Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit is the second book in the Charlie Joe Jackson series, and it is another entertaining read from author Tommy Greenwald. Charlie Joe Jackson has to deal with the consequence of yet another barely mediocre report card. Dad has lost patience, and even Mom is not sympathetic. His Guidance Counsellor, Ms Ferrell, comes up with a great plan – Camp Rituhbukkee (pronounced Camp Read a Bookie) ‘because reading is fun’ – yeah right. Charlie Joe Jackson is not convinced.
In true form, CJJ comes up with an alternative plan to reclaim his summer break – getting all A’s and one B, ‘”A freebie” my mom said, cracking herself up.’ The trouble is, he’s not quite sure how to go about it – having never gone into that kind of territory before. CJJ goes to his big sister for some advice…
‘Megan was in high school, and had been getting straight A’s all her life. She loved reading. She loved doing homework.
Now that I think about it, its kind of amazing we’re related.
…I explained the situation to her.
She bolted upright when I got to the good part. (Or should I say the bad part.)
“It’s not totally impossible.”
…”How are your grades so far this quarter?” Megan asked.
“I thought so. Are you annoying your teachers?”
“Maybe a little.”‘
Turns out, the only way to lift his grades is to study (gasp!) with the help of his friends, and to do extra credits in Art, Drama and Gym. In doing this, CJJ manages to get himself into plenty of scrapes, including posing for a painting – in costume – as a boy foxhunter, taking part in a musical about paper towels, and figuring out how to get extra credit in PE, after having hit Mr Radonski on the head with a badminton racquet on Opposite-Hand Thursday.
‘Charlie Joe’s Tip #6
IF A TEACHER IS GIVING YOU EXTRA CREDIT, DO NOT INJURE THEM IN ANY WAY.
Do as I say, not as I do.’
I love Charlie Joe Jackson’s great mix of subversive and slapstick humour, and so do my two teenage sons – one of whom is a confirmed and determined non-reader. The development of character in these books is believable, but what is really great is that all the emotional upheaval is dealt with in a relatively straight forward way, with no long internal monologues. Realities of life are discussed and dealt with. Friendships have their upheavals and move on. Complications arise and have to be dealt with.
This book stays true to the format of the first book, with short chapters (and I mean REALLY short) interspersed with slightly longer chapters, and little doodle-like illustrations to keep it moving and entertaining.
Get to know Charlie Joe as soon as you can. Highly recommended!