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Mama's Boys: Home Scholin' review
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Article by Scott Tingley, October 13, 2007

All right. I have to admit right off the bat that I have no idea what to do with books like this. Books collecting comic strips. I have no idea. Unless you are talking about Calvin and Hobbes you are likely going to have a book full of hits and misses. Some truly funny strips and some that make you glad you read them even though you didn't actually laugh out loud a lot, and some that give you no response at all they just kind of sit there.

It is a rare thing when you find a book that is full of the first kind. Nice when you find one with a lot of the second kind. Annoying when you find one full of the third kind. I would say that the book I am talking about now, Mama's Boys: Home Scholin' falls into the second category. I wasn't laughing out loud all the time, but I did have a smile on my face most of the time.

It is really the subject matter that makes this book a valuable thing to have in an upper elementary classroom or higher. The main characters are two young African American teenage boys and their single mother. The supporting cast is made up of a number of relatives with a 30ish uncle being the main male influence in the boy's lives. The strips show the mother struggling to run her small bookstore while trying to keep her house in order and get her boys outside every now and then. There is also an undercurrent of tension in that the mother also wants to be sure her kids are safe and stay on the right path. One of my favorite strips in the book has a group of older teens talking about mom as she waves from down the street. The kids talk tough about her always being in their business talking to them about school and drugs. But their thoughts betray their true feelings. This is the only adult in their young lives that care or know enough to ask these questions. Having spent a number of years working with at-risk kids I know there are too many kids out there with no one them these questions.

I like the tone of the book as a whole. From the silly strips with mom trying to get the boys to help around the house to the strips featuring teen pregnancy.

You can learn more about the series and creator, Jerry Craft at his website HERE .



 

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