Teaching other kids how to be funny is the toughest gig that Jamie Grimm has ever had, and with the highest stakes. If he fails, his school library will be shut down for good!
Even though he has a national contest trophy and a TV show under his belt, Jamie Grimm isn't one to sit back and relax. When his school has a major funding crisis, Jamie hits on a bright idea to save the day--a comedy class for the other students. Little does he know that making jokes and teaching jokes are two very different things...and he's only good at one of them. With the fate of his school's library on his shoulders, Jamie has to dig deep to see if he has what it takes to succeed at his most difficult challenge yet.
**From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Jamie Grimm is a funny guy, obsessed with creating and collecting joke material. He studies all of the top comedians and tries out his jokes on everyone, be it his classmates or the customers at his Uncle Frankie's diner. He hopes to enter the Planet's Funniest Kid Comic Contest even though just the thought of it makes him a nervous wreck. Readers learn that humor for Jamie is a means of survival-things aren't easy for him. He doesn't like to talk about why it all happened, but he had to move to a new city, to live with "the Smileys," his very unfunny aunt and uncle. At Long Beach Middle School, he is treated horribly by the resident bully. Steve Kosgrov is not only a notorious meany, but is also Jamie's new adoptive brother. Steve gets his kicks by locking him out in the cold and leaving him stuck in a sand dune unable to move. Jamie isn't able to move because he uses a wheelchair-he can't walk at all. The grimness of his situation is relieved by two good buddies, his encouraging Uncle Frankie, and his ever-present ability to see humor in every situation. Patterson's tale includes twists and turns that make for an engrossing read. Readers will be on Jamie's side all the way, cheering him on in the comedy contest, and also to win the girl of his dreams. Line drawings are sprinkled throughout, adding more humorous details.-Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.From Booklist
Built around the notion of a middle-grade stand-up comedian who delivers jokes sitting down because he is confined to a wheelchair, this tale is written as an extended monologue in which Jamie Grimm (get it?) introduces loyal school friends, his mostly loving adoptive family, and Stevie-his new brother, who is also a vicious bully both online and in person-then proceeds to savage them all indiscriminately from a talent-contest stage. Playing readers' heartstrings like a banjo, Patterson and Grabenstein also chuck in two girlfriends and a first kiss, hints of a family tragedy strung out until near the end, an uplifting spontaneous routine delivered to the patients of a children's rehab center, and, both in the narrative and in the line drawings on almost every page, dozens of gags both classic (Do zombies eat doughnuts with their fingers? No. They usually eat their fingers separately) and not so much (When kids in Grossville say, 'Mommy, can I lick the bowl?' their mothers say, 'Be quiet, dear, and just flush'). In all, a brimming bucket of ba-da-bing! that hardly needs a celebrity author to crank up the audience numbers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Patterson's full-court press to capture the attention of every market in the reading public continues-and 25 million books sold for young readers proves it's working. Grades 4-7. --John Peters
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