Gary Paulsen is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Lawn Boy, The Amazing Life of Birds, Mudshark, and Woods Runner.
Gr 4-7-During the first six weeks of summer, Lawn Boy (2007) went from being an ordinary 12-year-old to a successful business owner and "hundred-thousand-aire." In Gary Paulsen's humorous sequel (2010, both Wendy Lamb Books), Lawn Boy realizes that with wealth comes responsibility. By the middle of July, the young entrepreneur finds himself besieged by lawyers, labor problems, and the IRS. To make things worse, his parents are out of town, his grandmother is threatened by gangsters, and girls keep hanging around his yard wanting his autograph. What is a seventh grade boy to do? Fans of the first book will welcome the return of Lawn Boy's zany friends and family, along with a few new colorful characters. Paulsen pushes the envelope of believability to its most humorous limits as he skillfully weaves wit and wisdom to bring the tale to a satisfying conclusion. Tom Parks recreates Paulsen's memorable characters with unique, recognizable voices. Overall, Parks's performance is entertaining, but sometimes it falls short of the book's comedic potential because he lacks subtlety. His characters speak at about the same pitch and cadence throughout and come across as caricatures rather than real people. Parks sometimes fails to recognize the punch lines of sarcastic comments or understatements. For a humorous story with more authentic teen voices, Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda (Amulet Books, 2010; Recorded Books, 2010) is a good choice.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.