by accident because they misunderstood the term “naturist”. And finally a brilliant take off of the pick-a-path adventure novels in which the wrong path and even the right path will lead you to doom.

Just wonderful. For readers from middle school through to junior high school.

Great Mates. 30 NZ Stories for children. Edited by Barbara Else Illus. Philip Webb

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Great Mates. 30 NZ Stories for Children Ed. Barbara Else. Illus. Philip Webb. Pub. Random House, 2011.

They say if you make one good friend in your life then you are lucky but this book shows you 30 different ways to have friends from 30 different New Zealand writers.

Elizabeth Pulford starts with a story called Snake-breath and Sweetie Pie about pets that drags the reader in and David Hill finishes with Double Trouble about on-line friends that love to fight to complete reader satisfaction. In between their are sports stories, alien stories, animal stories, space stories, hunting stories, climbing stories all involving children.

The stories are no longer than 4 pages. The sentences and paragraphs are short and the language is very accessible. Ideal for reluctant readers who need stimulation but want to get there fast.

I would see this title as an essential purchase for school libraries and a good choice for the home as well Particularly for primary school children up to intermediate level.

Barbara Else and Philip Webb have combined before and this is the nineth in the series. Check them all out, the kiwiness and universality of the stories is great.

Middle School. The Worst years of my life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Middle School the worst years of my life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. Pub. Young Arrow, 2011.

A bit of a laugh this but it has a serious side. Great for boys who like the silly stuff like Andy Griffiths books.

Rafe Khatchadorian lives with his mother Jules his sister Georgia and their mothers pretty awful boyfriend who the kids call Bear. Rafe also has an imaginary friend who we find out about later in the story but is instrumental in setting Rafe on a plan of disruption that will change his life forever.

On his first day at school Rafe along with all the other children, is given the big talk at assembly in which the school Code of Conduct is read. Rafe being artistic and imaginative decides on a course of disruption. He sets out to break every code on the Code of Conduct but balks at hurting anybody else. His actions are absurd and funny at the same time and they are excellently illustrated by Laura Park’s illustrations.

Will appeal to year 5,6,7,8 children with reading ages 9-12years. Totally harmless but fun and does deal with serious issues like bullying and bad step-parenting.

Guys Read. Funny Business. Edited by Jon Scieszka

April 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Funny Business. Edited by Jon Scieszka. Pub. Walden Pond Press, imprint HarperCollins, 2010.

If you really want reluctant boy readers to read, a good start is to give them short stories especially by a group of very good writers. This is such a book.  All the stories are funny, bizarre, or zany,  qualities that make them popular with reluctant boy readers.

Boys just love to have fun and the weirder the stories the better they like them.

Mac Barnett gets the ball rolling with a story about friendship but Eoin Colfer’s story of a cunning brother is the story that sets this collection alight with  Colfer  revealing the origins of his idea for the Artemis Fowl series.

Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka swap letters between a writer and a reluctant fan in a story Your Question for Author Here,  then David Yoo blows you away with a reverse psychology story between father and son involving a turkey.

A bizarre story about brothers by Jeff Kinney, a Christopher Paul Curtis story of a demented grandfather, a Paul Fieg story of aliens taking over a household and being thwarted by a broccoli eating boy, then a final beauty by Jack Gantos that makes Jackass look tame and you have an excellent collection of yarns suitable for primary and intermediate school boys.

Junior High students will look back with fondness at these stories too and don’t forget the girls, these stories are a good insight into the male psyche, and heaps of fun too.

Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Billionaire Boy by David Walliams. Illus Tony Ross. Pub.HarperCollins, 2010.

Another insane book by Little Britain writer and actor David Walliams. This time Walliams takes a swipe at money, it’s importance and it’s effects on people. He looks at old money, new money and no money and has a good old time about it.

Joe Spud is an ordinary school boy whose father struck it rich when he invented a new type of toilet paper. Filthy rich as it were, the bog roll king. Joe is embarrassed by this and leaves his posh Private School because he is bullied mercilessly about his new money.

He decides to go incognito to the local school in an effort to be ordinary and to meet his greatest desire to have a genuine friend. Isn’t that lovely! Well he does. He meets fat boy, Bob, who is mercilessly bullied by the Grubb twins. Joe helps his friend by bribing the bullies with money and when Bob finds out he doesn’t want a bar of it. Then something happens that you will have to read the book to find out. Or you couild bribe me to tell you.

In between time Walliams has a dig at school lunches, the school system as a whole and the worst human behaviours concerned with money. It is a great deal of fun and if you have read The Boy in the Dress (reviewed below) or Mr Stink then you will know what I mean.

While this book is over 250 pages it is in large print and has Tony Ross’s excellent illustrations throughout, making it an easiy to read book. Ideal for boys with an absurd sense of humour, and lets face it many boys are like that.

Wide appeal in age group from primary through to junior secondary students. Have fun and read it.

Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen. Pub. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010.

Gary Paulsen is a legend in children’s literature especially with books that have appeal for boys. In this sequel to Lawn Boy, he has done it again.

Lawn Boy is twelve years old and his grandfather left him a motor mower when he died. He started mowing lawns to earn some money and business went wild. A stockbroker client invested some of the money he made and hit the jackpot. Suddenly lawn Boy is worth $480,000 and is sponsor of a prize fighter. Through all of this action Gary Paulsen explains in simple terms the basic principles of Capitalism Economics, and boy is it fun.

In this sequel the business expands and Arnold, Lawn Boy’s stockbroker helps him hire staff including lawyers accountants, press agents etc and it drives Lawn Boy crazy. In between time Lawn Boy’s grandmother gets involved and mystery family members come out of the closet looking for a handout. All the perils of being “nouveau riche” are explored  with tongue very much in cheek.

