Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation – Tommy Greenwald

CJJ Guide to Summer Vacation

This is the third book in author Tommy Greenwald’s Charlie Joe Jackson series, and Charlie Joe is fast becoming a firm favourite, with me, and with my students.  Despite Charlie Joe Jackson’s best intentions, he is growing up into a fine young man! Previously, Charlie Joe has given us the Guide to Not Reading and the Guide to Extra Credits, both very entertaining and completely engaging.  However, I think that Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation might be the best yet.

In a ‘moment of weakness’ (you need to read the Guide to Extra Credits) CJJ has agreed to go to Camp Rituhbukee (pronounced read-a-bookie) and finds himself amongst kids who, bewilderingly, love reading.

And we all know how proud CJJ is that he has never completed a whole book, except under extreme circumstances.

Yep.  This camp is going to demand some extreme solutions from CJJ – but things get worse when he discovers that these very non-athletic book worms have an annual basketball challenge against a nearby ‘sports jock’ camp. CJJ decides there is something he can offer these bookworms after all – his ability to come up with a great plan!

Turns out that CJJ may just be in his element.  Or is he?

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation is a witty, well paced, energetic and engaging read.  Without being preachy, characters are presented with all of their strengths and weaknesses and accepted for who they are. CJJ stays true to form and holds tight to his principles, while coming up with ever more creative solutions to life’s challenges.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation is ebing released in May.  Keep an eye out for it.  Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the newest book in this series, Jack Strong Takes A Stand.

Highly recommended for all readers, from about 9 years on. While this will appeal to everyone, I think that it will have extra appeal for reluctant boy and girls readers as a step up from the Wimpy Kid series.

Learn more about Tommy Greenwald here:

Review based on an Advanced Reader Copy.


Filed under Children 10+, Children 12+, humour

5 responses to “Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation – Tommy Greenwald

  1. looked out for this one in the store, but had no luck – the follow up to the Wimpy Kid is exactly what I’ve been looking for for my 10 year old. I did find Adrian Mole at the store though… have you read that recently? i wondered about its appropriateness. I remember it being a big deal book when I was a kid, but I don’t know if I understood why.

    • Hi Nadine,

      I think I would hold fire on the Adrian Mole, for a little while. It is really great, but very focused on puberty – so probably not necessary yet! As for the Charlie Joe Jackson books, I have also found that they are not readily available in New Zealand, but I have ordered them in successfully. I would start with the ‘Guide to Not Reading’ – I know it sounds as though it will go against all principles, but it really doesn’t. If you are still looking for Wimpy Kid follow-ups, there is a series called ‘The Origami Yoda’ that a lot of people think is great. I haven’t read it yet, but am planning to find some over the next holiday break. Good reading!

  2. Ha! Interesting you say that – Cormac pretty much self-censored it after the first chapter. He said “it’s good but it seems like it’s for an older kid…” (duh, Mum). Funnily enough, “Half Brother” has a few references early on to some weird shenanigans (mother breast feeds Zan, the dirty magazines) and they came so right out of the blue that we were both a bit shocked; but good shocked – it was funny and outrageous at the same time. Keeping us right hooked!

  3. Glad to hear Nadine. I am very big on children having the chance to self-censor. It teaches so much. Rather than the adults setting the rules, the children are developing moral parameters. Hooray! Not that we shouldn’t set any rules – just that sometimes we need to trust them a little more. Half Brother was a really difficult one to put into an age bracket for the exact reasons you talk about. Thanks for your feedback. It is really helpful. (I have to say I thought the breastfeeding was a bit weird and if I’m honest a bit unnecessary – but I felt for that woman! She had some pretty big battles of her own, with regard to identity…)

  4. oh, to breastfeed a chimp you have to have issues, for sure (our laughter was actually hysterical – half laugh/half squeal). I almost threw the book away as though it was a dirty thing. But the writing in Half Brother is so accomplished, I don’t feel anything is forced or overtly moralistic (which is kind of counter-intuitive since its all about ethics). Too often I find kids books to fall into preaching territory, it switches me off… Even Wonder by RJ Palacio suffered a bit from that I thought, although C himself enjoyed it thoroughly (which is all that matters, I keep telling myself…)

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