Reviews for Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading

AudioFile Reviews 2011 September
Hero and first-person narrator Charlie Joe Jackson has a lot to say! Not only does he provide a window on middle school life, but he also delves, in alternating chapters, into his rationale and suggestions for how to avoid reading for pleasure or assignment. His aversion to book reports and position papers as well as his curiosity about girls strikes a familiar chord. MacLeod Andrews's voice is refreshingly kid-friendly. His enthusiasm never flags, and his pacing mirrors the ups and downs of school--dragging when Charlie Joe is on the principal's or his parents' carpet and highly animated when the character is plotting with friends Timmy and Katie. Andrews's spot-on inflections bring chuckles to the vignettes. Will Charlie Joe change his tune? A question-and-answer session with the author concludes the recording. A.R. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

Gr 5-7--In this wry and engaging story (Roaring Brook Press, 2011) by Tommy Greenwald, Charlie Joe has achieved the honor of being the cool kid who gets by without ever having to read a whole book. Now that he's in middle school, however, and his friend Timmy won't trade book reports for ice cream, Charlie has to get more creative to maintain his record. He is an extremely clever young man and knows all of the proper phrases to use in his reports. Also, he can work a friendship so that both parties come away feeling that they have won, and he promises to spread his manifesto of non-reading with a book filled with short chapters and monosyllabic words. Toss in some very authentic middle-school romance, a few interesting teachers, and 25 "exclusive non-reading tips," and the book fairly flies along to its surprisingly ironic ending. MacLeod Andrews performs Charlie's narrative with humor and typical middle-school sarcasm, using exaggerated voices for the other characters. Bonus features include an interview with the author, a section of the book that Charlie refuses to read, and a song about the joys of reading. With a sequel already in the works, Charlie Joe promises to be popular with fans of "The Wimpy Kid" series, and should make even the most reluctant readers stick around to the last (short) chapter.--MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools, Binghamton, NY

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