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Sunday, March 8, 2015

(MMGM) Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles by Andy Myer {review, interview, giveaway}

Welcome to Day 8 of the 4th Annual March MG Madness! Today we are celebrating Andy Myer's funny Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles...

Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles
by Andy Myer
Random House
For middle-grade readers looking for a uniquely funny, illustrated exposé on one boy’s troubles in school and at home. Hand this to those searching for a book like Just Jake and Timmy Failure.

Meet Henry Hubble. He’s in a world of trouble. From class-trip bathroom breaks to Halloween-costume catastrophes to lunchroom-table love drama, Henry is always in the middle of a debacle. That is . . . until this journal (yes, the very journal you hold in your hands) makes Henry a media mogul and one of the most popular sixth graders in the world. But you’re just going to have to start reading to find out why.

Praise for Henry Hubble

"Henry’s peppy narrative features amusing digressions and commentary—and occasional potty humor—further enlivened by “Henry’s” interspersed drawings and droll verse, in an entertaining, fastpaced read." —Booklist
"Readers will have much to gain when nothing goes right for Henry Harrison Hubble in this laugh-out-loud journal style account of his sixth grade life. Readers [will] giggle and commiserate with [Henry's] comically chaotic existence." — Publishers Weekly

Henry Hubble is your average 6th grader...if your average 6th grader has a knack for getting in a world of trouble! In his journal, Henry details all his awkward, painful, and hilarious escapades with trouble. But when his journal is stolen and published online for the whole world to see, Henry discovers a whole new kind of trouble.

In Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles, author Andy Myer spins a laugh-out-loud, super fun tale that anyone who survived middle-school can relate to. Myer’s silly humor and conversational tone, along with Henry’s many wacky brushes with trouble, will keep younger readers giggling from beginning to end. From crushes, bullies, and social woes, Myer fills Henry’s middle-grade world with realistic and relatable topics. And from oddball Superheroes and hobbies, attacking squirrels, inconvenient potty breaks, and unfortunate hair gel instances, Myer also fills this world with over-the-top-but-perfect-for-MG-readers comical moments.

Henry Hubble is an engaging mix of quirky, endearing, funny, and awkward. Young readers will laugh with him, laugh at him, empathize with him, and root for him till the end.

This book also feature’s hilarious illustrations that are the perfect companion to the amusing story.

My Final Thoughts: Full of laughs, relatable moments, and interesting characters, Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles is sure to entertain and delight young readers.

4/5 yummy cupcakes

What three words best describe Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles?
Innovative, comic, visual

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles a try?
Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles is a laugh-out-loud, cleverly illustrated sketchbook journal by a loopy young cartoonist who’s a non-stop disaster magnet.

Grab a copy of Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles and answer the following:
favorite page?

It actually isn’t one page. It would be pages 69-71, that visually follow the trail of chaos Henry’s “squirrel project” creates in the school as the frightened animal races through Crumb Hollow Middle School.

favorite illustration?

I would have to say the cover illustration. A confused Henry staring out at the viewer wearing a target prettty much sums up the book.

favorite place/setting?

That would be the whale watch boat carrying Henry’s class!

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:

Paul got excited when he heard chirps and squeaks coming from my book bag. And when the bag rolled onto its side and started moving, he hollered so loud everyone looked at us.” (p. 67)

What inspired Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles?  How did the story come to be?
Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles grew out of a poem I wrote many years ago, called “Menu of the Week,” making fun of school cafeteria food. The first version of HHBOT was a picture book for children. It was built around a series of humorous poems, all related to items that fell out of Henry’s book bag at the beginning of the story.
No surprise, the verse version of the book had no takers—poetry is such a hard sell. But an editor asked if I would be interested in conceiving the book as a middle grade book. I wasn’t! But my agent, Deborah Warren at East/West Literary encouraged me to consider it seriously. I finally came around, and Henry Hubble was born out of that.
I’m happy to say that some of those original verses survive in Henry Hubble. Henry likes to write poetry from time to time, which as  you’d imagine is pretty laughable stuff. But there it is, which I think is another unusual and appealing aspect of this book.

