I have to say that this story, Cowboy & Octopus (2007), by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith was not my cup of tea. I absolutely hated it. Why am I reviewing this book then? Well, I am reviewing this because Jon Scieszka, a former school teacher, writes books for reluctant readers (read boys), and he did his job with this one.
I recently bought this book for $1 D.W. Discount Books’ going out of business sale. The price was so ridiculously good, I did something I don’t usually do, I bought it without reading it. I figured since it was Jon Scieszka, it couldn’t possibly be bad. Well, I was wrong. I read it, hated it and passed it on to Phillise, thinking my “grownupness” was getting in the way. Well, Phillise hated it too.
So, bells started going off. Jon Scieszka writes for boys. Since that is the case, why don’t I give this book to a little boy and see how he likes it. I hit paydirt when I gave it to my neighbor’s 6 year old son. He laughed and laughed his little head off.
“What is he laughing at?,” I thought to myself. By golly, he was laughing at the book. I got a further thought to try it with the boys in my class. My theory= of the fourth graders, it was my belief that two of my students would like it, since they are a bit immature; the other one, since he already has sophisticated tastes, would hate it. While the last student I was on the fence about. I figured he could go either way.
My theories were correct. The immature ones liked it. The one I was unsure of, who I was on the fence about, despised it. The one with the sophisticated tastes, thought it was one of the worst books he’d read. None of my fifth graders liked it. So, my conclusion is that Jon Scieszka hit it out of the park with this one. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t written for me. I am not the target audience- 5 & 6 year olds are the target audience and they love it.
So, go out and get it for your little reluctant reader. Apparently they love it!