The ending is brilliant although very far fetched as you would expect.

A great yarn, easy to read, less than 100 pages and ideal for the reluctant reader of Intermediate and junior secondary age. You will love it.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green & David Leviathan

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green & David Leviathan. Pub. Text Publishing, 2010.

I thought that Going Bovine by Libba Bray was about as out there as you can get. I was wrong. This co-written novel is off this planet.

I have read books by David Leviathan before notably Boy Meets Boy and Nick & Norah, in which he portrays both gay and heterosexual relationships and is really saying that they are parallel and comparable. Him and John Green do the same in this novel.

The first chapter by John Green  portrays Will Grayson as a boy who is scared to be hurt in the emotional stakes and plays his cards pretty close to his chest. His best friend is an ostentatiously gay, Tiny, a big boy who is able to get away with his behaviour without being physically abused because he is huge and his parents are filthy rich. Tiny has many relationships that all start with huge passion and end a few days later or sometimes hours later in grief.

The second chapter by David Leviathon portrays his Will Grayson as an anal retentive gay with a shocking attitude, a filthy mouth and  bitter. He has a girl friend Maura, who is as bitter as he is. This Will Grayson is having an on-line relationship with Isaac,  is madly in love and wants to meet him.

When “straight” Will Grayson is turned away from the door at a concert for being too young he goes into a porn shop across the road which happens to be the address that the “gay” Will Grayson is to meet Isaac.

When both Will Grayson boys meet their lives change for ever. Brilliant. But does the book end well? Some will think so but like me others will not be so sure. Make your own mind up, but it is definitely worth reading.

What really makes this book great is the dialogue. It is sharp, it is bitchy, it is funny, it is cruel, it is intelligent, it is cool, it is hip, it is everything you want to say yourself, but the words never come. You will smile and laugh at the interaction between the characters.

The contrasting heterosexual relationship in this book is between “straight” Will Grayson and Jane. It is a “slow burn” relationship in which Will cannot make up his mind and when Jane is interested in someone else things rapidly change. Compare this to the gay relationship which is fast, furious, passionate and over before it’s begun.

Green and Leviathan have written a winner but not everybody is going to think so. The language will deter some, but heavens it is life. Definitely Senior secondary in appeal.

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A.Spratt. Pub. Random House, 2009

This book is just brilliant! I read it with a continuous smile on my face because while it is aimed at Junior readers from 8years old to 11 years old, there are enough in house adult jokes to laugh over.

It is an old fashioned “shaggy dog” story, well several of them really, and it is great to read humour, which has been lacking in children’s literature of late.

Nanny Piggins is a pig, of course, who has run away from the circus as she is sick of being fired out of a cannon, in spite of being the star of the show.

She applies for the job of nanny to Derrick, Samantha and Michael Green. Their father is a morally bankrupt lawyer who lacks a sense of humour, is totally stressed, and is a miser to boot.

Nanny Piggins loosens the whole family up with range of adventures with the co-operative children, from bunking school, visiting an art museum, hiding a Russian bear, capturing a burglar and eating mountains of chocolate.

R.A. Spratt is an Australian writer and if she writes other Nanny Piggins books as good as this then she is going to be in the money. I will certainly read them. While this book is not politically correct it is heaps of fun and as far as I am concerned the more fun there is in reading the better.

Suitable for junior readers and older readers who want a laugh. A great classroom read-a-loud for years 3/4/5.

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Are These my basoomas I see before me? by Louise Rennison

Are these my Basoomas I see before me? by Louise Rennison. Pub. HarperCollins, 2009

This is the tenth and last book about the confessions of a pre teen girl, now a teenager, called Georgia Nicolson. They are told in diary form and began with the excellent Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging.

I asked myself when I picked up number 10, what has made these books so popular? After reading this I know why.

It is the humour. These books are hugely funny,silly and  perceptive. Try this for size from the book:- A boy turns up at a fancy dress party piggy backing his girlfriend. The host says “what have you come as?” Boy says “A tortoise” Host says ” who’s that girl on your back”? Boy says “Michelle”!!

What’s more these books  have a language of their own. (glossary in the back) Georgia combines school talk with German,  added on endings and with a street slang that is vair appealing. Vair is one of the big words of this book.

The plot is based around Georgia and her friends and their efforts to woo boys to be their “luurve gods”. It is about popularity and it’s fickleness. Popular one day, scheissenhausen the next.

The best thing about these books is their essential innocence even though they are dealing with the most basic of urges -sexual attraction. They are always centered around the school yard with innovative teachers and a Shakespearean play to perform, this time Romeo and Juliet or Rom & Jule as the kids call it.

Parents play a silly role but are always there when needed, which isn’t vair often.

Try any of Louise Rennison’s books on Georgia, you will have a laugh.

Essentially for Intermediate and Junior secondary students.

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness by Ian Whybrow

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness by Ian Whybrow. Pub. HarperCollins, 1995.

This is the first of a series of stories  aimed at younger readers that will have them rolling in the aisles.

This book introduces Little Wolf whose parents have sent him to Cunning College to learn Uncle Bigbad’s 9 Rules of Badness. His parents have decided that he is not bad enough because he brushes his teeth and combs his fur. Big Bad Wolves just don’t do this.

What follows is a number of letters from Little Wolf to his parents pleading to return home and an account of his adventures on the way to his uncle’s Cunning College.

Even for a big kid like me this had appeal. I would read it to my children if they were young enough.

Will appeal to children from ages 7 – 10. Have a look at them