My son received a book for Christmas. My mother in law gifted it with a disclaimer, “This is a hilarious book. You might need to read it with him.” As I started reading it, I understood why. I didn’t need to read the book with my son because it was too hard for him to read, but because it would give him crazy ideas to try out.
Jon Scieszka consistently demonstrates a sense of humor in the children’s books that he has written. His books such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Stinky Cheese Man, and Other Fairly Stupid Tales are great examples of Mr. Scieszka’s alternative perspective on life. He even explains how dinner time is an opportunity to work out individual humor and perfect timing. I think being from a large family warped his sense of humor. It did the same to some of my in-laws.
Mr. Scieszka wrote Knucklehead as an autobiography. In the title, Scieszka gives a disclaimer that the stories in Knucklehead may not be all true and possibly stretched a bit. I have a sneaky suspicion that these stories are a true account of growing up in a large family. With my large family experiences (Surviving Large Family Gatherings), I have heard many similar stories from my spouse and his siblings. I read him one incident that took place early in the story.
The twisty metal coils on the heater had a great orange glow when they got hot. Just like the fires we would build with Dad out at the lake. I guess that’s what made me and Jim think we could put out the heater the same way we put out the fires at the lake–by peeing on it.
My spouse chuckled, gave a half grin, and commented on how bad that smelled. This led me to believe that he and at least one brother (if not more of the six) participated in similar escapades. His own childhood recollections support my suspicions.
Another relate-able incident that I have with the book was the broken collar bone:
Gregg’s collarbone got good at fixing itself. I think we broke him three or four times. We didn’t mean to. It just happened…”
We have a great story about how my husband broke his collarbone as a child. Out of respect for all involved, I have omitted the details of the story. Let us just say “Ah, the laughs that has provided.”
Mr. Sciezka’s description of his mother makes me proud, as well. She encouraged them to use the proper terms for pee and butts:
‘Mom!’ yelled Gregg, ‘Jim and Jon just peed on me!’ ‘No,’ said mom, ‘They just urinated on you.’ ‘We didn’t pee on him,’ said Jim. ‘No,’ said mom. ‘You didn’t urinate on him.’ ‘We were just sword fighting.’ I said.
I strongly believe in using real terminology whenever possible. I don’t make up words for the penis or vagina, I also don’t make a scene using the term. Some people are uncomfortable with it. As an adult trainer I have to teach people not make up terms and to use terms that parents are comfortable with.
Knucklehead is not a book you can finish quickly. It is a quick read but not one in which you can skip parts. I found myself scanning pages for a quote, laughing, reading the section out loud to garner a similar reaction from my family. Every chapter vividly illustrates growing up in a family of six boys. It provides a clear insight into the developmental moments of a child’s life that will set him on the path for future life success and laughs.
Definitely read this book, but not in a room all alone. This book begs to be read aloud. The jokes are dying to be shared. The humor compels you to compare it to your own sense of humor. If you are mom of boys, allow this to give you insight into how their little minds work. But most of all, enjoy this ROTFLOL book.