Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Knock Knock

After his attempts to run for class president in Funny Kid for President, Max has decided that his identity is firmly tied to being the "funny kid". When his arch enemy, Abby Purcell, not only calls him "unfunny kid" but gets a laugh when his own joke did NOT, he is beside himself and feels that amends have to be made. He tries out for the Redhill Talent Quest, only to find that another participant, Tumbles the Clown, is attempting to be funny at the expense of Max. Tumbles heckles Max mercilessly and throws him off his game, but when Max tries to heckle Tumbles, he is admonished for it! Clearly, this isn't fair, and when Max's grandfather disappears from the local nursing home, Max uses this as an excuse to drop out. There is a note from kidnappers, which is highly suspect, but Officer Purcell is still brought in to help, and brings her daughter... ABBY! Max is not happy at all, and gets involved with the search, but also decides to continue to participate. Eventually, a secret emerges involving Tumbles and Max's grandfather. Can Max solve the mystery in time to amuse the audience at the Talent Quest?

Good Points
This notebook novel is a good mix of illustrations and text, and has plenty of throwaway jokes, such as a backstory of Max trying to make people laugh that includes an account of his birth, complete with his bare baby bum! This is far more amusing than Patterson's I, Funny, especially since it is very clear that Max's grandfather isn't in any real danger. I do like the depiction of "Cranky Pants"-- "Mom says he thinks Planet Earth is his house and everyone else popped in without asking"! (page 18)

It's interesting that Max's downfall is due in part to the fact that all of the students in his class really like their new, young teacher, Miss Sweet. They don't appreciate Max playing jokes on her, and since that is a huge source of his humor, it has a bad effect on his popularity. Also interesting is watching him freeze and be unable to come up with good jokes when him rhythm is thrown off. Losing one's "mojo" happens all too frequently, and it's important for young readers to see this happen to some of their favorite characters.

Like other notebook novels like Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, How to Be a Supervillain, Remy Sneakers, and King of the Bench Funny Kid includes plenty of poop and fart jokes, visual gags, and silly situations that will make readers laugh out loud. Get a copy of this for long summer car trips along with Marty Pants and some Big Nate comic books to insure that instead of hearing "Are we there yet?" you'll be hearing bad jokes!
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