I Totally Funniest: A Middle School Story, by James Patterson

Do you want to hear a joke about a roof? I’d better not tell you, it will be over your head. With one joke from the book you get the level of text that this is. It’s the 3rd installment of Jamie Grimm, the stand-up comic who can’t stand up. Acclaimed adult author James Patterson has delivered yet another politically correct and slightly condescending kids book under the Middle School brand. But when you are a successful writer like him, who can really argue.

My kids, slightly influenced by my healthy cynicism, recognised a few of the ‘pandering to the masses’ themes in the book, but generally Mr Ten was happy to get a chance to read another one.

A lot of the references are, as usual with these books, very American so some parental assistance may be required for a kiwi palette. However, it doesn’t detract from the book enough to really be a problem.

Making kids laugh is pretty easy, making them laugh with stand up comedy… well, that’s a bit harder. I’m not entirely sure how many Kiwi kids get into stand up comedy. Having lived in the states a few years back, I was often subjected to pretentious little so and so’s doing their stand up renditions. All the parents smiling gleefully during the performance and saying how cute little Billy is. With me as a teacher being dragged along by other members of the faculty I can honestly say I’d rather sit through another bastion of New Zealand education, the recorder recital.

In this ‘funniest’ book, Jamie has entered a nationwide comedy competition and is appearing on TV in a short number of days. Petrified of not doing well, we follow his practice sessions, the build up, the bullying and everything else till the big night.

As always, if you child is a fan of the series, get it. If you have reluctant reader, the short chapters and every page illustrations will keep them occupied during the school holidays.

 

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TITLE: I Totally Funniest: A Middle School Story
AUTHOR(S): James Patterson
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
RRP: $18.99
ISBN: 9780099596295

Drew Thompson Drew operates a successful hobby farm for pampered cattle in rural South Auckland. He once dabbled in education, where he discovered any book was a good book. As with most ex-teachers, he realised he was better off spending his time and patience on his own awesome children.

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