Masters of Disaster by Gary Paulsen
This book is a riot!
As Henry Mosely states pompously to his two friends Riley and Reed, "We may be the most boring twelve-year-olds on the planet." Whether or not that's true, the rambunctious trio agrees that something must be done so that they may become "Men of Action and Daring" in order to better "Impress Girls" and "Alter the Course of History."
The first course of action, obviously, is to tie their friend Reed to a bicycle and have him attempt to ride down a neighbor's roof, somersault in mid air, and bounce off of the swimming pool diving board unharmed, all in the name of creating a new world record. (Kids: do not try this at home!) While Reed is amazingly uninjured by the stunt, he does end up deep in a dumpster and smelling pretty gross. (It turns out this is a theme.)
One crazy stunt follows the next as Henry, the architect and the logistics planner; Riley, the meticulous observer-and-reporter of all attempted manly exploits; and Reed, the hapless guinea pig, try their hands at bigger and better things, all followed by Manly pronouncements on Adventure and Fame (from their directing supervisor Henry, of course). Paulsen breaks the chapters down into individual adventures, three of which are based on previously published short stories for Boy's Life magazine. There is an attempt at outdoor survival with only school supplies at hand (and an escaped circus animal), solving a local hundred-year murder mystery (in a haunted house), and being rodeo cowboys at a family ranch (involving a great deal of smelly manure), to name a few.
Masters of Disaster is a great boys-will-be-boys adventure full of slimy, smelly, ridiculous fun that even girls--as they shake their heads in disbelief at the antics of adolescent boys--will enjoy. In fact, I challenge any reader, kids and adults alike, to not laugh out loud multiple times while reading this book.
Masters of Disaster is one of my new middle-reader favorites. Try it out with just about any age group and wait for the giggles and guffaws to begin!
Paperback copies will be available August 9, 2011.
Copyright August 2010
Available as an eBook
Image from www.randomhouse.com