Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading

( 68 )

Overview

Charlie Joe Jackson is proud to say that he’s never read an entire book from cover to cover. Sure, he’s glanced at the first and last chapters and maybe even read the flap copy, but when it comes to actually reading what’s in the middle, Charlie counts on his friend Timmy McGibney to do the reading for him in exchange for an ice cream sandwich. But when Timmy decides that his price has gone up to three ice cream sandwiches, Charlie Joe Jackson is faced with two very unappealing options: let himself be blackmailed...

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Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading

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Overview

Charlie Joe Jackson is proud to say that he’s never read an entire book from cover to cover. Sure, he’s glanced at the first and last chapters and maybe even read the flap copy, but when it comes to actually reading what’s in the middle, Charlie counts on his friend Timmy McGibney to do the reading for him in exchange for an ice cream sandwich. But when Timmy decides that his price has gone up to three ice cream sandwiches, Charlie Joe Jackson is faced with two very unappealing options: let himself be blackmailed or read an entire book. What’s an enterprising non-reader to do?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Greenwald pulls off a clever bit of reverse psychology in his debut, first in a series starring a cheeky middle grader who goes to great lengths to avoid reading—and whose humor and rapid-fire delivery should draw in like-minded kids. From the start, Charlie Joe schmoozes playfully with readers, promising short chapters and shorter words ("One syllable. Or less"). Kids who, upon entering the school library, may have been asked (as Charlie Joe is), "did you take a wrong turn somewhere?" will find an enthusiastic advocate in the boy. Throughout, he provides "tips" that dedicated nonreaders will enjoy ("If you have to read a book, make sure it has short chapters"). The novel chronicles Charlie Joe's machinations to avoid reading, which involve getting his classmates to do so for him; using this tactic for a research paper about school cliques yields revelations about clique mentality, but lands Charlie Joe in more trouble. Doth Charlie Joe protest too much? Maybe, but Greenwald wisely eschews an end-of-story reformation for his comic antihero, ensuring that readers will be treated to more of his entertaining circumlocutions in future books. Ages 9–12. (July)
Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
The sixty-seven mostly very short chapters written by Charlie Joe Jackson, expert reading dodger, is a hilarious non-reader's escape. The purpose of the book in the words of Charlie is "to show people how to get out of reading." It is that and more, if the reader follows any of the multiple points on Charlie Joe's twenty-five lists of tips to non-reading. When Charlie Joe's back-up reader, Timmy, gets caught trading ice cream sandwiches for book report summaries, the protagonist scrambles for another way out of middle school reading. After a momentary rescue by his sister, Megan, Charlie falls headlong into a convoluted scheme to rescue himself from a multi-book reading project involved in the notorious eighth grade Position Paper. Charlie's intricate plan involves match-making, bribery, a beloved Beatles album cover, the psychology of middle school cliques, and a school dance. This entertaining book has all the elements of a romance spy novel with heart break, suspense, and a major plot twist. If the reader is suspicious of Charlie Joe's tactics to con the reader into reading, he will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied by the time the last page turns. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Charlie Joe Jackson is a likable middle schooler and an unabashed nonreader. In fact, he's so against the practice that he constantly flirts with danger to ensure that he never has to crack a book. He makes deals with friends to fill him in on assigned reading. When he is caught, it becomes much more difficult to pull off his year-end, research-heavy "Position Paper." He nails it, but there is no happy ending, and he writes a book—this book—as punishment. Greenwald believably inhabits the mind of a tween, with the cliques and short-lived first romances that come with it. Charlie Joe narrates his story while providing humorous tips between chapters about reading and avoiding it. This is a fun, fast-moving look at middle-school life through the eyes of a kid who would rather clean his room than pick up a book. Reluctant readers will be pleased.—Travis Jonker, Dorr Elementary School, MI
Kirkus Reviews

Charlie Joe will do just about anything to avoid reading in this humorous cautionary tale for book-hating middle-grade students.

