Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Review: "Jake the Fake Keeps It Real" by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach

About the book:
Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It’s better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.

Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate, Jake the Fake is sure to bring the laughs with his hilarious high jinks that will leave readers eager for the next installments in the series. Featuring more than 160 illustrations, readers will be delighted by the school adventures pulled from Robinson’s hilarious experience attending Chicago’s first public magnet school!

My thoughts:
My middle-school boys have always been reluctant readers, but I could always get them to read the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. Jake the Fake appeals to middle-schoolers for many of the same reasons. It's the story of a pre-teen who doesn't quite fit in, both with his family and at school. He is in the process of learning who he is and that it's okay not to be Mr. Popular. It was hilarious to read about Jake's attempts to fit into his art school by making a sculpture out of garbage from the cafeteria and forming a band that doesn't play music. I loved the weird school assignments he received, like to chew a piece of gum for six hours and write a play about it. Or write a book report about a book that doesn't exist. Meanwhile, like the Wimpy Kid, Jake has a best friend with whom he's going through the growing pains of friendship. Can their friendship survive being at different middle schools? The book culminates in a giant dilemma for Jake. How can he fake his way through the end-of-year talent show when he has no talent? I won't add any spoilers to this review, but I will say that Jake gets through it brilliantly and figures out that he's not as talentless or misplaced as he always thought. My boys and I really enjoyed getting to know Jake and are excited for the next installment in this funny series.

About the authors:
Comedian, musician, and actor Craig Robinson transitions his flair for humor from the screen to the page in his authorial debut. He is best known for his work on NBC’s The Office, Hollywood comedy blockbusters This Is the End, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Pineapple Express, and the upcoming drama Morris from America. Robinson pulls on his life’s most hilarious moments and his experience attending Chicago’s first public magnet school to bring Jake the Fake to life. Robinson continues to act, perform, and cheer on the White Sox.

Adam Mansbach is a novelist, screenwriter, cultural critic, and humorist. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*ck to Sleep and You Have to F*cking Eat, Mansbach has recently expanded his writing repertoire to include his debut thriller The Dead Run and middle-grade novel Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My . . . His novel Rage Is Back was an NPR Best Book of the Year. Mansbach’s work has also appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered.

About the illustrator:
Keith Knight is a rapper, social activist, father, and educator. He’s also one of the most highly regarded cartoonists in America, and the creator of three popular comic strips: The Knight Life, (th)ink, and The K Chronicles. Knight is the recipient of the Eisner Award and the NAACP History Maker award. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including the Washington Post, Daily KOS, San Francisco Chronicle,, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, and The Funny Times.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Advance Reader's Copy of this book to facilitate my review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.


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