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Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka
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Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,889 ratings  ·  771 reviews
How did Jon Scieszka get so funny, anyway? Growing up as one of six brothers was a good start, but that was just the beginning. Throw in Catholic school, lots of comic books, lazy summers at the lake with time to kill, babysitting misadventures, TV shows, jokes told at family dinner, and the result is Knucklehead. Part memoir, part scrapbook, this hilarious trip down memor ...more
Paperback, 106 pages
Published October 2nd 2008 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 2008)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,889 ratings  ·  771 reviews

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Jul 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
To adults that don’t normally wander through the shelves of children’s literature the notion of the autobiography for kids is a pretty odd beast. You write a book about yourself, sure. But why would you make the primary audience for that book people who think that boogers and farts are the height of wit and sophistication? Fact of the matter is an autobiography written with a child audience in mind needs a hook. Your life, particularly your life as a kid, has to have had something interesting ab ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The problem with Jon Scieszka is that I like him so unabashedly that I'm not sure I can be objective about his books. He is funny in a silly but not an immature way. He is honest with kids (laughingly admitting that not only does he watch t.v - uh, ah, hush. hush. but he gets ideas from t.v.) His respect for kids is evident in his demeanor, his writing and other professional pursuits.

He's like the relative you're actually excited to see at the family reunion. And this book is like being the you
Monica Edinger
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a very quick and enjoyable read. I read the ARC (as the book is due out this fall) and will be curious to see how it looks in its final form. It consists of a series of short amusing stories about the author's childhood. Very boyish, lighthearted, and a lot of fun to read. There are stories that made me think of other books (e.g., but there didn't seem to be as many injured animals in this one (especially if you don't count Jon's youngest brother). One ...more
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a treat! The format is so appealing - it looks
like a comic book and the chapters are short and filled with the
exploits of 6 little boys growing up in Flint, Michigan. Boys will
love this book! If you are a boy, were a boy, grew up with boys or
raised or taught boys you will love this book! It is the kind of book
you read aloud to anyone within earshot. Or you try to read it aloud.
I was laughing so hard I had to end up giving the book to my husband
to read for himself. There is a chapter
Ⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓨ Ⓚⓔⓔⓝ Ⓡⓔⓐⓓⓢ
This was a short and sweet book. The childhood story of an acclaimed children's book author. Jon Scieszka shares his crazy younger years from peeing on space heaters to putting green army men in the toaster. I get where the name "Knucklehead" came from. Let's just say I had no idea what Stucky's was and now I want to go to one. Ahhhhh. NOSTALGIA. ...more
Heather McC
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
There's plenty of brotherly love to go around in Scieszka's memoir, told in a scrapbook fashion with photographs, report cards, vintage toy advertisements, and plenty of knuckleheaded antics. ...more
Entertaining stories about growing up with five brothers in Michigan in the 1960s. What I learned: Don't leave your army guy in the toaster, even if he is a rifleman and you want him to aim a little higher. ...more
Jon Scieszka has five brothers. Jon Scieszka is a funny writer. Ergo, Jon Scieszka's stories about growing up with his five brothers = funny. Oh yeah - I laughed out loud. I read bits aloud to the librarians in the workroom who wanted to know just what was so damn funny, and they laughed out loud. But we're moms. Moms of boys. We have to think boys are funny, or else go googoo and end up carted away in a van.

And I also believe that Knucklehead will make children laugh out loud. There is fire, th
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jon Scieszka is a creative genius.
Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka is a hilarious memoir (geared toward the 9-12 set) filled with short vignettes about what it's like to grow up in a family of six kids. Six boys, no less. And just in case that family structure alone isn't comedy itself, try this: six boys in Catholic school.

