Erik's Reviews > Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka

Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
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's review
Apr 03, 2009

it was amazing

I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Sciezska’s work in the YA genre, I have been a great admirer of his efforts to promote literacy for young boys. (A sure way to my heart, having been a picky and somewhat reluctant reader myself in my elementary years.) And when I saw this beautifully bound memoir of Scieszka’s youth growing up in Flint, Michigan – with its Combat and Sgt. Rock-style comic-book cover (complete with an early photo of him photo-shopping onto the head of the solider in the tank) – I knew that I would love this. And love this I did.

An easy read over an afternoon cuppa joe, Scieszka effortlessly invites us into his childhood growing up the second-eldest in a household of boys. (Can you image his poor mother?) From the antics of going to Catholic School under the tutelage of Sisters Helen Jude and Margaret Mary, having a public school principal for a dad, placing a mail-order for one of those oh-so-enticing 100-piece toy soldier set, tying up the baby-sitter in the closet for two hours, or even starting a fire in his parent’s basement only when you were trying to demolish some old plastic airplane models, Scieszka manages to prove that he’s a writer of unparalleled humor and verve.

I honestly don’t know which tales are tall, or which are mostly true. Yet I do know that this is one hilarious romp in a childhood from yesteryear that is worthy of another contemporary YA classic, Jerry Spinelli’s Knots in My Yo-Yo String, or – for adults – Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face – if not cause you to bust your gut at least once – I don’t know what will.

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