Book Review: Knucklehead
Sometimes, reading a book is like getting to the end of a bag of peanut M&Ms – you slow down, savoring things, hoping that the end won’t come. Essentially a collection of short stories about family and growing up, “Knucklehead” fits this profile. Funny, honest, and infinitely readable, Jon Scieszka’s memoir about his youth in Flint, Michigan will appeal to wide swaths of young readers.
Mr. Scieszka provides the set up right from the get go:
[A] lot of readers ask me where I get my ideas. I think that’s a great question. But I feel like I’ve never come up with a great answer. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I get a lot of my ideas from all the strange things that happened to me growing up with five brothers.
Each chapter is a different family story. The “mostly true tales” are not amazing feats of derring-do – they’re believable accounts of memorable times. You can imagine these events taking place in your family. I especially enjoyed the one about ordering a 100 piece army man set in the mail. It was not all it was cracked up to be. Also, a story about writing down all known swear words to get out of catholic school detention stands out. Who can’t identify with getting in trouble at school?
This book would be great to use in the classroom for students writing their own family stories. Man, I even wanted to start committing pen to page after reading it.
Modeled after an old comic in dimensions and cover art, the overall design of “Knucklehead” will attract readers. Plainly stated text, large type, and short chapters make this book accessible to a wide age range.
One of the most entertaining reads of the fall, “Knucklehead” is a no-brainer to recommend. A must purchase.
Courtesy of A Fuse #8 Production, a “Knucklehead” book trailer:
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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