Debut author Greenwald takes on the persona of Charlie Joe Jackson, a middle-school boy who hates reading. His avoidance techniques get him into serious trouble with his parents, his teachers and his friends. After a year of avoiding reading—paying off a friend in ice-cream sandwiches to read books for him and manipulating his friends so he won't have to read for the all-important position-paper project—Charlie Joe is forced to spend his summer vacation writing a book about his poor choices. Charlie Joe's insider knowledge of the inner machinations of middle-school cliques will make younger readers smile in anticipation, and his direct address to readers makes make him feel like an older buddy showing the way. Sprinkled into the narrative are "Charlie Joe's Tips" to avoiding reading books, written on faux notebook paper, that serve as a little diversion from the plot. As amusing as this is, Charlie Joe's voice is not consistent and occasionally jars with the intelligent, smart-guy sarcasm that characterizes most of Charlie Joe's prose.

That aside, slackers everywhere have a new, likable hero in Charlie Joe Jackson. (Fiction. 10-12)

From the Publisher
“In author Tommy Greenwald’s raucous debut…this comedy of comeuppance shows its true colors, and, irony of ironies, is impossible to put down!” —Disney's Family Fun

"A perfect book for the non-reader or reluctant reader in your life...Laugh-out-loud funny, clever, and relevant, I believe Tommy Greenwald has written a book that will appeal to kids of all reading tastes." —ReadKiddoRead.com

 

“This is a fun, fast-moving look at middle-school life through the eyes of a kid who would rather clean his room than pick up a book. Reluctant readers will be pleased.” —SLJ

 

"A delightful choice for reluctant readers...Tommy Greenwald’s writing style is breezy and accessible without being too easy. It is also extremely funny and hard to put down. If the book’s cover showed something blowing up, every reluctant boy reader in middle school would be proud to carry it around while secretly enjoying the nonviolent, straightforward story. Bookworms won’t care; they’ll love it either way." —BookPage

 

"Kids who do peruse the book will enjoy Charlie Joe’s chuckleworthy tips on keeping reading at bay, even if they take exception to his list of “helpful oxymorons: 1. good book, 2. happy reader, 3. important author, 4. nice library, 5. favorite bookstore.” —BCCB

 

"Charlie Joe’s insider knowledge of the inner machinations of middle-school cliques will make younger readers smile in anticipation, and his direct address to readers makes make him feel like an older buddy showing the way…Slackers everywhere have a new, likable hero in Charlie Joe Jackson.” — Kirkus Reviews

 

"Hilarious...This debut is filled with passages that beg to be shared...With its subversive humor and contemporary details drawn straight from kids’ worlds, this clever title should attract a wide following.” —Booklist, STARRED review

 

"Greenwald pulls off a clever bit of reverse psychology in his debut, first in a series starring a cheeky middle grader who goes to great lengths to avoid reading—and whose humor and rapid-fire delivery should draw in like-minded kids." —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596436916
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Series: Charlie Joe Jackson Series , #1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 337,433
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Tommy Greenwald

TOMMY GREENWALD has enjoyed reading all his life, which is why he's appalled that his kids Charlie, Joe and Jack, would prefer getting a dental check-up to checking out a book. After years of pleading, threatening, and bribing, Tommy finally decided the only way to get his kids to read was to write a book about how to get out of reading. This is the result. And they read it! (So they say.) The Executive Creative Director at SPOTCO, an entertainment advertising agency in New York City, Tommy lives in Connecticut with his wife, Cathy; his non-reading sons, Charlie, Joe and Jack; and his dogs, Moose and Coco.Check out Tommy's website (minimal reading required) at tommygreenwald.com

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Read an Excerpt

1

 

My name is Charlie Joe Jackson, and I hate reading. And if you’re reading this book, you hate reading, too.

In fact, you do whatever you can to avoid reading, and the fact that you’re holding a book in your hand right now is kind of shocking.

I know exactly how you feel; I’m one of you.

Just remember: you are not alone. We’ll get through this together.

 

Text copyright © 2011 by Tommy Greenwald

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S, GUIDE TO NOT READING (REVIEW)

    "CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S, GUIDE TO NOT READING" BY TOMMY GREENWALD (REVIEW)

    WARNING! CLEAR ALL CHILDREN FROM THE ROOM BEFORE READING THIS REVIEW!

    This is a delightful book for middle grade children that actually makes them want to read regardless of the title. It turns out that this book is a clever reverse psychology tool that you can use to get your kids to read regardless of their determination not to.

