From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–These selections, newly written for this collection, include stories, plays, essays, and verse, and, for the most part, they are as wholesome and innocent as Boy's Life
. In one exception, Bill C. Davis's Family Meeting, the narrator has to deal with the suicide of his older half brother and acknowledge that his father did not marry any of his three wives until they were pregnant. In Ron Koertge's realistic play Lanky Boys with Cars
, two 12-year-olds discuss what they know, or think they know, about sex. But the norm here is uncontroversial. Sneed B. Collard III's narrator in The Tower faces his fear of jumping from a high platform into a river. In To Speak or Not to Speak, Edwin Endlich's protagonist discovers that, when acting out memorized lines, he does not stutter. Barbara Robinson's allergic hero of A Pet for Calvin adopts a worm. The Squids and Heroes and Villains have science-fiction motifs, and The Marooned Boy is a version of a Caddo Indian story. Perhaps the most touching piece is Raymond Bial's essay, Bucking Bales, about a summer he spent doing chores for a neighboring farmer and learning in the process that, unlike his father, a man could praise and appreciate what a boy does. The appendix contains information about the writers and short essays by them about how the pieces came to be written. Dude!
will find its niche in libraries where more anthologies are needed, where librarians and teachers want ready access to read-alouds more mature than picture books, and where one-act plays are popular.–Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX
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Gr. 4-7. These 18 original stories, plays, and poems by prizewinning writers range from entertaining to challenging and offer an array of characters and experiences. In Bill C. Davis' intimate, thought-provoking "Family Meeting," a boy whose stepbrother committed suicide discovers the value of life. Jamie Adoff's "Twelve" is a rap poem about experiencing violence but still retaining hope. Jose Cruz Gonzalez's play Watermelon Kisses
is an amusing, credible portrayal of brotherly love and squabbles. The selections, which include many well-written gems, will resonate with and also amuse middle-grade boys, who are in the midst of conquering fears, establishing relationships with girls, and facing various ethical dilemmas as they struggle to grow up. Short author biographies, which note the author's inspiration for the story, are appended. For slightly older readers suggest Guys Write for Guys Read
(2005), edited by Jon Scieszka, or My Dad's a Punk
(2006), edited by Tony Bradman. Shelle RosenfeldCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved