Whether these live up to the subtitle’s claim of “funniest stories ever” is subjective, but the lighthearted array will...

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FUNNY GIRL

FUNNIEST. STORIES. EVER.

The 28 short stories, autobiographical essays, and comic strips in this entertaining anthology are meant to prove that females can be funny, and they succeed.

Librarian and blogger Bird has gathered contributions from a stellar group of female children’s and teen writers and illustrators, including Rita Williams-Garcia, Jennifer Holm, and Shannon Hale, plus a few professional comedians who give advice on crafting and delivering jokes. Variety abounds, encompassing Lenore Look’s pun-filled Chinese zodiac, Mitali Perkins’ “Brown Girl Pop Quiz” of multiple-choice questions, and Raina Telgemeier’s comic strip “Attack of the Killer Bee.” Among the standouts are Carmen Agra Deedy’s first-person account of the time her mother set a bathtub on fire to rid it of germs and Libba Bray’s “Public Service Announcement About Your Period” from a witty 12-year-old girl who objects to the secrecy surrounding the subject. A handful of other entries also deal with girl-specific topics such as bra shopping, and nearly all the stories and reminiscences focus on girls. Boys will also enjoy the humor, which ranges from slapstick to subtle. Brief biographical notes about the contributors conclude the volume.

Whether these live up to the subtitle’s claim of “funniest stories ever” is subjective, but the lighthearted array will surely appeal to a wide audience. (Anthology. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-47731-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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