Of course, growing up in a family of six kids myself (we were five girls, one boy...comedy of
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
I firmly believe that Jon Scieszka set out to write the most boy-friendly book in the world, and succeeded. This autobiographical book has all the elements that boys want. It is guaranteed to fly off the shelves thanks to the amazing vintage comic-book cover. When boys read it, they are bound to share it with their friends thanks to the firecrackers, peeing, barfing, and continuous wild antics of the Scieszka brothers. But what the cover and the louder moments of the book won't reveal is the lov ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
I heard about this book at a Language Arts conference during a book talk. Lo and behold, it was in the library at school sitting on a shelf display collecting dust. Obvious target audience: middle school kids. Scieszka tells stories of his youth, growing up middle class in Flint, Michigan with 5 brothers. Amusing tales transpire about the shenanigans the boys find themselves in the middle of as a result of their own "male" behavior. Having a young boy myself here at home, I can appreciate many o ...more
Cameron G.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently finished the book Knucklehead by: Jon Scieszka. This book is an autobiography about Jon's childhood growing up as the 2nd born out of 6 kids. Each chapter is about a small adventure he had growing up. The brothers are reckless,crazy, and will do anything for an adventure (even break their brother Greg's collarbone 3 times). The brothers also love to set up toy army men them make them explode in some crazy way. I Can and can't relate to Jon. I can relate to him because he and his broth ...more
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book triggered great memories from my own childhood. I wasn't a "boy" but did all the boy kind of things with my older brother. For me it was a walk back through time. Even down to the fort playing war, I lived in an open area, blowing up models. My brother and I would spend hours making army models and minutes blowing them up. Can't remember where the firecrackers came from. Building forts was the best and with all the open area and scrap wood around we never tired. The only roll was to be ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book was full of funny stories about growing up in a family with a bunch of brothers. Unfortunately, the stories are told without any of the details that make such stories entertaining. So it's a book of boring funny stories. For instance, he talks about how his brother broke his collarbone four times while playing. But you don't get any details. That's pretty much it. "My brother broke his collarbone when we were playing. Four times!" That's not a riveting tale of childhood or brotherhood. ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Laugh out loud funny. Reminds me of Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid... but for kids.
I'm also positive that Jon Scieszka and my father were best friends, somehow defying the time and space that separated their childhoods in Flint, Michigan and Chicago. Polish knuckleheads with amazing Catholic school stories and a deep-rooted love of the BOINK! sound effect from the Three Stooges: a match made in comedy heaven.
Finally answers the question, "What's so funny, Mr. Sciesz
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I had to stop everything we were dong to read this one aloud to my students. Even though they are really enjoying our current read aloud, when I read one little chapter out of this book they were hooked and wanted more. I have to say it is one of the best fifth grade read aloud books that I have used in a long time.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Is it sad that I didn't really care about his life. He is pretty ordinary and I felt like he probably was just stuck on ideas for a next book so he thought, autobiography, that should be easy enough. I'll take a super average life, add some funny pictures and captions and make millions. Just took a lot away from how great of an author he is. ...more
Lori Black
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious read!!
I have always wished I had a brother----and now I wish it was Jon Scieszka! :)
Pegi Ferrell
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud funny. Great for boys who are reluctant readers. Great for adults. Great for Catholic school teachers and librarians.
Brandon O'Neill
Read the first half of this years ago and never finished, so I decided to listen to it. Tales of the author growing up with his 5 brothers.
Lisa Marie
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads, j-fic, audio
Laugh out loud “mostly true” stories of growing up as 1 of 6 brothers. Really enjoyed this one!
Christina Getrost
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, biography
Hilarious book! Jon Scieszka's fiction books are always funny, (think of The Stinky Cheese Man and try not to laugh!) but this memoir of his years growing up with his crazy brothers is knee-slappingly funny. From pranks they played on each other to the horrors of hand-me-down clothing to everything in between, and illustrated with photos from the Scieszka family album, you'll find yourself wishing your family was half as much fun. A good companion book to Chris Crutcher's King of the Mild Fronti ...more
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Jon Scieszka and his books an awful lot, but this autobiography is clearly meant for kids. There are a lot of childhood stories that are supposed to be funny, but I've read his stuff, and he can do so much funnier. I really wanted to love this book. His humor is usually so self-aware with poignant commentary, where this was just so run-of-the-mill funny. You'll get a lot of laughs out of younger kids (and probably nostalgic elderly people, too) but as a 20-something, this book didn't make ...more
Genevieve Goldstein
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Knucklehead" was a book unlike any other memoir. It tells the story behind the author of the books from my childhood. For example, " The Stinky Cheese Man" to " The True Story of 3 Little Pigs". Jon Scieszka's books are all based on his life living with five brothers. Jon was the second oldest, " And the nicest. And the smartest. And the best looking. And the most humble." At least that's what Jon says. His life with his family has started from when him and his brother being born. One year afte ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love Jon Scieszka! His creativity, imagination, and unique perspective always makes his writing original and fun to read. This book is his "autobiography" written in true Scieszka fashion. It is funny (oh so funny!), great for a read aloud, and a wonderful glimpse into some of the life experiences and circumstances that have influenced his writing and books! One of his passions is helping boys to become interested in literacy...especially reading. This book is PERFECT for a boy who might be a ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Discovering this book was the fantastic result of living in a house where books end up just lying around on any available surface. My son checked this out from his elementary school library. It was near the couch so I picked it up to flip through it; eventually I read the whole book. It's like David Sedaris for the younger set. It's stories of family and siblings, entertaining, but with heart.

I'm not sure what's happening with my sense of humor lately. The barfing in the car story made me laugh
Amanda Harris
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jon Scieszka grew up in Flint, Michigan with 5 brothers! It seemed like Jon's mother would disappear and then show up back at home with a new baby brother. So as a new brother appeared, Jon and his other brothers would get moved around and re-situated and so I love the story about when Jon and his brother Jim moved down to the basement (pg. 16). I also loved Jon recounting how he learned to cook...because he liked to stir oatmeal more than picking up dog poop!

This book is hysterical!
Was introduced to this book at the 2016 Boothbay Literacy Retreat by either Penny Kittle or Linda Rief (sorry, I don't remember exactly which one it was). The short chapters can be read in order, or individually. We used one of the chapters as a starting point for a Quick Write, which you could do with students as well.

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you: http://www.indiebound.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Knucklehead, but even more fun was watching my husband read it. Like Scieszka, he is one of six brothers, and he chortled his whole way through the book. I'll be curious to find out if young kids appreciate the book or if some knowledge/experience of growing up in the 60s is needed. ...more
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Jon Scieszka is a writer and teacher. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two children. Occasionally he has been known to howl at the full moon.
—From the dust jacket of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Jon Scieszka is also the author of the best-selling ALA Notable Book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, as well as Knights of the Kitchen Table, and The Not-So-Jolly Roger. He

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