Teresa's Reviews > Masters of Disaster

Masters of Disaster by Gary Paulsen
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's review
Aug 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: challenge-potential

Paulsen strikes again with another zany adventure book. Henry Mosley has plans for himself and his two friends, Riley Dolen and Reed Hamner. He announces a series of plans to "Prove Our Manhood and show us What We're Made Of. And if we play our cards right, we might just Alter the Course of History a time or two. And, of course, Impress Girls and Get Them to Notice Us."

However, none of the tasks goes exactly as planned, but all are deemed huge successes, although each one somehow ends up with the cautious and reluctant Reed covered with some putrid and stinky substance: baby diapers, bat guano, dumpster slime, cow patties--you name it, he gets slimed with it. There are always very logical reasons why Henry (planner) and Riley (notetaker and videographer) can't actually perform the stunts, leaving Reed to the task. He gets stinkier and stinkier, gradually moving from his room to the basement, to the garage, while Henry and Riley compliment him on his bravery and team spirit. After each adventure, Reed gamely announces "I'm okay", despite not being able to see (diaper over his face), or hear (bat guano in his ears), or being afraid to look at what he's holding (74.5 pound catfish). I love seeing his confidence in his survivals skills grow, each time a crazy scheme doesn't kill him.

At 102 pages, this is just the kind of gross fun boys like. Paulsen has a gift for describing exactly how things can go awesomely wrong. Give this to Captain Underpants fans; they'll eat it up(Couldn't resist--"Don't throw up. Don't throw up. Don't throw up. You'll just have to bag it for Henry," to quote Reed during the dumpster experiment.) If you decide to read this out loud (highly recommended) be ready for groans. And don't do it right after lunch period.

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