Friday, January 22, 2010

Books for boys

I've been searching in vain for funny books for boys. No matter how many I buy, it seems like they are all checked out.

One book that has been showing up on all the lists is Neal Shusterman's The Schwa Was Here (2004). I love Shusterman's Red Rider's Hood, Full Tilt, and other titles, but the first time I saw this book, it was a Scholastic paperback with the tiniest printing, and I couldn't bring myself to order it. Upon revisiting, I can see some of the charm of the story of Antsy, a Brooklyn boy who befriends the Schwa, a boy who somehow manages to be unnoticeable no matter what he does. The boys embark on a service project, try to woo a girl, and complications and hilarity ensue. I'm handing this to actual teenage boy for a second opinion, because nothing really spoke to me in this one, and I can't tell if it's the book or the fact that I'm not a teen boy.

Had such hopes for Greg Taylor's Killer Pizza, especially after seeing the end papers, which look like the inside of a grease stained pizza box. Tobey gets a job at a new pizza parlor, but soon finds that the store is a cover for an organization that hunts the fearsome guttata monsters, who bite their victims and turn them into shape-shifting agents of evil. This is a clever idea, and filled with a decent amount of action and gore, but was a somewhat unsatisfying read. At 346 pages, it will be a hard sell for reluctant readers, who are the audience for most of my horror books, especially since there is never a lot of actual horror. The writing was very pedestrian, which is something that usually doesn't bother me. I will have to buy a copy because of the clever premise, but won't buy two.

Has anyone seen an actual copy of any of the Capstone Press Bloodiest Battles series? While weeding my 940.53 section, which is filled with beat up Time-Life books about war, I realized I need to update the collection. These high-low titles look appealing, but at $18 each, I want to be sure that they are something students will want to read. I've had a lot of luck with some of the Graphic Battles series. Any other suggestions would be welcome.


  1. Graphic Battles? Who does those? I have most of the Graphic Dinosaur series from Power Kids Press, although those are more 8-12 than middle school. I'm updating my war/army section, looking for non-dry military stuff. I got a bunch of the Torque series on military machines from Scholastic and some basic stuff on the different military branches...

  2. Try the "remember" series by National Geographic. I have Remember D-Day and really liked it. They also have Remember Pearl Harbor and Remember World War II.

  3. I will try to remember to come back to these posts in a few years! I have felt anxious for the past few years about my boy's reading, still do, and almost certainly will then. For every ten or so books I offer him, only one is acceptable enough for him to make it through to the end...yet once he is Reading, he reads with great absorption. I just don't understand why he won't give more books a chance...