Monday, September 22, 2008

Nonfiction Monday: Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories...

Scieszka, Jon. 2008. Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka.

I loved this book. And more importantly, I think kids will love this book. Why? It's a book by Jon Sciezka about Jon Sciezka. It's funny. It's true. Mostly. At least that is what the title leads us to believe. As the second of six kids--all boys--some of his stories (if they're to be believed as "the truth") are just hilarious. There are pictures, lots and lots of pictures. (Which is one of the first things I looked for as a kid when it came time to choose biographies to write/give reports on.) And the chapters are short as well. (Always a bonus for drawing in readers.)

One of my favorite chapters is "Strange Books"
I learned to read by reading very strange books in school. They were brightly colored stories about a weird alien family. Nothing like my family of wrestling, tree-climbing, bike-smashing brothers. And nothing like the families of any of my friends either.
This family was always neat. There was a boy, two girls, a mom, and a dad. And they talked in the weirdest way. They repeated themselves a lot. Like they would never say, "Hey, look at that dog." They would say, "Look. Look. See the dog. That is a dog."
The alien kids were named Dick and Jane. Strangest kids I ever heard of. The little sister was named Sally. The mom and dad called themselves Mother and Father.
When I read the Dick and Jane stories, I thought they were afraid they might forget each other's names. Because they always said each other's names. A lot.
So if Jane didn't see the dog, Dick would say, "Look Jane. Look. There is the dog next to Sally, Jane. The dog is also next to Mother, Jane. The next is next to Father, Jane. Ha, ha, ha. That is funny, Jane."
Did I mention that Dick and Jane also had a terrible sense of humor?
At home my mom read me real stories. These were stories that sounded like my life. These were stories that made sense. She read me a story about a guy named Sam. Sam-I-am. He was a fan of green eggs and ham.
And then there was the story about the dogs. Blue dogs. Yellow dogs. Dogs that were up. Dogs that were down. Dogs that drove around in cars and met each other at the end of the book for a giant party in a tree. I cheered them on. Go, dogs. Go! I read about them all by myself because I wanted to. Go, dogs. Go!
So I guess I didn't really learn to read by reading about those weirdos Dick and Jane. I learned to read because I wanted to find out more about real things like dogs in cars and cats in hats. (26-27)*
The book includes stories on anything and everything. And while a few stories (like the one above) might mean a bit more to adults than kids, there are plenty of stories that are all about kid appeal.

*I'm quoting from an ARC, so it could be subject to change before the final version is published in October.

Other reviews: Fuse #8, Sarah Miller: Reading, Writing, Musing and Confessions of a Bibliovore

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Charlotte said...

That sounds like a great one! I will be looking for it--thanks.

Ms. Yingling said...

I've got to add this one to my list. The students WILL love it!