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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lawn Boy Returns, written by Gary Paulsen. Random House, 2010. $14.99 ages 10 and up

"Five days.
It felt like I had lived several
centuries since they'd left.
Zed had arrived and departed.
My staff had expanded.
Lawyers had filed papers.
Tax problems had erupted.
My staff had become a bunch
of organized trouble-makers
to scare off some bad guys.
Grandma had thrown a kidney

Gary Paulsen has found great success as a writer of madcap comedy. Some of my favorite books are Harris and Me, How Angel Peterson Got His Name, and the zany Lawn Boy. Well, Lawn Boy is back and with him come all the troubles that ailed him in his first adventure...only more so! Friendship, fighting and finance are at the heart of his engaging and fast-paced romp. Along the way, Lawn Boy learns some harsh lessons and emerges better for the learning.

Nothing threatens his life, as might happen in so many of Paulsen's other books. But, that doesn't mean there aren't obstacles placed in his way. This book picks up where the first left off. As his net worth increases so do the problems inherent in running a growing empire. He has staff to support, a fighter to protect, a very busy working life and now...lawyers, accountants, a publicist, the IRS, mobsters and an unwelcome yard guest named Zed.

That's where his friends come in; from Arnold the stock broker to Grandma the kidney-punching fight aficionado. Every character has character and each can be counted on when the going gets tough. There is so much fun packed into this short, funny novel!

Gary Paulsen is a boy at heart, and he seems to get to the heart of those twelve-year-old adventurers that he so aptly creates for our enjoyment:.

 “…he and the guys in his cabin had started a hard-core heavy metal headbanging band they called Infected Wound, had gotten in trouble for collecting leeches and applying them to each other’s butt cheeks to see if they really did have medicinal properties, and as punishment had been forced to play board games with the camp director’s spoiled-rotten seven-year-old grandson.”

This book abounds with humor, but it also has heart and a Grandma who teaches quiet lessons that stick.

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