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Gleaned from Julie Just’s blog on books at the NY times:
Jon Scieszka’s new book is called “Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka” [Viking, Illustrated, $16.95, Ages 8 and up].
It recalls his growing up in Flint, Michigan, with five brothers in the 1950’s. Diversions included playing with fire (“There is something about boys and fire that is like fish and water, birds and air, cats and hairballs. They just go together.”)
As for being left to care for his siblings — Mom says “Watch the kids,” and so “we watched Jeff roll off the couch, we watched Brian dig in the plants and eat the dirt.”
Such activities vied with the favorite sport of the family which was “slaughter ball” (pretty much what you are imagining… with a football).
Reviewer Lisa Van Drasek notes in Sunday’s (12/21/08) Book Review, “Good thing Scieszka’s mom was a nurse.”
The blog invites readers to post their own entirely true stories of the most knuckleheaded thing — defined as risky, dangerous, absurdly pointless or all three — they ever did when they were growing up.
In my own case it involved a late-night picnic on the roof with my best friend on Christmas Eve, a purple cape, a passing police helicopter, a burglar loose in the neighborhood, sirens, and confused relatives in their pajamas being pulled out of bed.
But enough about me, she says. What’s your story?
Scieszka, for those who don’t know, is a former teacher and the author of lots of children’s books, beginning with “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” by A. Wolf.
Published 20 years ago, that book introduced the unreliable narrator to second-graders.
Scieszka is now the first ever National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress. His awards are many. Some of his other titles are the classic “The Stinky Cheese Man,” and “Squids Will Be Squids.”
Von Drasek wrote in her review that “Knucklehead” is perfect for middle schoolers, but could also be a great family read-aloud. It’s sure to bring up stories from parents about their own childhoods.
In fact, she thinks the ideal readers might be “men over 40 who won’t believe anyone ever wrote this stuff down.”
source: NY Times blog entry on 12/22/08. www.nytimes.com
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