Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Raymond and Graham Rule the School" SLJ review

Here's a review from The School Library Journal of "Raymond and Graham Rule the School," the first book of the Raymond and Graham series written by Mike Knudson and Steve Wilkinson and illustrated by me.

KNUDSON, Mike & Steve Wilkinson. Raymond and Graham Rule the School. illus. by Stacy Curtis. 136p. CIP. Viking. 2008. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01101-8. LC 2007033350.
Gr 2-4–A rollicking, laugh-out-loud look at fourth grade through the eyes of two lifelong pals. The boys figure that this year, since they are the oldest kids at East Millcreek Elementary, they’ll rule the school, but nothing seems to work out as planned. First, Raymond ends up having the creepiest teacher ever, then Graham accidentally shaves off his own eyebrow. After auditions for the school play, Raymond, who covets the role of Scrooge, gets a small part with a silly line about plum pudding. Faced with more ups and downs–and one hilarious situation after another–the boys begin to wonder if fourth grade will turn out to be a total disaster. Narrated by Raymond, this story is filled with nonstop action and kid-friendly humor. Done in an exaggerated cartoon style, Curtis’s occasional black-and-white illustrations perfectly suit the tone of the text. Fans of Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” series (Scholastic) or Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) are in for big fun involving prunes, false teeth, misplaced first kisses, and two true-blue friends.–Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA

Review copyright The School Library Journal

The book also got a great review from Kirkus Review back in June.


  1. The Stacy Curtis section of our home library is really growing this year! Looking forward to seeing this one.


    Raymond and best friend Graham have been looking forward to fourth grade since they were first graders, when they were mightily impressed by the big kids. It’s their turn now and, not surprisingly, being fourth graders isn’t quite the unfettered glory they had anticipated. No humorous incident is too low to be recounted, as when Raymond eats a whole jar of prunes, nor too gross, as he also tries kissing as a means to get sick with a cold and get out of the class play. Embarrassment is best handled with a friend at your side, and the devotion these two have for each other makes the worst tolerable. Kids moving on from Herbie Jones or Owen Foote will find this new series right up their alley. Teachers, parents and especially girls are depicted not so much as individual people but as a boys’-eye-view of the generic of the species—but the skimpy character development seems to be the point. The authors draw a bead on the fourth-grade funny bone and hit a bull’s-eye. (Fiction. 8-11)