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Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 11, 2009

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 11, 2009
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From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Though at first glance this handbook may seem like a tween/teen version of William Powell's The Anarchist Cookbook (Barricade, 1990), it's actually a lot more like Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden's innocuous The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). While the focus is on how to execute perfect pranks, and while there is definitely an illicit feel to the book design, there's also strong emphasis on mischief-makers' ethics as defined in a Prankster's Code, which is repeated throughout the book. Among its prescriptions: Always be careful; don't be a bully; do no lasting damage; and be funny. That last edict is a biggie. The book constantly emphasizes that, ultimately, pranks should be creative and harmless enough to be entertaining to parties on both sides of the equation–even if perpetrators have to return to the scene of their crimes to help clean up any lingering messes. While it's destined to be devilishly attractive to reluctant readers, most of the pranks outlined are actually of the dribble-glass and Whoopie cushion variety. But some, like any worthwhile high jinks, could go awry and land pranksters in hot water. If that happens, the manual also provides tips on how to get out of trouble gracefully. Some techniques, like the Ping-Pong ball smoke bomb, may give some professionals pause, no matter how many safety guidelines accompany them.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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...this compact vade mecum will thrill armchair jokers and may be taken to heart by a few of the active sort too. ---Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044844982X
  • ASIN: B00381B7IC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the creator of ZUG (, the world's oldest humor Web site. I have two books: PRANK THE MONKEY (, a humor book for adults, and MISCHIEF MAKER'S MANUAL (, a book of pranks and practical jokes for kids.

My comedy work has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, the Boston Globe, and BusinessWeek. I've made appearances on Comedy Central, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, MSNBC, TechTV, and the BBC. I'm a frequent speaker at technology conferences and wacky morning radio shows across the nation.

I live in Boston with my wife and two sons, Isaac and Rocket.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brandon on June 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm 24, but I'm really excited to bust out this book next time I'm playing with my 9 year old cousin. The gamut of material in this book is great. I think my cousin is going to be particularly excited about making smoke bombs and cooking up some of the recipes in the book.

I couldn't possibly write a review of this book without first comparing it to The Dangerous Book for Boys. It's in a similar fashion, but in my opinion, better executed. This book has a lot of material I would have LOVED to have when I was younger (actually... I'm still pretty excited about it now). I feel like The Dangerous Book for Boys only has about 30% of worthwhile content. Boys like to cause trouble. Simple as that, and this book helps to do so in a non-destructive way, which is ultimately the most important lesson.

From a publishing standpoint, this book is fantastic. The quality of the book overall is above and beyond just about any other book in its class. From the recipe inserts, to the illustrations on every page, to the size of the book overall, this book begs to be on any child's shelf or in their backpack for... "extra-curricular activities."

I don't have kids of my own, but I can immediately see the bonding that can be had from a book like this. I'm excited to get outside (now that the weather is nice again in New England) with my little cousin and start having fun. I play a fair share of video games, but he beats me hands down on hours logged, which I feel is just a shame when you're a young'un since there's so much trouble to cause in the world. Hopefully, he'll find that going out and causing some mischief is just way more fun than doing something similar in a video game. Plus, when it's time to go in at night, he can fill in all of his accomplishments on the accompanying website to the book.

If there's a young person in your life you're looking to bond with, or you're just immature (I'm both), then this is a must-buy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By FQHBOOKS VINE VOICE on June 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
SIR JOHN HARGRAVE'S MISCHIEF MAKING MANUAL is a fine example of clever writing for kids as well as great book design. Here's an example of the writing, from the introduction:

"Welcome, Young Prankster.
You have taken the first step in your training. Congratulations.
This is a big day in your life. You're about to learn everything from proper etiquette for Prank Phone Calls to usage of the classic Smoke Bomb. By studying the pages of M3, and memorizing its concepts, you'll be transformed from a novice prankster into a mighty overlord of mayhem. By the end of your training, you will be able to conjure forth a mighty mountain of suds, make frogs rain from the sky, and make people fart on command.

SIR JOHN HARGRAVE'S MISCHIEF MAKING MANUAL, or M3, is the ultimate handbook for pranks, practical jokes, stunts, tricks, and large-scale hoaxes."

This book is composed of 6 sections that will make kids beg their parents to buy it for them and adults want to buy it but not give it to their kids.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The prank in its purest form is custom made for children's literature. Pranks are kids' ways of grifting and over the years pranksters have popped up in books for youth, though never as consistently as you might think. There was Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Boy/Girl Battle" series. There are the Weaseley brothers in the "Harry Potter" books. And, most impressive, there is "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks" by E. Lockhart. But none of these dissect the very nature of prankstership. For that, you need a book of non-fiction. For that, you need something like a "Mischief Maker's Manual." Systematic. Instructive. Utilizing the newest technology in its quest for silliness, this little number is bound to be a kid's best friend and, in spite of what it may say otherwise, many an authority figure's worst nightmare.

To prank, to really be a superb above average prankster, is not an on-again off-again proposition. It requires a level of dedication and commitment. A true love of a good joke and a practiced eye. Fortunately, no child has to go it alone anymore. Using the "Mischief Maker's Manual" kids will progress through various stages of prankatude. From mild antics like salt and pepper switcheroos to full-blown large-scale productions like faking an alien landing. Every possible component is listed from getting in trouble to utilizing a buddy system.
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