Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual

( 2 )

Overview

This is the definitive guide to pranking and mayhem. Written in the style of a training manual, but with hilarious illustrations, this book is broken up into five sections. The “Basics” shows kids how to find a pranking partner and how to pull simple pranks like making crank calls. “Prank Moves” explains how to pull pranks at places like home, school, or camp. “Do-It-Yourself” demonstrates things like putting a real worm inside an ice cube. “Experts Only” covers such advanced pranks as how to fake an alien ...

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Overview

This is the definitive guide to pranking and mayhem. Written in the style of a training manual, but with hilarious illustrations, this book is broken up into five sections. The “Basics” shows kids how to find a pranking partner and how to pull simple pranks like making crank calls. “Prank Moves” explains how to pull pranks at places like home, school, or camp. “Do-It-Yourself” demonstrates things like putting a real worm inside an ice cube. “Experts Only” covers such advanced pranks as how to fake an alien landing. And “Recipes” gives step-by-step instructions on how to bake tuna cookies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans of the Dangerous Book for Boys should appreciate this detailed manual, complete with vintage-style illustrations on how to successfully pull off pranks. While adamant about safety-"If you have to ask a question about someone getting hurt, then you shouldn't be doing it"-the book offers ideas for making mischief that are frisky enough to get a rise out of their targets. Pranks include making a "Screaming Cabinet" (using the device from musical greeting cards), creating the "World's Largest Butt Photo" and faking an alien landing. What's most appealing, however, is the emphasis on being clever, creative and funny while making mischief. Ages 8-12. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Robert Johnston
So awesome it is illegal in thirteen states, this book takes the concept made famous by The Dangerous Book for Boys and puts a fresh twist on it. The M3, as the book refers to itself, is a fully contained course in practical jokes, covering historical pranks, rules, and plenty of fun activities that readers can try at home. There is also an online tie-in (http://www.mischiefmakersmanual.com) where new pranks are added several times a month and readers can print out badges proclaiming their status as Master Mischief Makers. The online component makes this title stand out among the crowd, and pranks themed to current events and holidays are illustrated with photographs and YouTube videos. The book itself is attractive, featuring a striking yellow-and-black cover, and includes a reversible sleeve to "disguise" itself. Throughout the book, there are quizzes and benchmarks so that ambitious pranksters can test their prowess before attempting more difficult pranks. There are also six "ranks" of mischief maker to achieve, with each having its own Boy Scout-like badge. The linear nature of the book lends itself more to cover-to-cover reading than random skimming, which might dissuade more reluctant readers, but the overall feel is very polished. Providing great fun for would-be pranksters (if not their hapless victims), this manual of mischief is sure to please. Reviewer: Robert Johnston
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
There is ordinary mischief and there is magnificent mischief. Any fool can create ordinary mischief but only by reading this unusual book can you create "magnificent mischief." Never cruel but always funny and creative, the mischief in this book will change the art of pranking forever! The chapters include "The Perfect Prank," "The Prankster's Code," "How to Stay Out of Trouble," "Looking Official," "Prank Phone Calls," "Getting Away With Stuff," "Prank Moves," "Do-It Yourself Gags," "Experts Only," "Publicizing Your Pranks," "How To Hoax," and "Massive Mischief." There is a "Trouble" section and an "About M3 Institute and staff." There are some illustrations and lots of "directions." The illustrations and the drawings are very well done with clear explanations. The reader will now join the secret ranks of an exclusive group of pranksters worldwide. The book's final notes state, "Mischief making is a lifelong endeavor. You must never lose your curiosity, your creativity, your sense of playfulness and fun. Pranksters give joy to the world." Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–Though at first glance this handbook may seem like a tween/teen version of William Powell’s The Anarchist Cookbook (Barricade, 1990), it’s actually a lot more like Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden’s innocuous The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). While the focus is on how to execute perfect pranks, and while there is definitely an illicit feel to the book design, there’s also strong emphasis on mischief-makers’ ethics as defined in a “Prankster’s Code,” which is repeated throughout the book. Among its prescriptions: Always be careful; don’t be a bully; do no lasting damage; and be funny. That last edict is a biggie. The book constantly emphasizes that, ultimately, pranks should be creative and harmless enough to be entertaining to parties on both sides of the equation–even if perpetrators have to return to the scene of their crimes to help clean up any lingering messes. While it’s destined to be devilishly attractive to reluctant readers, most of the pranks outlined are actually of the dribble-glass and Whoopie cushion variety. But some, like any worthwhile high jinks, could go awry and land pranksters in hot water. If that happens, the manual also provides tips on how to get out of trouble gracefully. Some techniques, like the Ping-Pong ball smoke bomb, may give some professionals pause, no matter how many safety guidelines accompany them.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Making a brave attempt to erect an ethical framework for ambitious pranksters, Web gagmeister Hargrave (Prank the Monkey, 2007, for adults) layers common-sense principles ("A good prank is easily cleaned up, taken down, or thrown away. This makes it harder for anyone to press charges") with instructions for several classic gags, plus suggestions for easily available devices and materials to add to the prankster's toolkit. Sometimes ignoring his own advice about safety, the author arranges projects in order of complexity from basic dribble glasses and telephone hijinks to, in later chapters, making exploding cigarettes or the world's largest butt photo. Enhanced by lots of simple diagrams (as well as a helpful associated website) and packaged with an alternate sleeve to disguise the cover plus eight foldout recipes for such delicacies as fake vomit and tuna cookies, this compact vade mecum will thrill armchair jokers and may be taken to heart by a few of the active sort too. (Nonfiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780448449821
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 6/11/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 611,313
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir John Hargrave, the “King of Dot-Comedy,” is the editor in chief of ZUG, the world’s oldest humor website. His comedy work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, and BusinessWeek. He has appeared on Comedy Central, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MSNBC, Tech-TV, and the BBC. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences and wacky morning radio shows across the nation.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by K. Osborn Sullivan for TeensReadToo.com

