A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like author James Patterson's Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and its sequels, I Funny: A Middle School Story gives good insight into middle school life. The twist here is that protagonist Jamie is a regular kid who happens to be in a wheelchair. Faced with the usual middle school challenges as well as a whole lot more, Jamie perseveres and strives to make it as a "sit-down comic." Filled with Laura Park's humorous illustrations, as in Patterson's other Middle School books, this is a fun read with substance. But be forewarned: Your child may start reciting one-liners 24/7. There's one kiss, no swearing, and there's a lot of hitting, throwing, and general bullying depicted in the illustrations, including Jamie being dragged out of his wheelchair by bullies.
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What's the story?
Jamie Grimm has had some tough knocks and he is now living with his aunt and her family, the humorless Kosgroves. He uses a wheelchair and lives in his aunt's garage. To make matters worse, his cousin Stevie is the school bully. Jamie uses humor to make friends as well as help himself out of difficult situations. His goal is to be the world's first "sit-down comic" and win the Planet's Funniest Kid Contest. Although he's had his share of hardship, revealed later in the book, he manages to pursue his dream. With the help of his kindhearted Uncle Frankie, as well as an assortment of friends, Jamie navigates his new life, follows his dream, and establishes a supportive community for himself.
Is it any good?
Fans of James Patterson's Middle School books will enjoy I FUNNY: A MIDDLE SCHOOL STORY. This fast-paced, story-driven plot uses Laura Park's clever illustrations to tell much of the story. There's enough humor to hold a middle schooler's interest, as well as insight into school life -- friends, cafeteria food, homework, bullies, and snarky text messages. But underneath the humor is a moving story of a teen in a wheelchair, who's had to face more than his fair share of tragedy. Jamie's resilience, perseverance, and desire to achieve his goal of being the world's first sit-down comedian will keep readers' cheering for him.
This book is also a compendium of some of the best and worst one-liners. Keep your rim shots ready.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why books about middle school are so popular. Which ones have you read that get it right?
Jamie suffers when viral texts shared among his schoolmates accuse him of succeeding only because people feel sorry for him. Why does mean-spirited gossip have such a strong affect on us?
When Jamie starts making his friends the butt of his jokes, he feels uncomfortable but the crowd loves it. Why is mean humor on TV, in the movies, and in real life so popular and contagious?
- Authors: James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
- Illustrator: Laura Park
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: December 10, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love school stories and humor
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