- Craig Graziano
Humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What makes one person snicker or guffaw might leave another stone cold. Thankfully, the new short story collection Guys Read: Funny Business presents many different senses of humor throughout its pages.
The brainchild of writer Jon Scieszka (of Stinky Cheese Man fame), Guys Read is a project that finds and suggests books that will inspire boys to read, to enjoy what they’re reading, and to seek out more. Different authors contributed their own pieces that will, with any luck, put you in stitches without requiring the mandatory hospital visit.
Funny Business is not just for boys, but it has a lot of things that they might like. It has goofiness and gross-outs. It has suspense and action. It has evil turkeys and chocolate swimming pools. This installment of the new series focuses on humor, but the group plans to release books that are focused on mysteries, sports, and real life stories as well.
There are definitely a few attractor factors in Funny Business. Fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series who are desperate to get their hands on that next volume might find some satisfaction with author Jeff Kinney’s story. His piece, Unaccompanied Minors, is a memoir of sibling rivalries that mirror Greg Heffley and his brother Roderick. In twenty pages, Kinney manages to stuff about a dozen pranks that he and his brother relentlessly pulled on each other.
Each story has a wonderful illustration by Adam Rex. Sometimes these pictures are better than the stories themselves. I think I like the illustration and title to My Parents Give My Bedroom to a Biker more than I actually liked the story, but that’s just me.
Mr. Rex also manages to write one of the funniest pieces in here. You know how in a lot of fantasy or comics books, the main character finds out on his or her birthday that they’re a wizard, a superhero, a princess, or an enchanted insurance salesman? They usually go off to the Academy of Crime Fighting and Destruction of Evil, but what about that school that they left behind? Rex’s story Will takes place in that sad classroom, where the school year is half over and only a handful of ordinary kids are still around…hoping that they too will become special.
The nice thing about a short story collection is that if you don’t like one, there’s always another on the way. Of the ten tales in here, half made me laugh out, a few I found mildly amusing, and a couple just weren’t my kind of story. But like I said, it’s all subjective. Read this one and find out what it is that makes you laugh.