    As the title suggests, MISCHIEF MAKER'S MANUAL is a how-to guide for kids who like to cause a little mayhem. It includes set-up details (make a plan, find a partner, etc.) and step-by-step instructions for carrying out specific pranks. My favorite parts were the tales about actual pranks that people have pulled off. The book demonstrates how a successful prank can be a thing of beauty.

    MISCHIEF MAKER'S MANUAL contains clever tidbits for not only the budding prankster, but anyone who is attracted to a life of crime. For instance, it explains that people whose appearance attracts attention will be suspects when any mischief occurs. Therefore, if you're about to pull a prank (or do anything else that you don't want to get busted for), it's a good idea to blend in. If you dress like a clean-cut member of the Young Republicans Club, no one will suspect you of wrongdoing. Who knows? If you're clean-cut enough, you might even accidentally get elected to Congress. And wouldn't that be an excellent prank?

    The book offers information and ideas about a wide variety of pranks, gags, and hoaxes. You can learn where to buy fireworks, how to photocopy a giant picture of a butt, disgusting recipes like hot sauce-flavored tarts, and the art of making a catapult. There's also a web site for readers where they can find resources to help pull off pranks and register their progress toward becoming Master Mischief Makers.

    I got a kick out of this book and took away a number of funny ideas from it. The part of my personality that includes a sense of humor thinks this is a terrific resource for kids. At the same time, I can't shake the concern that the MISCHIEF MAKER'S MANUAL provides plans for some questionable, if not downright illegal, activities. Yes, the book is careful to start with a code about what kinds of pranks one should avoid. There are similar warnings interspersed throughout the book, including the importance of not hurting animals or destroying property. At the end, it even lists possible consequences should a prankster get caught.

    Still, I'm not wild about telling someone, "Don't do this. But here's how to do it, and it's hilarious!" For instance, ideas for prank phone calls are provided, including instructions for disabling caller I.D. so your victim doesn't know who you are. According to reports on the Internet (so the accuracy is questionable), some people claim they had been charged with harassment as a result of making annoying calls. Is it ridiculous for prank victims to get so worked up over a phone call? Maybe, but people get worked up over all sorts of odd things, and it's hard to predict what will set somebody off....

    Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 6, 2009

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