Reviews for Masters of Disaster


Booklist Reviews 2010 October #1
Henry convinces his best friends, Riley and Reed, that the three 12-year-olds should prove their manhood by undertaking a series of daring exploits. The first, in which Reed rides a bicycle off a third-story roof, sets the pattern: Henry, the creative force, comes up with one hare-brained scheme after another; Riley, the observer, records the disastrous consequences; and Reed, the reluctant adventurer, puts his life on the line and ends up not just battered but slimed by disgusting, odiferous ooze. Although the pattern quickly grows predictable, that will only make the story funnier for readers drawn to the broad humor of exploding science experiments and upended portable toilets. Three of the episodic chapters are based on short stories Paulsen wrote for Boys' Life magazine from 2001 to 2004. Certain plot points strain credibility, but readers willing to suspend disbelief and follow the boys' over-the-top exploits will enjoy plenty of laughs along the way. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Twelve-year-old Henry hits upon a plan for himself and his friends Reed and Riley to become "Men of Action and Daring, Masters of Adventure." The ensuing shenanigans include roof biking, Dumpster diving, and parade crashing. These episodic boys-will-be-boys adventures feature lots of kid-pleasing humor. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 January/February
Henry Olsen, Reed Hamner, and Riley Dolen are middle school nobodies when Henry decides it's time for them to spice up their lives. With military organization, Henry leads sensible Riley and accident-prone Reed on a series of schemes he believes will earn them fame and glory. Seeking to set obscure world records, solve century-old mysteries and win renown in the scientific world, the boys embark on a series of perilous quests to make a name for themselves. Ridiculous stunts and the boys' riotous commentary propel the story forward, chapter by hilarious chapter. In the end, the boys succeed only at bringing a school bully's reputation asunder. Their ill-fated trials will endear them to a generation of readers. Paulsen has written a lightning-paced thrill ride brimming with witty commentary that will satisfy both reluctant readers and those who crave a dose of intellectual humor. This is a good-natured romp through boyhood, its hapless adventures, and the timeless joy of unquestioningl loyal friends. Recommended. Jenny MacKay, Children's Author, Sparks, Nevada ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

Gr 5-7--Henry Mosley is concerned that his everyday life lacks the excitement experienced by the young heroes of his favorite novels. "We may be the most boring twelve-year-olds on the planet," he tells his friends Riley and Reed. Henry proposes that they undertake a series of projects, thus "Becoming Men of Action and Daring" who "Alter the Course of History" and, with luck, "Impress Girls." While the dialogue and setting are modern, this is an affectionate and spot-on homage to the "boy chums" adventures of yesteryear. Each self-contained chapter details one of Henry's wild plans--from driving a bicycle off a roof to searching for bodies in a haunted house to spending the night in a Dumpster. The friends fill familiar roles--Henry the mastermind; Riley the scientific planner and loyal sidekick; and cautious, nervous Reed, who generally ends up right in the thick of the calamity du jour. Henry's schemes often involve serious danger, but the guys come through with only a few bumps and nicks--and some lingering bad smells. There is even a bully antagonist, although the brutish Dwight stays mostly on the fringes of the action--until the trio's spectacular last-chapter revenge. Middle school boys will be attracted by the zany stunts and frequent gross-out encounters with garbage, mud, slime, and "doody."--Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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