OK, there are some books that are hilariously funny, where the characters do CRAZY things that will make you laugh, but which — listen to me, boys — you should NEVER EVER try to do at home. This is one of those books.
Masters of Disaster, by Gary Paulsen (lexile: 1100; AR book level: 6.5; 102 pp)
“Let’s face facts: We may be the most boring twelve-year-olds on the planet.”
So says Henry Mosley, who decides that he and his buddies Riley and Reed need to undertake “Daring Experiences and Grand Adventures” to “Prove Our Manhood” and, hopefully, “Impress Girls and Get Them to Notice Us.” So Henry (the visionary) comes up with the ideas; Riley (always prepared) documents their exploits; and fearful Reed (“I think my Inner Courageous Guy might be hibernating”) always ends up with the scary, painful, and downright disgusting jobs.
Among the things which they attempt (and you SHOULD NOT):
- Riding a bicycle off a 47-foot roof onto a swimming pool diving board (to achieve a world record)
- Gathering exploding buckets of semi-organic sludge from the bottom of the school dumpster (in the interests of scientific investigation)
- Exploring a haunted house to solve a 100-year-old murder mystery
- Riding a raging bull into a muddy river populated by giant catfish (since girls are always impressed by rugged rodeo cowboys)
This book is so funny. I read it at the gym while on the elliptical machine, and people kept staring at me because I was snorting and laughing (which makes it very hard to exercise, I might add). The chapters are short and fast-paced, with a writing style that is perfect to engage a good but reluctant reader. Because each chapter is an individual episode, this would also be a fun classroom read-aloud. (OK, the guys will laugh, and the girls will roll their eyes.)