Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka

by Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka’s enormously funny childhood autobiography not only tells larger... read more

Jon Scieszka’s enormously funny childhood autobiography not only tells larger than life stories about growing up with five brothers but more than answers the age-old question posed to writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” The tall volume looks like an oversize comic book, and while the text is divided into traditional chapters, the pages are illustrated with numerous photos, images, and scanned relics. The thirty-eight chapters are short—at most only a few pages in length. Practical chapter titles like “Home, Sweet Home” and “Schooling” give a broad sense of the wise-cracking stories they contain. “Cooking” begins: “I learned how to cook because I like to stir oatmeal more than I like to pick up dog poop.” From there Scieszka goes on to explain his strategy for chore assignments in his large family. In “Sorry, Mom,” he relates how roughhousing with his brothers often led to accidents: “You know that little bone in the front part of your shoulder? The collarbone? Did you know you can break that bone with just seven pounds of pressure?” A black-and-white school photo of his younger brother Gregg, complete with hunched shoulders, bow tie, and angelic smile concludes the chapter, along with Scieszka’s comment that “Gregg’s collarbone got good at fixing itself. I think we broke him three or four times….Which explains why we have a lot of pictures of Gregg looking like a third-grade pro football player.” Not to be missed is the hilarious index at the end, making this memorable autobiography one to be paged through again and again. (Ages 8–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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