Middle School Scheming: Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

Aloha!  Welcome back!

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tommy GrenwaldToday’s review is for the second 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State book I’ve read this summer.  There are fifteen total so I still have quite a way to go, but I’m not worried.  It is summer after all!

Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.

First let me say that Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading is really fun.  Yes, I know I’m a librarian so I shouldn’t be excited about a book that gives kids tips for not reading, but this is such a cute book!

I know for a fact that my students are going to love this one.  It is written in the same style as Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and my students love those so much that this one will be an easy sell!  Even my reluctant readers will approve because of the fun illustrations and super short, but not choppy, chapters.

In between each chapter Charlie Joe Jackson gives the reader one of his 25 Tips for Not Reading, which are hilarious and break the story up in a good way.  Even one who loves reading as much as I do got a kick out of Charlie Joe’s reasons why sports are better than reading!

Charlie is your average middle school boy.  He is funny, smart (but not super smart), mischievous and just a nice guy.  He just doesn’t like reading.  Charlie’s scheming does get himself and his friends into trouble, but that’s a normal part of middle school.  He actually reminds me of a student I had years ago who is now in high school probably still planning ways to get out of reading!

What I really liked about Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading is that there isn’t some cheesy moral at the end.  Charlie doesn’t wake up one day realizing the fault of his non reading ways and suddenly learn to love books.  He just doesn’t, but that is okay because he does learn some other equally important lessons along the way.  I would have been disappointed if it ended up being a bait and switch and I know my students wouldn’t have appreciated that either.

Overall, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading was a fun, cute and humorous.  There were even times when this book had me chuckling and reading paragraphs out loud to my husband, so if you’re looking for a light and fun middle grade read I highly recommend this one!

Author: Tommy Greenwald

Publisher: Roaring Book Press (July 5, 2011)

Format: Paperback

Length: 240 pages

Series: First in a series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading

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