Booklist (starred review)
A must-have collection for the boys in your library—and while you’re at it, get a copy for the girls, too!
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Funny Business, sets the bar high....Will have readers laughing as they turn the pages.
A must-have collection for the boys in your libraryand while you’re at it, get a copy for the girls, too!
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Building on the success of Guys Write for Guys Read (Viking, 2005), Scieszka continues his mission to take the "reluctant" out of readers with this first volume of the "Guys Read Library." For this title, Scieszka invited some of today's top writers of children's fiction to contribute a humorous short story. Not surprisingly, the resulting compilation has something for everyone. Looking for a story heavy on the ick-factor? Suggest Jack Gantos's "The Bloody Souvenir," in which the Pagoda brothers return to wreak more havoc. David Yoo's "A Fistful of Feathers" features a bloodthirsty turkey intent on destroying the narrator's life. Eoin Colfer offers an autobiographical piece that shares how his younger brother was his real-life inspiration for Artemis Fowl. Kate DiCamillo and Scieszka team up to offer a hilarious correspondence between Joe and an author who knows how to hold her own with unmotivated students. While these shorter stories may not have the liveliness of the authors' full novels, each one is solid, and more importantly, it offers an introduction to that author's style and voice. Don't be surprised if students come seeking longer works by David Lubar, Christopher Paul Curtis, and other contributors after sampling them in this collection. Scieszka promises future volumes featuring other genres, among them nonfiction, sports, and action/adventure.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Jeff Kinney, Jon Scieszka, David Lubar, and many other popular authors come together to create this anthology of stories about boys getting in trouble, torturing their siblings, and learning about their capacity for bravery (or stupidity). Meet Will in Adam Rex's tale, the only normal boy in a school full of kid superheroes and young gods, who is forced to take down an armored super villain on his own. There is the autobiographical story of Eoin Colfer's brother who could get any kid out of trouble (even if he had to injure them in the process). And then there is Jack Gantos' story of a self-professed stupidity addict who nearly kills himself after trying to rip out a wart with a pair of rusty pliers. All are hilarious vignettes of coming-of-age eventsor stomach-churning examples of irredeemable immaturity. It all depends on your point of view, for while some librarians and teachers will praise the stories for being the kind of tales a reluctant reader can sink his teeth into; others will shake their heads at the way some of the tales seemingly celebrate their protagonists' capacity for cruelty and ignorance. To the anthology's credit, the boys in the stories vary greatly (particularly the hero in David Yoo's "A Fistful of Feathers" who is the total opposite of the stereotypical "macho" boy). Some tales also show examples of genuine maturity and growth, like Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka's sensitive "Your Question for Author Here," which bears similarities to Beverly Cleary's Newberry Award winning book Dear Mr. Henshaw. Even so, Guys Read: Funny Business (like most anthologies) is a mixed bagwhich is why every reader will inevitably find a favorite story in its pages. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
VOYA - Alissa Lauzon
Scieszka is determined to provide reading material that boys can enjoy. Expanding upon the success of Guys Read (Viking, 2008) and the Guys Read Web site, he has created Guys Read Library. This ten-volume series will cover different genres "packed with the kind of writing guys enjoy." The first volume, Funny Business, sets the bar high by starting with humor, and Scieszka has recruited some powerful names to contribute to this first anthology, including Adam Rex, Eoin Colfer, David Lubar, Kate DiCamillo, Jeff Kinney, Christopher Paul Curtis, and Jack Gantos. With such a diverse cast of authors, Funny Business has a little bit of something for everyone, from the gross-out funny to the downright absurd. Elements such as a chocolate milk pool, a homicidal turkey, alien invaders, and a mummy mishap will have readers laughing as they turn the pages. The target audience for this anthology is middle grade boys, and this reviewer suspects that they will find even more humor in it than she did. As with most anthologies, this one has a few so-so stories that are balanced by a couple of outstanding titles. David Yoo's "A Fistful of Feathers" and David Lubar's "Kid Appeal" truly stand out, though there is no doubt each reader will have his or her own favorites. Reviewer: Alissa Lauzon
"Your brain is doing some great work when it's laughing," states evangelist Scieszka in this humorous anthology, the first of a proposed Guys Read series that promises to cover a range of genres. Each tale is geared toward boys and sometimes relies on gross humor for laughs. "Will," by Adam Rex is a standout. Will attends a school for kids with super talents and hero abilities. When his class is attacked by a supervillian in a gadget-ridden exoskeleton, mayhem and the unexpected unfold, driven by quick-witted dialogue. On the flipside, "A Fistful of Feathers," by David Yoo, is a distressing tale in which Sam's dad has decided to make him less girly by buying him a live turkey that will be eaten on Thanksgiving. As Dad begins to favor the weirdly talented turkey over him, Sam's actions begin to verge on sociopathy. These tales are not for the faint of heart: The content doesn't shy away from dangerous stunts, damaged flesh, alien-body takeovers and switch-wielding grandpas. In other words, utterly dude worthy. (Short stories. 9-13)