Monday, November 25, 2013

Releasing today-- I Even Funnier

17612524Patterson, James and Grabenstein, Chris. I Even Funnier
December 5th 2013 by Arrow (Young) 

Jamie is back, and he's waiting to compete again in the Planet's Funniest Kid Comic Contest. He's a stand up comic-- but in a wheelchair. It's a good thing that he has a sense of humor, because little else is going right in his life. He's still with his unsmiling aunt and uncle, and their bully of a son, Stevie, who goes out of his way to humiliate Jamie at school. Suzie (aka Cool Girl) is dating a new boy from California, so is  not dating Jamie. Jamie still has his friends Gilda, Pierce and Gaynor, although Gaynor's mother is very sick with cancer and he makes a poor decision to steal things out of lockers at school. He ends up living with Jamie's Uncle Frankie for a while, so Jamie moves in as well. This goes well, but Jamie spends too much time practicing his comic routine, and his grades tank. Then, Uncle Frankie has a heart attack. This puts a crimp into Jamie's plans, but strategic YouTube videos save the day and Jamie is able to continue with his stand up routine.
Strengths: I had students asking for this in October. The first book has been so popular that one of the copies I have is falling to little pieces. Like I Funnier, this is a notebook novel, and my readers can't get enough of those. Rafe from Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life even makes a cameo. Just buy three copies now and be done with it.
Weaknesses: Many cultural references will date this very quickly. I'm tired of books about bullying-- there's very little new in any of them. This was also one of the most depressing books I've read-- so many bad things are going wrong in Jamie's life that the juxtaposition of his stand up routine makes this beyond sad to me. But then, I thought the first one was depressing, and the students don't seem to read it that way.


  1. I will have to check this series out. I hadn't heard of them. Thanks for telling me about them.

  2. I think a lot of adult readers tire of the bullying theme, but it doesn't seem to faze the kid readers. My 5th grader is all over the notebook novels too. Sometimes I worry that this is all he will ever read!

  3. Anonymous5:20 PM EST

    I wasn't a huge fan of the first two, but find every ten year who has a copy in their hands with an admiring grin. I'd be interested to hear how the co-authors collaborate on their projects.

  4. Can't wait for I Funniest to come out! I met Mr. Grabenstein at a book festival. Great guy. I read Book 1 & 2. They were AWESOME (but, as you say, kind of depressing)!