    The book is extremely imaginative and written for fun! When Charlie Joe loses his link to NOT reading books, he finds himself coming up with ways to get around actually reading and still being able to figure out what the book is about. The ending is GREAT!

    Definitely pick up this book for your child or children whether they enjoy reading or not! It's a fantastic read!

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 24, 2011

    CJJ is LOL funny

    'Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading' is a howlingly funny book that would be great for any middle-schooler - reluctant reader or not. The plot is both crazy and plausible: Charlie Joe Jackson intends to do well (ok, well-ish) in school without actually reading the assigned books. CJJ has been successful at this in the past, but now things are happening that make his goal increasingly difficult. CJJ's reactions to the roadblocks - and what is happening all around him at school - are just LOL funny. Literally, I was laughing out loud as I read this book. Which was sometimes embarrassing. But I digress; let's get back on track. Beyond the plot, I loved how CJJ pokes fun at himself all the way through the story. For example, on page 4, in explaining how the book will work, CJJ promises, "The chapters will be short. The pages will be shorter. And whenever possible, I will keep the words shortest." Then on page 12, even though something really awful has just happened and you are dying to find out what happens next (CJJ's best friend suddenly won't help and he doesn't know why), CJJ stops the storyline to apologize. "I just looked at the previous chapter and realized it was way too long," he says. "Sorry about that. Won't happen again." Personally, I found this as hilarious as what was happening with CJJ and his don't-read-a-book-at-all-costs goal at school. Tommy Greenwald has created a fun, funny and really interesting character in CJJ, and then he made this book fly with a plot that is both believable and unpredictable. And J.P. Coovert's illustrations liven an already fast read. If you haven't yet read 'Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading' (or bought it for the middle-schooler in your life), you are missing out. Unless, to quote CJJ (p77) you are "comically challenged." Because "comically challenged" is what you'd have to be to not love this book.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Besr book that i have ever read

    I am currently readin this with my fifth grade class , and all of us love it:) :) :)

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Charlie joe jacksons guide to not reading

    I loved this book it is funny for kids and even funny for everyone

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    To b

    Yes this book is very good

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading

    Charlie Joe Jackson is so funny!!!!!!!! He gives so much advice and this book is great for kids. It gives so much detail on how he starts off hating to read and then shares ideas on how to read!!! This book is great for kids even if they hate reading it's a great book for them to start off with.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Amazing amount of amasingnisz

    Boy who is trying to avoid reading.

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    H

    Funny

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Curios person

    Should i get it im ten and read thing really good about the book its just alot of the reviews say tgat fith graders or 12 year olds are reading this so point is should i get it or should i not get it????

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Bad. Very bad.

    This book portrayed stereotypes, and books as bad. Books give you imagination and no, you do not get glasses by reading small type. I would not reccomend unless this is a last hope to get a child to read

    3 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Love the book.

    This was a really good book i enjoyed reading so did my little brother and he is 4 1/2 years younger than me.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2013

    charlie joe has a great sense of humor!!!!! halarious:)

    charlie joe has a great sense of humor!!!!! halarious:)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    AMAZING BOOK

    The book was amazing and i woyld give it five stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Fun and helpful

    Charlie Joe Jackson actually has a great attitude about the world but goes to such great lengths to not read he makes all his friends, family, teachers, and himself mad at him. He would rather lose a girlfriend than read a book. Obviously, the amount of work in not reading becomes enormous and complicated. This book is clever and fun to read, and would help students who think they hate reading feel understood. The overall tone of the book is positive and although there is a girlfriend, no kissing is mentioned or implied. Highly recommended. There are so many sad, heavy books and this book is some fresh air. I enjoyed it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    THIS IS A GOOD BOOK

    This is areally good book. I had to read this book for our reading program in abbott middle school. This book is great for all ages and you should READ IT!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    hi

    hi im selena gomez

    2 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    Comepletly awesome!!!!!!

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Reply if u know what im saying

    Coke omitted melecular micronobes entitled nepalian twoshoes. Busy oswad made messes!!!!!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Please read my comment thk

    I recommed this book please read it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading

    I love this book so much! But I really don't see how this is a book that is called Guide to Not Reading!!! LOL I recomend this book for reading lovers. :) GET THIS BOOK!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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