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"Stan is the Man. This is one of few books that had me laughing out loud. The writing by itself makes for a fantastic story, but the defaced photographs throughout the book make this something much more special." -- Mike Grosso, author of I Am Drums
Almost twelve-year old (in eleven months) underdog Stan and his scrapbook entries with doodles give this book a humor perfect for fans of the Wimpy Kid and Origami Yoda series - and we've never seen a book quite like it.
Raised by his mom ("And sure, Mama tries to do everything two parents would do, but to be perfectly honest, she's a girl. Most moms are. And girls don't understand boy stuff like peeing in the snow or the sudden need to jump a fence blindfolded."), he's a little tired of their neighbor's Vinegar pies, but otherwise fine being man of the house. Then his 99 percent (okay, maybe 97.2) evil Granny shows up with plans to improve their lives by moving them to a logging camp with Stan's Uncle Henry.
Oh yeah, this takes place in rural Michigan in 1895.
The camp is cold. The only other kid his age is cousin Geri, who hides behind her sweet girl act (which works on Granny and everyone) even though she's always involving Stan in her hi-jinx (that he ALWAYS gets blamed for), or pulling pranks on him, like pulling down his bed sheets, stealing one of his socks so he has to wear Granny's stocking, and even putting a dead raccoon in his bed!
But camp's not all bad. There are axes (even though he is a little scared of them)(even though he is an expert on danger). "So far I've learned that lumberjacks swear, spit, and scratch under their arms, as well as other unmentionable places. It feels like I shouldn't be listening, but if I study these men who are brave, adventurous, and not afraid of a little danger, maybe I can learn their secrets and stop being just 'somewhat' a man. "
He's got plenty of reasons to step up and be a man. First and foremost, Granny has the meddling notion that he needs a new dad! And all the men she urges towards his mom are people like Mr. Archibald Crutchley, who is obsessed with disciplining Stan with a switch and sending him off to a military academy. Or Stinky Pete, who is rumored to be a cold-blooded killer! As if Stan didn't already have enough to worry about with the Loup-garou, "otherwise known as a French werewolf. And a French werewolf is the worst kind of all, not just because of its strange accent."
Fresh, creative, and truly funny, Near-Death Adventures is interspersed with all of these fascinating old newspaper and catalogue ad clippings with doodles on them. It's a neat book, and a great one to pass on.