After reading The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz, I wanted to have a magic pen (but for writing, not drawing)! This was a really fun story, a great way to end off my project to read all of the nominees for the 2014 Silver Birch Award. Now I can settle back and see which one kids will pick as the winner – the official voting day is this Wednesday. It won't be an easy choice.
Today’s Pick: The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz
by Alan Silverberg
Best friends Matt and Larry “Craz” Crazinski couldn’t be more different. Matt loves order, while Craz lives on the edge. The boys share a passion for cartooning, but thanks to the school paper gatekeeper (and kind-of bully), Skip Turkle, it seems their cartoons will never be published.
But then the boys discover a pen that promises to help them DRAW BETTER NOW!—and quickly realize it’s no ordinary pen: Whatever they draw comes to life!
They start small with their drawings—bags of cash, cool gadgets. Next, they get their pesky English teacher to take a unique and extended vacation. But when the boys get a little bolder in their magical drawings, they realize that things don’t always end up as perfect as the art they create....
In this funny, slightly zany, and ultimately heartwarming story, Sid Fleischman Award–winner Alan Silberberg demonstrates the power of friendship—and that the best life is not always sketched out in advance.
I had fun reading this story about two friends, their magical pen and their crazy schemes to get their comics noticed (and all the trouble that got them into). The story moved along quickly and held my attention. The humor was fun and the problems that Matt and Craz encountered seemed totally appropriate for the situation and their age.
As a writer, I was thinking of re-reading this story to help me with structuring one of my own novels, since I liked the pacing.
“If Matt was a better cartoonist and Craz hadn’t been dropped on his head as a baby, the gym wouldn’t be a gigantic beehive.”
“Craz pulled the “Cartoon King” comic out from beneath his T-shirt and was glad he hadn’t ruined it with any of his body sweat, though he did give it a quick whiff to make sure it hadn’t absorbed any unwanted smells.”
“He instantly pictured himself as much younger, rolled into a tight ball in his bed, humming so he didn’t have to hear the exact words of the fight—just the dull, barking sounds of it.”
Alan Silberberg is a cartoonist/TV writer who lives with his family in Montreal, Canada.
On the author page of his website he says: “Even as a kid I found that telling stories was powerful - bullies, friends, teachers gave me space whenever I made stuff up that filled the gaps in my life that needed filling.”
Other books by this author include:
Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze
For more, visit Alan Silberberg’s website.
If you’re interested in what I have to say about the Silver Birch nominees, I’ve posted about each one: Eldritch Manor by Kim Thompson, Nobody's Dog by Ria Voros, Ultra by David Carroll, The Curse of the Dream Witch by Allan Stratton, The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman, Record Breaker by Robin Stevenson, Yesterday’s Dead by Pat Bourke, Neil Flambe and the Tokyo Treasure by Kevin Sylvester and The Metro Dogs of Moscow by Rachelle Delaney.