And that's "the man" as in "You the man!"
Not "The Man" as in "The Man" who's always working to keep me down.
(Although someday I will greatly enjoy being The Man and keeping Jeffs down. Bwa-HA-HA-HA! Ahem. Good thing no one reads these stupid parenthetical comments.)
Okay, I'll admit it. I have a teensy (read: gigantic) man-crush on this dude. I mean, how could you not, considering he's WRITTEN MORE THAN 50 BOOKS for kids and teens? Hotchee-motchee! So today I'm sharing with you two books of his that I enjoyed, using them to demonstrate his continual progress toward uber-deity.
Published back in 2009, SWINDLE is a kid caper book involving the retrieval of a baseball card conned away from a kid named Griffin. It's a solid read, jam-packed with action, crime, fugitives, and breaking and entering. Perfect for a 4th grader! Note: this is not a "how-to" manual.
In fact, a friend of mine read it to her 4th grade class, and it kept everyone on the edge of their seats. She said it was kind of like eating a big ol' candy bar: you get a huge rush while you're wolfing it down, but there's not a lot of complexity to it, and it doesn't last terribly long. Raw sugar IV... commence pumping! I like me a Snickers every once in a while.
Okay fine, two to eight a day! Sheesh.
But it's a little tough to remember once down your gullet. I really enjoyed SWINDLE, but just a couple months later, I don't remember much about it besides it was a very fun heist caper. NOT A HOW-TO!
Now we get in our time machine and pew-PLORK! (obviously the sound of a time machine, duh) land in 2013. Four years isn't a lot of time, but wow, how much Korman has evolved. THE HYPNOTISTS features a subject just as intriguing as heists. I mean, what kid isn't fascinated by the ability to put someone into a trance and make them do your bidding? Well, except me of course. I can't be hypnotized. Although, yawn, I am getting a little sleepy...
Y o u a r e g e t t i n g v e r y s l e e p y y o u w i l l c l u c k l i k e a c h i c k e n w h e n y o u t y p e t h e w o r d J e f f
Huh? Anyway, this book is still action-packed -- the story starts with Jax hurtling through New York on a bus with a hypnotized driver -- but there are these... these strange things present. What are they called? You know, the stuff that produces sniffling and other nasty side-effects?
Oh yeah: emotions. I found myself choking up at the end of the book, my heart getting yanked out as Jax... well, I won't give it away. But I actually connected with Jax in a way I didn't with Griffin. Jax was a real person in my mind, someone I absolutely wanted to read more about. So in addition to the usual wham bam kick schtick, there are more layers of complexity within this book, a richness to the story that actually filled me up and stuck around a while. Something still tugs at me when I think about THE HYPNOTISTS, a lot more than just "it was a fun ride."
I tell you what: that ability to evolve is the mark of a great author. I hope that in my career, I'll be able to continue growing with each new book I write.
Ah, I can't end this post on such a serious note. Therefore, I shall now hypnotize you and make you visualize a wiener dog dragging its butt along the carpet. You're welcome.
-- Jeff CA-CA-CA-CA-CAW!