Summer Reading is Killing Me!--Jon Scieszka
1998 by Puffin
Okay, this is just going to be a mini review. Short book will usually equal short review. I normally include the synopsis/jacket flap/back of the book blurb from Goodreads, but Goodreads didn't have a good blurb for this book. So, here's my own attempt:
Joe, Sam, and Fred get sucked into their summer reading list. The characters from Peter Rabbit, Treasure Island, Frog and Toad, Charlotte's Web, The Twits, and other children's classics get all mixed up, with the villains, of course, conspiring to take over the stories. (I actually want to read the villian dominated stories: Frankenstein in Wonderland, The Devil in the Willows, Green Eggs and Dracula, etc.) The boys must set all the stories straight and somehow make it back home before getting eaten by an octopus, crushed by an enormous stack of library books, or bored out of their minds by the girly series.
Really, anything by Scieszka is going to be funny. The book both pokes fun at and pays tribute to summer reading and children's literature. I love how the characters from the different stories interact; metafiction is just fun. The summer reading list at the back is a great idea, giving kids who loved the story an idea of where to look next for a good read.
Other reviewers commented on the excellent illustrations, but I read this in an anthology of children's literature that, crime to humanity that it is, did not include the illustrations. I imagine they would have been fun. Lane Smith + Jon Scieszka = funny.
It's short and sweet and fun. Librarians, teachers, and anyone who read a lot as a kid would get a kick out of this. I haven't read any of the other Time Warp Trio books, so I don't know for sure how this one compares, but I'd probably introduce young readers to the beginning of the series before having them read this one. While this book is a lot of fun, its humor relies mostly on literary references that they might not catch.
A short read you can kick out in less than an hour and a lot of fun. Nothing spectacular, just fun.