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Guys Read: Unaccompanied Minors: A Short Story from Guys Read: Funny Business [Kindle Edition]

Jeff Kinney , Jon Scieszka , Adam Rex
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jeff Kinney is pretty much the nicest guy you can hope to meet. Except when it comes to his brother, Patrick. The two of them have been locked in a battle for supremacy since they were young—a war that continues to this day. A short story from the acclaimed collection Guys Read: Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 852 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Walden Pond Press (7 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XVN1IU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #549,991 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jon Scieszka is one of the most important, iconic, and well-loved voices in children's literature. From his classic picture books (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man) and chapter books (the Time Warp Trio series) that have sold millions of copies to his literacy initiatives such as Guys Read and his tenure as the first National Ambassador of Young People's Literature, Jon Scieszka has cemented his reputation as one of the most trusted and respected authorities on what middle-grade boys read. Brian Biggs has illustrated books by Garth Nix, Cynthia Rylant, and Katherine Applegate, and is the writer and illustrator of the Everything Goes series.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short story, Eoin Colfer style... 14 Mar. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pretty funny story about how the seed for the character Artemis Fowl was planted...nice insight to Eoin Colfer's home-life (you can see a few of his characters getting their foundations in this story I think). I particularly liked how Eoin stages himself to be some benign onlooker/narrator to the proceedings, although in real life I bet he was nothing of the sort! If you're an Artemis fan, get this now.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not a bad little tale 8 Nov. 2011
By alex
Format:Kindle Edition
i actually got the audio version of this (after buing the kindle boojk version) it seemsa a strange but ok story.. just dont expect too much
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  66 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all ages! 21 April 2011
By Heather - Published on
I won this book in just a random Twitter follow a few months ago from Walden Pond Press. I don't read short stories very often but this one pulls you in and you can't help but read this one. First of all, it's got a plethora of funny kid authors. Then, they are writing funny stories. What more could you ask for? The stories range from chuckle funny to so funny I was wiping my eyes trying to read. Some of my favorites were the ones by Eoin Colfer with "Artemis Begins" and "Your Questions for Author Here" by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka.

In Artemis Begins, Eoin Colfer tells an apparently autobiographical story of growing up with four brothers and how one of his brothers lived a charmed life able to sweet talk his way out of anything. An unlikely role for the middle child, Donal was something of a hero in the neighborhood giving out and later trading his "favors, tricks, con jobs, and sob stories" for candy and what have you. Now, if you've ever read the Artemis Fowl series, you can appreciate the Artemis in Donal or the Donal in Artemis. The story has an ultimate piece de resistance that is a must read and had me laughing throughout thinking, "That is so Artemis!"

But, even if you haven't read Artemis, you can appreciate the story for the sheer genuis of Donal.

The other story that I found so amusing was "Your Question for Author Here" by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka. It's the story of a boy with a school assignment to write to an author and he wants the author to do all the work. Instead, she ends up making him do the work and then some. Joe sends a Perfunctory letter, though he is supposed to send a Friendly letter and gets a Perfunctory letter back. Through a series of letters, he and the author become friends and Joe learns about writing fom the author. Even so, his assignment doesn't go as planned and the story ends with a surprising twist making authors the hereos of the day!

Many favorite authors are included in this book of short stories and if you have a reader that checks for how many pages are in the book, this is the book for him. (I've found boys do that for the most part in my library volunteering and mothering, but I"m sure girls do it, too.) I think reading short stories are easier sometimes for kids that don't like to read or who aren't as sure of their reading skills. This is the perfect book for them. But, if you aren't a kid, don't let that stop you from reading this book. I passed being a kid many years ago and I loved this book! And a must is the trailer that is posted on the Amazon site where you can order the book. It features all of the authors telling a joke and it is great!

I recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy these authors, it's fun to see them write something outside their genre. Great for any age!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A BIG Disappointment 18 Oct. 2010
By Stanley Cup - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me start by saying we love Jon Scieszka, and are big fans of his brand of humor. "Math Curse" is one of my son's favorite books (I reviewed this for Amazon), and I have a great deal of respect for him as an author and as an ambassador for children's literature. And I think that is what makes me all the more disappointed in the stories he chose as the editor for "Guys Read: Funny Business". The majority of the stories were not very funny, and some were down right disturbing with the violence and choice of material that was portrayed. The back flap of the book says, "Jon founded Guys Read to encourage a passion for reading among young boys, with the philosophy that boys love to read most when they are reading things they love", and to me that is an excellent mission statement for a series. However, I do not instill many of the values in my children that were written about in these stories, and I am not going to give this book to my 10 year old to read. Here is a sampling of the short stories Scieszka hopes will tickle the funny bone of your 8-12 year old boy:

