cover image Dogs Don't Tell Jokes

Dogs Don't Tell Jokes

Louis Sachar, Esther Ed. Segal. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-82017-8

Compulsive joke-teller Gary Boone--aka Goon--thinks his witticisms are hysterical, but almost everyone in his seventh-grade class knows different. Only his best friend, Angeline, really enjoys his humor. Still, when Gary sees the posters for a talent show, he knows his moment has come. Gary's parents will let him perform, but only if he agrees not to tell a single joke in the three weeks before the big night. Going cold turkey teaches Gary a lot about socialization and a little about baseball cards, and gives him the confidence to weather disaster at the talent contest. With its strong, realistic characterization, Sachar's ( Sideways Stories from Wayside School ; There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom ) gracefully told story will please his longtime fans and gain him new followers as well. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)