Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't As Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents who disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Could Not Finish So Maybe You Can Help Us Out, Stories by Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, Jon Scieszka, Jonathan Safran Foer and more. Delacourt, 2005 -- publisher supplied review copy
I would just like to point out that the introduction to this book of short stories by Lemony Snicket is utterly and completely laugh-out-loud perfection.
It served as an outstanding introductory read for eighth grade English classes making their first visit to the school library this school year. Now eighth graders are a tough audience. They have heard the library spiel for two years in a row. They know where the Fiction is, They know where the NonFiction is shelved. They know they have to have their ID with them to check out books.
My lesson plan, as the substitute librarian, was to deliver the stern warnings about book damage, overdue items and other "cheerful" library topics.
-- sigh --
As first period slouched in, they fell on their chairs and draped their shoulders into a position on the table tops to best cradle their heads for sleep.
After the teacher arrived, I opened this book to the title page and began to read the "title without end." Heads began too pop up. I continued to the introduction. By the time I finished Snicket's first paragraph, every pair of eyes was on me and as I proceeded, tired faces began to assume a degree of alertness and mouths began to turn upward. When I arrived at the "tedious" snippets from "tedious" stories, they were completely with me. Laughter was filling the library. The kids completely got the artful skewering of the children's literature standards and afterwards, at least half the class asked where the library copy of this book could be found.
"Well, the library does not have it yet, but I've left a note for your librarian to get it."
Oh , I hope she does.
Buy this book for the introduction alone. The quirky, off beat and NEVER "tedious" short stories are a bonus. Also, the cover completely drew their attention. The last story in the book is served up with an unlikely set of characters and ends abruptly, with a request that the reader finish the story. I would love to read what they come up with.
This title is the next recommendation for fans of Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys.
This is A MUST HAVE.
Elementary school libraries, junior high, high school, go ahead. Put is on your acquisition list RIGHT NOW!