Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Retired Kid
Written and Illustrated by: Jon Agee
Recommended Ages: 6-10
I love funny children's books. In fact, I like them so much I have a section on this blog just for humorous books. So when I happened upon this hilarious book by Jon Agee, (a new author to me), I immediately placed holds on as many of his books as possible. So while I wait for his other books to come in, I thought I'd share this gem of a story with you.
Brian is an 8-year-old kid who is beginning to think that being a kid is hard work. Between school, soccer practice, violin practice and all the other trappings that third grade brings, Brian decides he's had enough of being a kid and that it's time to retire. So off he goes to Happy Sunset Retirement Center in Florida. There he meets his new friends Ethel, Wally, Myrtle, Tex, Phyllis and Harvey, a retired plumber. At first, he has great time playing cards, golfing and lounging in the pool. But then reality sinks in, and he finds that listening to stories about hip replacements and watching long documentaries are not all they're cracked up to be. When Harvey tells him it helps to think about the good old days, Brian realizes that maybe being a kid is not so bad.
Agee has a great way of telling a story that is both straightforward and amusing. His pastel watercolor illustrations add a huge element of fun to each page. The scenes where he is participating in the retirement activities such as Friday-night swing dancing and knitting classes are priceless. While it would appear that this would be a book for the pre-school set, I think that it's elementary kids that will appreciate it more. They'll have a better understanding as to why Brian is feeling overloaded, and will find the folks at the retirement village hilarious. This would be a great book for a grandkid to share with a grandparent. The tongue-in-cheek humor and cartoon-like illustrations are sure to be a hit with young and old.
BookNosher Tidbit: Like many authors, Jon Agee has a website. On it, he has a section where he answers questions from kids (or at least they sound like kid questions). I think most kids would find this interesting.