1. In the story "Will" by Adam Rex, the author has the hero of the story refer to teachers as "...a bunch of stupid, brainless, blouse-apes" and tells of a story recounting a time in the past, when Will's brother was in the fifth grade and he and a couple of other friends discovered a magic tree house that could travel through time and had taken all kinds of funny adventures. "But in high school they lost interest in time travel and it mostly became a magical place to smoke...". Very nice indeed. A fine lesson to teach 10 year old boys! Smoking in a tree house.

2. In the story, "What, You Think You Got it Rough", the author spends many pages talking about a grandfather who beats his grandchildren with a switch, and has the aforementioned grandfather retell a story to his grandson about the day his father taught the family a lesson about appreciating all he had done for them by ripping off fake nipples from his chest, only to have one of his children eat them (he used the end pieces of hot dogs for the nipples). To wit, a sassy Chester asks his grandfather what he intends to do with the switch to which the grandfather replies, "What'm gonna do with this stick? I'm gonna smote you, that's what. And I know you ain't got no idea what that word means, so I'm gonna demonstrate, and I'll bet by the end of this demonstrating "smote" is one word you won't soon be forgetting". Papa Red didn't even need to move his wheelchair. He sat there and commenced wailing on Chester from ten feet off! The way he was swinging that switch, Papa Red looked like he was a conductor from the Flint Symphony Orchestra waving a baton during some big, busy, rushy song like Beethoven's Ninth. Every time the switch hit Chester it would go, "pie-ow!" and Chester would yelp like a Chihuahua. I know I should've tried to stop Papa Red but the way that switch was ripping through the air, I figured I didn't want to be any part of what they call "collateral damage." "Momma must have heard the crack of six or seven "pie-ows!" and six or seven of Chester's screams before she finally came to see what the commotion was about. She's not as worried about collateral damage as I am and took two good whacks before she snatched the switch away from Papa Red." And as Papa Red retells the story of the day his father pretends to pull the fake nipples off his chest, he recounts, "Would a bum risk this for some trifling, low-life babies?", referring to his ungrateful, young children. Goodness, it just warms my heart to hear a grandfather talk like this to his grandson, and hit his grandchildren like he did. Just really, really heartwarming stuff...I wonder if Disney will option this book for the movie rights?

UPDATE: Since I first reviewed this book, I did give my 10 year son the book to look at and asked him to read this story from it. This is the one he chose. When I asked him what he thought about the story, he said, "the grandfather is really mean, and it wasn't really nice that he kept hitting the kids." When I asked him if he thought the story was funny, he said no, the thought it was a mean story and he did not think it was funny at all.

3. In the story "The Bloody Souvenir", Jack Gantos writes this treasure for your young reader. A mischievous boy heads to the Emergency Room with his mother, and the following dialog ensues. "Well...I said, getting ready to tell him (the doctor), when I made a mistake and glanced at my mom. That big fist of hers was still making circles above her shoulder, and she was squinting at me like she wanted to split my skull. One wrong word and I knew she would knock me to the other side of the room." And on their return trip to the ER, "I got in to the car as if I were taking a ride to where I would met a firing squad. The whole way there she drove with one hand on the wheel and the other balled up into a red fist and aimed at me...". And earlier in the story he writes about two boys, who were always up to dangerous pranks, in this exchange, "Gary wanted to have a cigarette-smoking contest to see who could suck through a pack the fastest, and I stood up and said, "No way am I doing that!" "Why not?" Gary asked, and took a quick step toward me as he reached for his knife, which was tucked into his back pocket. "Because smoking will kill you, I smugly replied. "Ask anyone." "What if I kill you first?" he suggested, and opened his knife, which was sharp as a razor. "What is worse? A knife through the neck or a pack of smokes? Answer me that, brain-boy". Random Question: Is that funny? Don't you think 8 year old boys will roll on the floor with laughter after reading that? This book is supposed to be filled with funny stories targeted to kids that might still be in second grade, and I fail to see why a story like this was added to a book for this age group.

