Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kid Konnection: I Funny

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a cute book that's perfect for middle grade readers!

Summary: Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world's greatest standup comedian--even if he doesn't have a lot to laugh about these days. He's new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn't let Jamie's wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn't let his situation get him down. He practices the craft of stand-up every day on friends, family, and the willing customers at his Uncle Frankie's diner. When Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?

Following the bestselling success of the hilarious Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson continues to dish out the funnies in another highly-illustrated, heartfelt middle school story. -- Little, Brown

I love discovering fun middle grade books that are geared towards boys. While Booking Son isn't quite ready for middle grade books yet, he's close... and he's not exactly the most eager reader. Unless it's a sports book, I'd almost call him a reluctant reader; and I want to available some books that entice him.

I think I FUNNY: A MIDDLE SCHOOL STORY by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (with illustrations by Laura Park) might fit the bill. When he saw this novel sitting out on my desk, he immediately asked where I got it and then he read the back cover! He also said he saw one of his friends reading it on the bus. Hopefully (I'm keeping my fingers crossed), he'll start reading it shortly!

I FUNNY is a cute story about Jamie Grimm, a middle schooler who wants to be the world's greatest stand up comedian. Unfortunately for Jamie, he's had quite a few changes in his life recently. He's at a new school and living with a new family, and worst of all, he's living in a wheelchair. However, Jamie manages to put on a happy face and continues to practice his routines on anybody and everybody he meets.

When Jamie's uncle tells him about a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie secretly enters and discovers that he really is funny. Or isn't he? Do the judges and audience just feel sorry for Jamie? As Jamie begins to gain more confidence in his stand up abilities, he also learns that he doesn't have to keep all of his sadness to himself.

I really liked I FUNNY and thought it was a fantastic book. Even more importantly, I think kids are going to love it! This book has a little bit of everything -- an interesting story, wonderful illustrations, a likable main character, hilarious jokes, history about famous stand up comics, and even some poignant moments. It is most definitely entertaining and a quick read to boot! I'm betting even reluctant readers are going to find something to like about I FUNNY!

As a mom, I'm just thrilled that there are books like I FUNNY out there. I loved that I FUNNY provided some valuable lessons to children. In addition to exploring some tough issues like bullying, grief, and self confidence, this novel also teaches children a lot about the history of stand up comedy. Jamie is a great student of the art and he's constantly giving background on comedians as well as some famous sayings from their acts.

In addition, I like that the book is pretty substantial (over 300 pages), yet there are plenty of great sketches thrown in. Not only are these illustrations really good and funny, but they also make the books less intimidating for some children. I actually found that the drawings were outstanding and definitely enhanced the overall story.

I FUNNY was terribly funny and I laughed quite a bit; however, I also found that this book had some touching moments. Naturally, my heart went out to Jamie for all of the heartache he'd faced in recent months; and even though I knew where the story was going, I still teared up for how he was attempting to handle his pain. Like many successful stand up comedians, Jamie channeled his insecurities and unhappy childhood events into his routine and managed to make people laugh. I especially appreciated that Jamie eventually was able to share his pain with others though. I have a feeling that this kid is going to be okay!

I really can't rave enough about I FUNNY! It's an adorable book with some great messages and I know kids are going to love Jamie and his jokes.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!

Description: PR3519F_IFunny Contest_Email header.psd

Do You Know Any FUNNY Kids?

Now is the chance for them to strut their stuff for the chance to win BIG in Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’
I Funny.  You Funny?  Search for the Funniest Kids Comedy Contest, presented by #1  bestselling author James Patterson, in support of his newest New York Times bestseller!

How Does It Work?
·      Kids 8-15 can submit a 60-second clip via YouTube (through a parent/guardian) of an original stand-up routine via the  link below
·      One Grand Prize Winner will receive a VIP Tour of Universal Studios Florida themepark in Orlando (July 6-8, 2013!)
·      Contest runs January 28-April 15th

Visit for more information, link to enter, and a special message from James Patterson and Diary of a Wimpy Kid film star Zachary Gordon on the contest!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

The books "by" James Patterson for MG are supposed to be good, but I kind of hate subsidizing him, and I wonder how much he actually contributes these days. On the other hand, I suppose his "co-writers" might not get published if his name were not on the book...

My Kid Konnection today features two books on Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

This is exactly the kind of book my son loves to read. He's just getting into middle grade books but if they are funny and have illustrations all the better. He seems to be like booking son, a little bit of reluctant reader. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

Beth F said...

I love Chris Grabenstein's books -- both adult and kids, so I'm betting this is a winner. I can't believe I didn't read and MG or YA books this week. :)

Unknown said...

My 10 year old recently read I Funny and really liked it! He's behind on his reviews (apples don't fall far from their trees) but he's working on it! Great review!

Julie P. said...

Guess what Booking Son was reading when I got out of bed this morning? YAY! He's liking it so far!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, I had no idea his middle grade books are that good! I'm all for any book that makes kids want to read!