- Guys Read: Other Worlds by Jon Scieszka
This new volume in Scieszka’s Guys Read series takes readers to other worlds or other versions of this one, where characters are called upon to be heroes and make split-second decisions that sometimes affect not only their own lives but the fate of the entire planet. In several of the stories, the nature of the enemy is unclear; in others, the morality of the situation determines the moment of decision. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson is here, cracking jokes and saving the world as he does, and there is a guest appearance by Ray Bradbury with a reprint of “Frost and Fire,” originally published in 1946. Shaun Tan illustrates a completely unordinary but perfectly charming day in the life of a deep thinker. The rest of the stories feature familiar authors (both male and female) telling new tales with boy-friendly features—silly-smart humor, preposterous violence, hyperbolic grossness, and eerie weirdness. These modes, though, most often adorn “what-if” scenarios: what would you do if discovered that you were on the wrong side of a fight? Would you release a tortured spirit even if it cost you money? How would you trick an army bent on destroying you? Would you climb into a silo full of decades of collected human waste in order to save your own skin? Questions like these have no doubt been coming up on playgrounds, in treehouses, and at campsite for years; in the capable hands of Kenneth Oppel, Rebecca Stead, Shannon Hale, Neal Shusterman and others, guys and girls alike will have their imagination fires thoroughly stoked.