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The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz

by Alan Silberberg

Novels featuring prose interspersed with comics (the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate series, for example) are all the rage, though Canadian additions to this trend have been few and far between. Enter Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner Alan Silberberg. The Montreal author fills this void with a breezy, zany romp featuring two oddball kids, an enchanted pen, and a healthy helping of comics to supplement the prose.

Matt and Craz are 13-year-old best friends who dream of getting their comics published in their middle school’s paper. The pair comes up with pitch after wacky pitch, only to be rebuffed by the paper’s snobby editor. But a run-in with the mysterious Boyd T. Boone changes everything as Matt and Craz find themselves in possession of a pen that brings to life anything they draw.

With farting teachers, mass pig-outs, and annoying big brothers, the kid appeal here is undeniable. Employing the light comedic touch of a toned-down Captain Underpants, Silberberg does a fine job keeping the story moving at a brisk trot and creating some genuine anticipation for young readers about how things will be resolved. Matt and Craz also experience some family challenges that temper the silliness, as Matt deals with an absentee father and Craz barely tolerates his boatload of siblings.

Although both characters are in definite puberty territory, they read more like nine- or 10-year-olds. Matt’s biggest fantasy is to hold hands with the girl he has a crush on, and Craz dreams of growing a moustache and trading in his briefs for boxers.

The comics, with their simple lines, shapes, and bizarro content, further cement the book’s more appropriate placement in the eight- to 10-year-old reader category. The drawings act like enjoyable window dressing, places for young readers to take a breather while they plow through this fun tale that spans more than 300 pages. All told, Silberberg delivers one heck of a giggle-producing read with a heaping dose of heart.


Reviewer: Shannon Ozirny

Publisher: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster


Price: $19.99

Page Count: 336 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-1-41699-432-9

Released: April

Issue Date: 2013-4

Categories: Children and YA Fiction

Age Range: 9-13

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