Friday, May 21, 2010

You Never Know...: The Adventures of Benny by Steve Shreve

Benny woke up early one morning. He packed a baloney sandwich, a fresh pair of underpants and clean socks--because you never know when a pair of clean socks or underwear might come in handy.

He headed through the woods to the old fishin' hole.

And sure enough, extra undies are just what he needs. Following huge footprints through the trees, Benny comes across Bigfoot, yelling in pain from a wood splinter in his caboose, which Benny, who seems to know his Aesop, gently removes, earning the creature's gratitude. Benny even offers his skivvies and socks to Bigfoot to prevent further splinter incursions and offers to share his sandwich.

They found a couple of logs (without splinters) and sat down to eat.

Benny looked over at Bigfoot.

"You don't have a nose," said Benny. "How do you smell?"

"Terrible," replied Bigfoot.

"I see," said Benny. "Well, that's a relief. I thought the baloney sandwich had gone bad."

On his way again, Benny is soon snatched by a wolf who plans to stew him up for dinner. Bigfoot happens by, and in proper Aesop fashion, rescues Benny, who loses his fishing gear in the process, but that is by no means the end of Benny's adventures.

A trip to Egypt with his archaeologist Uncle Howard brings an encounter with the somewhat unraveling mummy of King Butthankhamon, who resists a trip back to the museum. Luckily, Benny has brought along a extra roll of toilet paper against unforeseen expediences this time, and King Butt agrees to cooperate in exchange for a re-wrapping.

Then it's on to a tussle with the pirate Long John Underwear and a scary tangle with a giant squid before Benny in relief returns to the safety of his own bed. Unfortunately, underneath is the Booger Man, and when he finally gives that guy the shake, he finds himself contending with a troop of monkeys and a ghost for a buried treasure. Benny prevails at last, with just enough of the treasure trove to afford a new fishin' pole, which brings the tale around full circle to the old fishin' hole.

Somewhere between a beginning chapter book, picture book, and graphic novel, Steve Shreve's Adventures of Benny (Marshall Cavendish, 2009) is a genuinely funny quick read for reluctant readers, cleverly illustrated with blackline drawings by the author.

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  • It's so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it, especially boys.

    I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

    My blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading. And my new book, Lost Island Smugglers - first in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series - is coming out in August. .

    Max Elliot Anderson
    PS. My first 7 books are going to be republished by Comfort Publishing later in 2010

    By Blogger max, at 9:20 AM  

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