Updated: April 18, 2013 6:12AM
Books for middle grade boys can be hard to find. Boys are fussier about what they read than girls, and attention spans are often shorter. Boys also love weird and gross and silly.
David Borgenicht has found the key in his “Monkeyfarts.” I know, that uses a word that may not be socially acceptable everywhere, but in boy-land, it’s a sure-fire winner.
This little book is subtitled “wacky jokes every kid should know” and has been consumer tested.
One example, “What is yellow and dangerous? A canary with a machine gun!” This would not make “The Tonight Show” but would make third- or fourth-grade boys roar.
Then there’s this one: “Why can’t you tell a joke to an egg? Because it will crack up!”
I think you’re getting the picture. This is a great car book or waiting book as everyone will enjoy the tackiness, if even just to groan a lot.
I don’t have enough room to tell you all about “The Dunderheads” by Paul Fleischman. I will introduce Miss Breakbone, the meanest teacher on Earth. She gives herself gold stars when she makes a student cry. She is the Confiscating Queen. Then she takes Junkyard’s treasure, a little cat statue, that he was going to give to his mother for her birthday.
The class, under the direction of Einstein gets together and, using their varied talents and skills, sets out to get it back. You will have to take it from here. All I can tell you is that these versatile students get the cat back and Miss Breakbone gets an interesting surprise.
Even though I try to keep up with the new books, the Mega Mash-Up series eluded me until No. 5.
“Spies vs. Giant Slugs in the Jungle” is by Nikalas Catlow, Tim Wesson and — you.
Let me explain. This is a combination of crazy story and graphic novel and write-your-own.
The premise of the story is that tiny slugs fall into a pool of toxic goo and become giant slugs. Nothing is slimier and more gross than slugs, so you get the picture.
We meet the characters and then get a list of drawing tools. There are drawing tips in the back, as well.
Each page has open areas with questions asking the reader/illustrator to fill in, such as the direction to draw the Slugmanian flag. I would strongly suggest a good set of colored pencils to go with this. They are neater and safer than markers and crayons. This is another great travel book.
Another great series that merits a mention (again) is the Stink Series.
In “Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk” by Megan McDonald, we find Stink and his friends eagerly awaiting the bookstore release of the latest “Nightmare on Zombie Street.”
Stink and his friends get busy making costumes and making points for the reading contest. Then Stink starts to think that maybe zombies are after him. Were there “real” zombies out on the walk?
Who knows, but they were real enough to turn the walk into the first Zombie Run.