Can you tell us a bit about your hero, Henry Hubble? What makes him special and sets him apart from other middle-grade characters?
Henry’s a complicated guy. He’s a little odd, he knows it, and he’s perfectly OK letting his freak flag fly. He gets a fair amount of grief from his schoolmates and family, but he takes the punches, makes no apologies, and in the end, finds a unique path for asserting himself in difficult circumstances.
Henry’s just becoming aware of the wider world around him, and he’s fairly clueless about what’s actually going on. The way he misinterprets those experiences and perceptions is a unique aspect of his character, and the source of much of the book’s humor.
Henry has unique ways of expressing himself that go beyond ordinary text. I’ve already mentioned his poetry, but of course, his passion is cartooning, so his drawings are everywhere. These illustrations aren’t decorative, simply to break up the pages. They’re an important part of the humor in the book, and the interplay between the text and the drawings is very different from other books in this category.
If you could live in ANY middle-grade world, which would you choose and what would you do there?
I’d have to go with the world created by Norton Juster in The Phantom Tollbooth. Everything about “The Lands Beyond” tickles me—the delight in clever puns and word play, the sense of bemused “danger,” and of course, the outstanding illustrations of Juels Feiffer.
I’d like to be Milo’s travelling companion, if he has room in his car when he goes through the tollbooth.

As a middle-grade author, why do think MG is so important and popular? What do you love about MG?
The short middle grade years are such a fascinating, confusing, and critical point in the development of a person’s identity. It’s that peculiar bridge between childhood and adolescence, where we’re just bumping into the realities of the world around us. I think great middle grade literature speaks to kids about the stuggles that come with that time of life, and makes those years feel just a little less scary and unfamiliar.

What are some of your favorite middle-grade reads?

Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. That’s a beautifully told fable, that’s magical and comic. I hope more children read it.

I also read almost everything the American humorist Jean Shepherd (author of the ”Christmas Story,” that became the classic movie) ever wrote. Although his books aren’t typical middle grade books, his stories often center around those formative years growing up in the rust belt outside Chicago. Shepherd creates wonderful cast of characters, and portrays them with a wildly funny sense of humor.
The Diary of Adrian Mole by the outstanding British humor writer Sue Townsend was a big influence in the way I conceived of Henry Hubble. Adrian, like Henry, just can’t quite get the hang of being in the world.

Otherwise: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, A Wrinkle in Time, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter (of course).

Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at finding humor in situations.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’m addicted to blooper and failure clips on YouTube.
The last great book I read was “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.

If you were to bake a cupcake inspired by Henry Hubble’s Book of Troubles, what would it look and taste like and what would you call it?
I think Henry would probably bake a “Red Sloth Surprise.” The Red Sloth is a lame superhero that Henry’s attached to, a slow-moving character who takes forever to arrive at a crime scene, and gets baddies to surrender by boring them and pointing out their flaws.
It would have to have a red velvet cake. It’s possible he’d add the dried worm he’s already used to slip into his sister Haley’s cereal.
The icing would be stale marshmallow fluff. In his journal, Henry says he hopes to make it into the Guiness Book of World Records by having the largest recorded ball of dried fluff (at the beginning of the book, it’s already three pounds!). So, hardened marshmallow fluff would top the cupcake, and if you look closely, there are a few ants crawling around.

After a long and prolific career in humorous illustration, graphic design, and corporate communications, Andy Myer has become a successful children's book author/illustrator. After two picture books  for 3 - 7 year olds ("Pickles, Please!" and "Delia's Dull Day"), Andy's third book, "Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles" has just been released by Delacorte Press. This is Andy's first middle grade book, a sketchbook journal from aspiring cartoonist and disaster magnet, Henry Harrison Hubble. Youngsters will find Henry's written and visual take on the world genuinely funny and original. Andy lives in Ambler, Pennsylvania with his wife Sandi, blissfully surrounded by their five grandchildren.

Win 1 of 3 copies of 
Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles!
Random House has generously offered up three copies for three winners.
-open INT
-ends 3/31
-must be 13+ to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes

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anne s. said...

I would love to put this book in the hands of my middle grade son! Never heard of it before, but it sounds hilarious!

Brenda said...

Journal style books are such fun, this looks and sounds entertaining.

Manju Howard said...

Great cover and concept! My husband, Henry, is a journalist and my brother's name is Andy. So your book is a perfect fit.

Sui Generis said...

This sounds fun! I'm really curious about what's inside the book!