Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mrs. Scieszka was a saint

You may not usually think of autobiographies as laugh riots, but if you are a guy who was born between 1940 and 1965, you really have to read Knucklehead: tall tales & mostly true stories about growing up Scieszka by the hugely popular children's author Jon Scieszka.
Here's what I mean: I started reading my husband a passage about Jon and his brother Jim heading down to the basement with their WWII model tanks and a dry cleaning bag to have a battle. Before I even finished reading the sentence, my husband said "Oh yeah, those bags make great dive bombs". It turns out that if you tie the bag in a string of knots, suspend it from the ceiling and light it on fire, the melting plastic will descend in blobs onto the model tanks with an authentic 'zipping' bomb sound. Who knew?
This book is full of stories like this: homemade Halloween costumes, handing clothes down through the seceding brothers (there were 6 Scieszka boys...I don't know how their mother coped), going to parochial school, being a Boy Scout, and 'keeping an eye' on the younger brothers. They're told with a great deal of humor and honesty (and plenty of disclaimers telling the reader not to attempt this at home). Don't be put off by the fact that it is a children's book...this is a fabulous read for adults and it has helped me understand my husband and my dad are so darn odd.

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