Posts tagged ‘humor’

PAYBACK

Max’s Revenge

Written by Sally Gould

This is the first book in a series of books revolving on the main character, Max. Max always seems to get the short end of the stick. His older brother, Charlie, is perceived to be perfect. In the first story, the siblings are invited to the wedding of their Uncle Dan. But before the vows are exchanged, Charlie lures Max into a trap that ends with his falling out of a tree and disrupting the wedding. Things further deteriorate at the wedding reception, when Charlie attracts the flower girl, Lucy, who Max adores. Charlie becomes a partner in crime with the bartender and Sophie’s three brothers who conspire to booby trap the marriage getaway car. To make matters worse, Max’s evil Aunt schemes to get Max into trouble. Of course, Max finds devious ways to get his revenge.

The second story centers around Charlie and Max’s visit to their Nana’s house. A social worker has persuaded the boys’ parents to take a much-needed break. While at Nana’s house, the boys discover that the evil Aunt is trying to get Nana to sell her house. The boys get their revenge on their Aunt and try to prevent the sale. They plan several pranks to thwart the sale, but they discover Nana secretly wants to move. How will they undo the damage? The hilarious result will be that Max has to eat dog food stew.

Children in grades three to six will find themselves empathizing with poor Max. Perhaps they have a relative like Max’s evil Aunt. The comedy is spot on and the dialogue appears genuine and age appropriate. Length of the stories is not too long so the book will appeal to reluctant readers. Perfect choice for a summer read.

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WITTY AND WONDERFUL

20 Degrees from Normal: Creative Poems for All Ages

Written by Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris
Illustrated by Fanny Liem

This brother and sister duo has put together a wonderful collection of poems that address a plethora of topics with skill and humor. Almost anyone can find several that will strike a responsive chord. Readers, young and old, will find themselves agreeing with the futility of getting rid of a fly that has entered the house and the annoyance of a leaky faucet. Teenagers will not be able to avoid laughing at the two poems presenting a teenager’s and a parent’s point of view. The importance of everyday objects like the wheel and a lighthouse are simple poems that point out the importance of objects used and seen every day. I really could not stop laughing while reading the poem about a pet spider and the smartest phone. On a more serious note, the authors strike a chord with the poem about a teacher’s real responsibility and the poem which encourages us to soar by realizing that each new challenge entails possible risks.

This collection is certainly enhanced by the double-page spread illustrations of Fanny Liem. They are big, bold and vibrant drawing the eye right into the text. I would highly recommend this collection for any family’s bookshelf. Students in the middle grades and older will be able to fully appreciate the messages of the poems.

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SHORT AND SWEET

The One That Got Away and other short stories

Written by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Three short and charming stories set in Australia. In the first containing the book’s title, Amanda writes to her sister Sonya from overseas about the love of her life, Thomas, a fisherman who has literally just “got away.” This story is poignant, yet contains humor and an optimistic bent. In the second story, a grandmother struggles with a change of fortunes and the realization that she will have to sell the piano that has given her granddaughter such pleasure. Grandma’s daughter, Angela seems cold and indifferent to her dilemma. The last story brings Caroline back to the beach where she met her true love twenty five years ago. She meets Barry, a young artist, and strikes up a conversation. He reminds her of the man she left behind long ago. A surprise ending brings the story full circle.

The author does a good job of developing her characters and creating the mood for each of these short stories. They are a quick and delightful read. Recommended for anyone age ten and older who enjoys clean well-written short stories.

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ROCKET RUCKUS

Sascha Martin’s Rocket Ship

Written by John Arthur Nichol

Illustrated by Manuela Pentangelo

 

Sascha Martin is a second-grade genius. One day he brings a rocket ship to class and places it on a table with a sign that says, “Do not touch.” Well, you can guess what happens when one of the students pushes the button. It launches into space creating all manner of havoc in the school. The rocket tears holes in the walls, the roof, and damages the athletic fields. It carries a few teachers as well as Sascha into the atmosphere to the horror of the those watching from the ground. Will they successfully return to earth?

This book is part of a series about the exploits of Sascha. It is written in rhyme, which sometimes appeared a bit off, though these rhymes could be peculiar to Australia. Illustrations are delightfully clever and sharp. My rating was lowered in part because the book contains a few errors in punctuation and grammar, but many middle-grade students who enjoy science fiction, adventure, and humor will find it an easy and enjoyable read.

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BAD BOY

The Worst Book Ever

Written by Beth Bacon

Illustrated by Jason Grube and Coriander Hale

This book desperately wants to be a bad boy. His goal is to become a banned book in the library. He tries everything to win the librarian’s disapproval. Some of his tactics include using gross words, misspelled words, and made-up words. The book enlists readers to assist him by being loud and doing everything possible to annoy the librarian like flapping arms, wiggling and jumping up and down in their seats. To his dismay, the book makes its way into storytime.

This book is filled with much humor, graphics, and simple illustrations. There are vivid colors, lots of variation in print size, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Bacon playfully encourages her readers to become accomplices in the book’s quest for notoriety.

Bacon targets the book for a kindergarten through grade five audience. Beginning, intermediate and reluctant readers can join in the fun.

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MAGGOT MANIA

We’ve Got Maggots

Written by Kevin Kendall

 

Okay, so this is not the most appetizing subject. This book is an interesting read for elementary and middle-grade readers who are interested in insects. Illustrations are simple and rather cartoon-like. Kendall provides lots of humor as he explains the life cycle of a fly. I feel the most valuable part of the book comes at the end. Readers find a diagram with the life stages of a fly, fascinating facts about the insect, and step by step instructions on how to draw the cartoon maggot portrayed in the book.

I would recommend this book be placed in a classroom or homeschool reference science shelf. The information provided could be a good introduction to a science project. It is an interesting read for children interested in insects.

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STICKING TOGETHER

Raffie and Friends – The Lunch Box Mystery

Written by VaLerie Irene

Illustrated by Amy Rottinger

 

This book contains adorable illustrations and simple text with a message important for children to assimilate and practice into their everyday lives. Raffi is a giraffe who has a fetish for grilled cheese sandwiches. One day he finds that he has misplaced his lunch box. Raffi meets animal friends like Marlon the Monkey, Torrey the Turtle and Owie, the Owl. Each friend contributes by using individual talents, Marlon makes Raffi laugh, and Torrey has infinite patience. Owie uses his logic to solve the mystery.

Children learn that friends stick together to help each other, and that patience and thinking things through will provide the answers we are seeking. This book is recommended as a picture book for younger children and a beginning reader for older siblings.

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