Monday, May 31, 2010

The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups & The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups The Second File by David Wisniewski

David Wisniewski reveals all in a series of secret files! In the first volume, he disguises himself in various ingenious (and sometimes short-sighted ways) to find out the real reason grown-ups make you eat your vegetables (hilariously terrifying) the truth behind drinking milk (freaky but illogical) why you must comb your hair (truly terrifying) why you shouldn't blow bubbles in your milk (rather thin) why you shouldn't play with your food (a bit of a stretch and quite silly) why not to jump on your bed (very, very good. very, very scary) the horrible results of biting your nails (illogical) and why you should never pick your nose (a good one - gross and scary). There's a good mix of scary, silly, and gross. This would be a great one to read aloud to an elementary age group, especially in a crazy, dramatic voice. The sections make it easy to pick and choose for the reader or for a reluctant reader to browse. Wisniewski's illustrations are both frightening and humorous with the over-the-edge quality that perfectly matches the text.

The Second File...well, I'm afraid our intrepid reporter may have been captured and brainwashed by grown-ups. The reasons behind the rules are pretty thin and the whole book just doesn't have that wild and wacky scary/funny feel of the first story. While the first book is clearly just for fun, the reader gets a feeling that the second book is reaching for the fun but only makes it to silly justification of rules. Oh well. I think kids will still enjoy it, but it won't have the same pull and instant adoration of the first.

Verdict: The first is a definite must, the second is an additional purchase.

Secret knowledge of grownups
ISBN: 978-0688153397; Published April 1998 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from the library

Second file
ISBN: 978-0688178543; Published July 2001 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from the library


Ms. Yingling said...

The first one goes on the list! It looks like fun!

Jennifer said...

Yes, I'm looking forward to showing this to my Book That Eats People fans - which include kids up through 6th grade!

CoffeeShopBloggers said...

This looks great for reluctant readers! Thanks for the wonderful post!

Pragmatic Mom

(my google account is attached to my group blog on SEO).

Jennifer said...

Yep, it's a good "dipping in" book. I like ones that don't have to be read in big chunks - that can be very overwhelming for slow or reluctant readers.