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Guys Read: Funny Business


Guys Read: Funny Business

edited by Jon Scieszka

Welcome to a collection of short stories from some of the best writers in the business, including Jeff Kinney, Kate DiCamillo, Eoin Colfer and Christopher Paul Curtis, to name just a few. Jon Scieszka, the editor, reminds us in the introduction that “Guys Read believes that humor is seriously one of the best kinds of reading. Humor is important. To get why something is funny, you have to first understand the thing itself, then understand why changing it in an unexpected way is funny. Your brain is doing some great work when it’s laughing.” Get ready for your brain to hurt, because these stories are hilarious.

We’ve all had school projects that we put off until the last minute, somehow hoping that inspiration will strike and make magic. David Lubar takes this predicament and manages to craft a laugh-out-loud story with “Kid Appeal.” Dwight and Charlie have a plan to win the New Cairo history project. New Cairo, their hometown, is looking for projects that showcase the town’s unique history, and Dwight and Charlie figure they will appeal to the judges to win first prize. Rather than working hard, they wait until the morning of the contest to complete their project and find themselves in a desperate situation. Let’s just say that adhesive bandages and bare skin don’t mix!

Most kids dream about being a superhero and having special powers that would enable them to fly, be invincible, or go on amazing adventures. In “Will,” Adam Rex writes of a parallel universe where everyone has some sort of magical power, whether you’re a wizard, demigod, or something else, and all the regular kids are stuck at school. Will has discovered, though, that he seems to be one of the only regular kids left at school, and he’s accepted that he will never be anything special. When a supervillain shows up at his school looking for someone else, Will is disappointed. The supervillain, though, doesn’t want to leave, and it’s up to Will to save the day --- without any superpowers.

Does it ever seem like your father wanted a different son? A son who was more interested in what he liked? What about wanting a turkey instead of a son? Yes, a turkey. David Yoo explores this humorous situation in “A Fistful of Feathers.” Sam is more interested in the creative aspect of the world rather than the more “boy-centered” activities of blowing up things and hunting. His dad is not okay with this and thinks one of the best ways to help him become more of a man is to raise a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Sam is immediately creeped out. The turkey seems to watch his every move and utters guttural noises that sound suspiciously like “DIE!” He becomes even more apprehensive when his dad starts treating the turkey like the son he never had. Thanksgiving can’t get here fast enough for Sam, but who’s going to be cooked for dinner?

These stories are just a small taste of what GUYS READ: FUNNY BUSINESS has to offer. You’ll also be laughing over Nesquik chocolate pools, older brothers terrorizing younger brothers, kids writing authors, grandfathers telling old stories, alien invaders, and bloody warts. The good news is that Jon Scieszka and Guys Read is only beginning. Scieszka mentions that this is just the first volume in a series that will explore other genres, such as Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery, and much more.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 21, 2010

Guys Read: Funny Business
edited by Jon Scieszka

  • Publication Date: September 21, 2010
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Walden Pond Press
  • ISBN-10: 0061963739
  • ISBN-13: 9780061963735