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Author: Patterson, James
[Book 1] Hoping to become the world's greatest stand-up comedian despite less-than-funny challenges in his life, wheelchair-bound middle school student Jamie Grimm endures bullying from his mean-spirited cousin and hopes he will be fairly judged when he enters a local comedy contest.
I Funny, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 155432
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 59619
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/12)
School Library Journal (12/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (02/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2012 Built around the notion of a middle-grade stand-up comedian who delivers jokes sitting down because he is confined to a wheelchair, this tale is written as an extended monologue in which Jamie Grimm (get it?) introduces loyal school friends, his mostly loving adoptive family, and Stevie—his new brother, who is also a vicious bully both online and in person—then proceeds to savage them all indiscriminately from a talent-contest stage. Playing readers’ heartstrings like a banjo, Patterson and Grabenstein also chuck in two girlfriends and a first kiss, hints of a family tragedy strung out until near the end, an uplifting spontaneous routine delivered to the patients of a children’s rehab center, and, both in the narrative and in the line drawings on almost every page, dozens of gags both classic (Do zombies eat doughnuts with their fingers? No. They usually eat their fingers separately) and not so much (When kids in Grossville say, ‘Mommy, can I lick the bowl?’ their mothers say, ‘Be quiet, dear, and just flush’). In all, a brimming bucket of ba-da-bing! that hardly needs a celebrity author to crank up the audience numbers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Patterson’s full-court press to capture the attention of every market in the reading public continues—and 25 million books sold for young readers proves it’s working. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2012 Gr 4–7—Jamie Grimm is a funny guy, obsessed with creating and collecting joke material. He studies all of the top comedians and tries out his jokes on everyone, be it his classmates or the customers at his Uncle Frankie's diner. He hopes to enter the Planet's Funniest Kid Comic Contest even though just the thought of it makes him a nervous wreck. Readers learn that humor for Jamie is a means of survival-things aren't easy for him. He doesn't like to talk about why it all happened, but he had to move to a new city, to live with "the Smileys," his very unfunny aunt and uncle. At Long Beach Middle School, he is treated horribly by the resident bully. Steve Kosgrov is not only a notorious meany, but is also Jamie's new adoptive brother. Steve gets his kicks by locking him out in the cold and leaving him stuck in a sand dune unable to move. Jamie isn't able to move because he uses a wheelchair-he can't walk at all. The grimness of his situation is relieved by two good buddies, his encouraging Uncle Frankie, and his ever-present ability to see humor in every situation. Patterson's tale includes twists and turns that make for an engrossing read. Readers will be on Jamie's side all the way, cheering him on in the comedy contest, and also to win the girl of his dreams. Line drawings are sprinkled throughout, adding more humorous details.—Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CA - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2013 Billing himself as “the sit-down comic,” middle-schooler Jamie Grimm isn’t about to let the fact that he uses a wheelchair stop him from being a stand-up comedian; it’s his intense fear of public speaking that may prevent him from fulfilling his dream. Fortunately, with the encouragement of his loving uncle and few kooky friends, Jamie tries his act at Ronkonkoma’s Funniest Kid Contest and lo and behold, he wins. The video of his performance goes viral, he lands a few more gigs, and the laughs keep coming. Life is not all giggles and guffaws, however, as Jamie still has to deal with daily harassment from his bullying foster brother, he can’t for the life of him figure out how to talk to girls, and he has yet to truly come to terms with the accident that landed him in the wheelchair and left him without his parents and sister. Surprisingly unsentimental and not at all patronizing, this is a poignant but humorous story of moving on and finding joy in less than joyful moments. A connoisseur of comedy, Jamie mines a host of stand-up legends for his material (some of whom will be familiar to middle-school audiences while others will no doubt necessitate a few Google searches). His commentary about his disability feels particularly authentic, and while his condition is part of his story, it is not the defining aspect of it—the focus instead lies on Jamie overcoming his fears rather than his disability. In the end, Jamie is still in a wheelchair, still dealing with bullies, and still missing his folks, but he is managing to make himself and a few others laugh, and readers will find that to be more than enoughPark’s cartoony spot illustrations add visual humor that matches the text’s jokey, feel-good tone. KQG - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.