Thursday, December 17, 2009

What About the Boys? by Fegan

Humph - two days of books for girls, and nothing specifically for boys? Isn't that a little bit sexist?

People have a stereotype that boys don't read, but we know that's not true. Of course, some boys, BECAUSE of that stereotype, are a little reluctant to be seen with a book; so, here we are going to share both some books for reluctant readers, and some favorites of our male patrons. We would also like to share this link to Charlotte's Library, where she blogs about some of her son's favorite fantasy books.

Grown-ups have the silliest rules. They tell us not to pick our nose, when you know darn well they do it too, and how else are you supposed to get those stubborn ones out? When you try asking them why, they give really silly reasons. As it turns out, there are some really serious reasons for some of those rules, but they seem to think we can't handle the truth. Please! We're not the ones getting grossed out by a little natural bodily fluid! Read this (and its sequel) to get just a taste of what the adults don't want you to know.

Actually, anything by Andrew Clements is good, but Frindle is probably the most well known. Clements has a recurring theme of the kids sort of getting one over on the adults, but realizing along the way that adults aren't quite as unhuman as they may seem. Nothing preachy, though, don't worry, and definitely a lot of fun along the way!

Hysterical book where, again, the boy gets the best of the teacher - maybe - but that is far from the main plot point. Any kid who has ever felt unjustly accused (and what kid hasn't?) will identify with the main character. All the characters in this book get to be three-dimensional, and nobody turns out to be exactly as we first see them. Did I mention there are roller blades in the school and an explosion? Good stuff, all of it.

All three of these (and their sequels) offer enough tips and ideas to keep any boy occupied for them something to do while they are grounded from trying some of these ideas at the, er, wrong place and time.

If your reader likes this first one, there is a whole series to follow up with - some may be out of print, but are easy to find used. A group of boys, each smart in his own way, get together to solve (and perhaps cause) a few local mysteries, and generally keep things exciting. When a lazy day on a boat is interrupted by a wayward military bomb, you know it's a touch more exciting than Encyclopedia Brown.

Definitely for a teen or a very mature reader. Cole is one of those kids most people would give up on - angry, nasty, without remorse or compassion, he is given the choice between prison or a year banished to a remote island. He picks the island, thinking it will be easier (and having no intention of actually staying there anyway). The next year will prove just about everyone wrong.

This is one of those rare series that just gets better as it goes - the last one is our favorite. (So far, that is - Paulsen said he was done before going on and writing that one, so we'll see if that's really it!) Each story line is original enough in itself to make for a good read, but I've also enjoyed seeing Brian grow and mature through the books.

As always, feel free to add your suggestions, I know I have just skimmed the surface - but at least we have a little to balance out the girly stuff!


  1. I looove Mad Scientists' Club! and no need to cast aspersions on Encyclopedia Brown - check out Donald Sobol's stand-alone novel, Secret Agents Four, for side-splitting fun and inventions quite similar to Brinley's hilarious tales.

  2. Actually, I almost included some of the lesser-known Sobol books: Encyclopedia Brown's Book of Lesser-Known Facts is on our 'boy books' list here, but I like browsing through it myself:)