Book Recommendation: Scribbleboy

posted by Gina

Scribbleations, new kid! Welcome to the neighborhood.

My name is Ziggy Fuzz.  I’m the president of a special fan club, and I’d like you – yes you, new kid around here – to join.  The full title of the fan club is the Scribbleboy Fan Club.  You’re probably wondering who Scribbleboy is.  So, let me explain.  If you look around the neighborhood you’ll see lots of graffiti.  Most of it is totally ugly and boring, but there are some pieces that are not totally ugly and boring at all.  That’s because they’re not graffiti – they’re Scribbles.  Scribbles scribbled by the most scribbledacious and scribblefabulous scribbler in Scribbledom.  His name – SCRIBBLEBOY. 

 There happens to be a Scribble very close to you.  Leave your flats, cross the square, walk down the concrete plaza until you reach the playground.  At the back of this playground is … a Scribble.

 If, when you see the Scribble, it swirls and whirls inside you, like it swirls and whirls inside me, then join the Scribbleboy fan club!

Title: Scribbleboy


Author: Philip Ridley

Age Range:  2nd – 6th Grade
For younger kiddos, this is a great read-aloud.

Genre: Wacky-Realistic Fiction

Let’s Talk About This, Shall We?

There is nothing not to love about this book.  The fast-paced, fun story is packed with fabulous characters:

  • Bailey Silk, our shy, stuttering, sad young hero, who has just moved with his family to a gray, dreary, concrete new neighborhood.
  • Bailey’s father, “The Skipper”, who went a little off the deep end after Bailey’s mother left them.
  • Bailey’s brother, Monty, who works at Pizza Most Yum Yum.
  • Tiffany Spangle, who drives an ice-cream truck and gives ice-cream-diagnoses.
  • Ziggy Fuzz, the intrepid, wheelchair-bound president of the Scribbleboy fan club.
  • And that’s not to mention Ma Glamrock, Pa Punkrock, Butterfly Glitz, and the rapping, dancing trio of Levi Toot and the Homeboys.

The language is delightful, making this a super fun read-aloud.  Each character has a hilarious, unique way of speaking (“Sweetheart!” “Most beloved snotball!” “Whizerooni!” “Yo, chuck-a-boom.”) and Bailey’s journey to find himself, his voice, and his place in the world as he navigates new relationships and changing family dynamics is fun, funny, and heartwarming.  The last couple of chapters might well make you choke up a little.

(For heaven’s sake, don’t read the book description on Amazon, since it gives away a delightfully unexpected key plot point.)

And Once You’re Done Reading …

One of the most wonderful things about Scribbleboy is, of course, the Scribbles:

“The concrete wall was covered with the brightest, most eye-scorching colors Bailey had ever seen.  So many colors that no sign of concrete remained, just emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue, all whirling and wheeling together; a kaleidoscope of stars, circles, crescent moons, comets – everything twirling and twisting and turning and whirling, swirling!”

Illustration by Chris Riddell

What an excellent incentive to do some painting.  Tape up some huge paper and make a temporary Scribble.  Make a mini-Scribble on regular paper.  Hide mini-Scribbles in unexpected places to bring joy to an otherwise dull, gray day.

And if you happen to live in San Francisco or New York, why not take a field trip to see some murals and graffiti art?  Precita Eyes in the SF Mission does a wonderful mural walking tour (and they offer mural painting classes as well!). With a basic google, you can find a thousand walking tours in New York City.  Find a real-life Scribble!

If You Like This Book, Try:

Philip Ridley has a number of wonderful books for young people (as well as some very dark plays for adults).  Try Vinegar Street and Krindlekrax, and if you have a budding thespian, Fairy Tale Heart and Sparkleshark are wonderful plays.

And finally, if you’re not feeling up to Tiffany’s speed-talk or Hip-Hop’s rapping, the Scribbleboy audiobook, narrated by Russell Boulter, is pretty spectacular.

Author: Gina L. Grandi

Moderately well-read. Fairly socially awkward. According to Greg, 'a sentimental cynic with artistic sensibilities.' Somewhat nifty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: