TweenLit: Dude No. 2 Is Made to Be Mutilated
What do you give a 12-year-old boy at gifting time? Never a fan of impersonal gifts, I still resort to gift cards so the recipient will be able to get what he wants, rather than what I think he should want. Which is why I was so excited when I got my hands on Dude No. 2, a new book for tweens from Fine Print Publishing.
Why the excitement? The subtitle says it all “The Book of Crazy, Immature Stuff!” Dude No. 2 is a fitting sequel to the original Dude and Dude Diary. There is no doubt that my favorite 12-year-old is going to love this book. The tween predilection for bathroom humor, aliens, mutants, zombies, and anything that so-called grown-ups find unsettling and disgusting makes it the gift for 10- through 13-year-olds.
While those obsessed with propriety may find Dude No. 2 totally inappropriate for their bookshelves, Dude No. 2 actually encourages reading, writing, imagination, and invention. It’s not just a book that shows kids what’s gross, it’s a book that asks them what they think is gross (or fantastic or cool), and validates their self-worth because it places value on their opinions.
Written and designed by Mickey and Cheryl Gill, Dude No. 2 includes posters and pull-out signs, writing and drawing activities, funny Coke or Pepsi? Universe questions (“What’s scarier, a clown or a wooden dummy sitting on your bedroom shelf at night?”), and other imaginative pursuits. Some of the activities can be done alone and others can be shared with friends.
Adults unfamiliar with the Dude series may take a look at Dude No. 2 and decide it encourages rude behavior or negative values. The truth is Dude No. 2 does not contain offensive language or images and its influence on tween boys is limited to fostering thinking, reading, and creativity. It does that with a format they will find humorous. No, it won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s not for everyone. Only the crazy and immature should own Dude No. 2, and no one should tell them it might be good for them. (Kids can find more Dude-related stuff here.)