A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dumbest Idea Ever is a funny, affecting memoir in graphic novel form. Set between 1985 and 1990, it depicts an important time in comic book history, when people began taking comics seriously and an ambitious high school student could experiment with publishing his own illustrated stories. Jimmy Gownley depicts his friend, parents, teachers and his own younger self with respect and affection. There's no violence, objectionable language, or substance use, and there's just a suggestion that two dating teens kiss.
What's the story?
At the start of THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER, middle school student Jimmy Gownley thinks he has everything figured out. He gets good grades, plays on a successful basketball team, and wants to create his own comic books. But navigating adolescence isn't easy, and soon Jimmy is getting bad grades, falling ill, and questioning whether he has what it takes to be a cartoonist. Luckily, he has his best friend, Tony, and Ellen, a cute girl who seems interested in him, to boost his confidence while dispensing valuable advice.
Is it any good?
The Dumbest Idea Ever is a smart, funny, and affecting memoir in graphic novel form. Author and illustrator Jimmy Gownley does an excellent job of capturing the highs and lows of middle school and early high school, depicting his friends, parents, teachers, and himself with affection and respect. The book also shows that art isn't easy, not even comic book art. Just as he has lessons to learn about being a good student or a good friend, Jimmy has to re-evaluate his own talent. The Dumbest Idea Ever doesn't wallow in fake angst; it's refreshingly realistic in how it approaches its subject.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss graphic novels and comics. Why are they so popular with readers of all ages?
What does it take to become an artist? How important is raw talent? How important is discipline?
Do you have trouble evaluating whether your work's good or not? What strategies can you use to get honest feedback?
- Author: Jimmy Gownley
- Illustrator: Jimmy Gownley
- Genre: Autobiography
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Arts and Dance, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, High School
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Graphix
- Publication date: February 25, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our editors recommend
For kids who love graphic novels and history
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.