Book Review: Jake the Fake Goes for Laughs
by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Keith Knight
Publication Date: Mar 26, 2019
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover, 176 pages
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Imprint: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
Book Reviewed by Vanessa Vanzie
In general, kids enjoy a little something funny and wacky in the books they read to keep them interested until the very end. There is no way to escape from an attack of the giggles in this humorous book, Jake the Fake Goes For Laughs, which is co-authored by musician, comedian and actor Craig Robinson and New York Times best seller Adam Mansbach. This is the second book in the comical series and yet there is no lack of gags to bring on the laughs from young readers. The illustrator, Keith Knight, has managed to make the story even funnier with his zany drawings that only serve to upgrade the entertainment value of this book by tenfold.
Amid the countless “LOL” moments, readers will become acquainted with young Jake who is just the right main character of color that kids can relate to on many levels. A lack of confidence causes Jake to doubt his abilities. He struggles to identify any natural talents within himself that all of the students at his artsy school seem to have in abundance. Jake needs to find a cool talent fast, before the kids at school realize he is just a big fake. Luckily, he has the support of a teacher and a retired comedian who becomes his madcap mentor. The comedic insight that Jake soaks up helps to boost his confidence. The youngster soon finds himself front and center at the Yuk-Yuk to perform a stand-up comedy routine that seems to get more than just a few chuckles from the crowd. Jake basks in the audience applause and quickly develops a humongous ego that can barely fit through the door. He wastes no time transforming into a braggadocious little twit that his friends do not find amusing. Jake is in for a wild ride as he deals with the pressure to master his new found talent and keep from alienating friends.
Readers are sure to spot the important lessons on friendship and self-acceptance that are tucked in between the folds of this comical chapter book. The story will easily pull young readers into Jakes world and they will find themselves peering through every detail of the illustrations that grace nearly every page. The illustrations not only make the words on the pages even funnier but they become small jokes within a joke. Even the Conceptual Art Band’s songs are full of quirky and fun lyrics that kids will enjoy reading more than once.
This book makes for good reading that is lighthearted and filled with lots of cracking up moments. I am certain that the hilarity of the story will be a great incentive to get reluctant readers to delve into this book series. Readers will also learn the importance of being exactly who they are without apology. This is a vital part of growing up because children always need to feel safe to express themselves in unique ways that makes them as comfortable as possible. The book is a riotous gateway into a story that allows the reader to go on a journey of self-awareness which ultimately leads to unconditional self-acceptance.