James Patterson, who kids across the United States selected as the Children’s Choice Book Author of the Year in 2010, shows how he earned that honor in this funny, yet poignant book, I FUNNY: A Middle School Story.
Jamie is a funny guy, a really funny guy. He is always cracking jokes and making people laugh. When his Uncle Frank suggests he enter The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie is terrified of the idea but decides to go for it.
"This is a highly-illustrated story, liberally laced with pencil drawings that include lots of jokes...In addition to the humor, Patterson does a great job of using the storyline to address many social issues like bullying, being handicapped or “differently-abled” and adoption."
Jamie has not had an easy life. For the past two years, he has been in a wheelchair. The reader does not learn the reason for the wheelchair until close to the end of the book, so I won’t give that part away, but Jamie has tried to look beyond his disability and live as normal a life as possible. That’s not easy to do when he has been adopted by his mom’s sister’s family, the Kosgrov’s, who he calls “The Smileys” because they never smile. They treat him well, at least all of them do except for the oldest son, Stevie, who is a bully and takes every opportunity to pick on Jamie. Stevie gets away with it because Jamie is afraid to tell on him.
Nevertheless, Jamie finds humor everywhere. He jokes about being bullied, life in a wheelchair and being adopted. He lives in Long Beach, so he makes up a whole routine about his observations of people and how they act on the beach. He uses his wit and humor to get him out of sticky situations as well as to win the first round in the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic contest. But, will he go on to the next round or did he win just because the judges felt sorry for him?
This is a highly-illustrated story, liberally laced with pencil drawings that include lots of jokes. Patterson borrows jokes from well-known comics like Billy Crystal, Yakov Smirnoff, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, and others, but he is quick to give credit where credit is due. However, many of the jokes in the book are originals and they are quite funny.
In addition to the humor, Patterson does a great job of using the storyline to address many social issues like bullying, being handicapped or “differently-abled” and adoption.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on November 18, 2012