Do 8-12 year old boys really find humor in this type of writing? I'm pretty sure most of the boys I work with in my son's guided reading groups at school would not. Humorous writing to me includes books like Dan Gutman's "My Weird School Daze" series or Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, or most books written by Andrew Clements. They have good, clean humor, not angry, fist waving mothers and grandfathers beating their grandchildren with a switch. I just do not understand why stories like these are considered humorous. I personally do not think that these are the types of things that boys in elementary school need to be reading about, let alone offering them as the types of stories to hook young boys on reading. We don't need anymore glorified violence aimed at boys this age group, and many of the stories this book felt more like gratuitous violence than the humor that was intended.

On a positive note, there were some cute short stories included in the book, but they were few and far between. Kudos go out to Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka for a 5 star story called "Dear Lady Author" that has a student writing to an author to help him with a teacher mandated research assignment, and played out in my mind exactly as I imagined it must be like for authors bombarded by these mind-numbing requests, along with a surprise twist of an ending, and to "A Fistful of Feathers" by David Yoo that has a young boy outsmarting a maniacal turkey that quickly became more the family pet and less the family's Thanksgiving dinner. "Best of Friends" by Mac Barnett was a pleasant, age appropriate story about a boy who will do just about anything to make the rest of the kids at his school like him, including the whopper of a lie he concocted in which he tells his classmates that has won tickets to tour the Nestle Quik Chocolate Milk factory and can take just one friend with him to "ride down the chocolate slide". A bidding war ensues as each child tries to become his best friend, and the outcome is pretty predicable, but it teaches kids a thing or two about friendship and the lengths children will go to in order to like and be liked on the playground of middle school madness. Jeff Kinney's story was not included in the uncorrected proof, though it should be in the final version, so there is nothing to report about his offering to the book. I can only hope it follows the humor of his "Wimpy Kid" offerings, which my son thoroughly enjoys. The rest of the stories were mildly interesting, but none that I found to be all that humorous.

My hope is that if there is a follow up to Guys Read, the authors and content chosen for the book are more kid friendly, and that it is a book you can feel good about letting your child read. I did not feel good about this particular installment in the Guys Read series, so the book will be donated to my local library, and not put on my son's bookshelf. The idea of writing good books with interesting authors for this age group and demographic has such potential, and the need is definitely there, unfortunately, this one did not hit the mark. I am hoping for much better things in the next installment.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teacher's Grade: B 27 Aug. 2010
By N. Bilmes - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been teaching grades 2-4 for the past 15 years, and can confirm that boys simply don't take to reading like girls do. Most boys are a little more impulsive than their female classmates, and simply seem to have a harder time staying focused on the printed page. I've gotten boys to read via Captain Underpants, Horrible Harry, Magic Tree House, Sideways Stories, and The Time Warp Trio, but some boys are simply resistant to reading. This collection of stories is geared toward getting those reluctant readers to read. Most of the stories are funny, and all are well-written. My only issue with the book is that a few more illustrations would make it even more palatable to the boys who the collection is targeted toward.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT 5TH GRADE APPROPRIATE 19 Nov. 2011
By Crystal Caudill - Published on
I am a 5th grade teacher and purchased this and another through Scholastic book orders in hopes of getting some of my reluctant readers to read. When they arrived I skimmed through the title pages and then read the last story "A Bloody Souvenir". I was horrified and disgusted in a way that I never have been with a book, especially a book from the book order list. This story was not funny, and although it may be on a 5.1 reading level, it is not 5th grade appropriate. I can't even think of an age in which it would be appropriate. Definitely not before high school. I would return them to Scholastic but I would have to pay shipping and handling which is more than what the books cost in the first place. I would definitely not recommend the books to anyone. I certainly cannot put them in my classroom library. If the "funny" one was that bad, I can't stand to read the thriller version (which I skimmed through as well). You can use your judgement, but here are just a couple quotes from the last story:

"I actually heard the sound of ripping flesh..."
"blood came squirting right out of the hole in the bottom of my foot" (caused by him taking a rusty pair of pliers and ripping it out himself.
"Right in the middle was the rusty pair of pliers, and right at the tip of the pliers was that bug hunk of bloody, yellow, warty flesh."

It goes on and on. Not age appropriate and definitely not school appropriate.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fail 22 Feb. 2012
By TheLastCoyote - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to admit I had pretty high hopes for this book seeing as how Jon Scieska edited it. My son is a good reader but a reluctant one and Sciescka's books are among the few that he will read. We read this book together... Well, half of it before we decided to put it away and move on to something else. It suffered from the same problems as many short story anthologies... not enough depth or character development to capture interest, or to even cultivate a good hook for the story. We didn't find any of the stories that we read to be funny in the slightest and quite frankly not all that appropriate for school age readers anyway..
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