Friday, March 22, 2013
Review of 'Pranklopedia: The Funniest, Grossest, Craziest, Not Mean Pranks on the Planet!' by Julie Winterbottom
Every day is April Fools’ Day. Pure heaven for the prankster, Pranklopedia is as indispensable a compilation of pranks as Jokelopedia is a collection of jokes.
Written by longtime Nickelodeon Magazine editor in chief Julie Winterbottom, Pranklopedia is a complete prank encyclopedia. It includes over 70 pranks, with step-by-step directions; a full-color, sixteen-page insert of supplementary materials, including “tasty” soup can labels (mmm, Cream of Sparrow Soup!) and a “winning” lottery ticket; recipes for such essential prank-stuff as fake snot, fake vomit, fake ice cream; tips on how to pull the perfect prank; profiles of famous pranks and pranksters; even a prank woven right into the book—spot the fake entries in the Prankster Hall of Fame.
As for the pranks themselves—they’re priceless. Classics like short sheeting the bed and the dancing dollar. There’s the crude—mouse turds in ice—and really crude—make fake, edible dog poop. And there are pranks especially good to pull on your parents— deliver the “Take Your Teacher Home Day” letter from school and watch them freak out.
One word of caution: Use common sense in deciding how often to use Pranklopedia, or you might find yourself looking for a new place to live.
At first, I was hesitant about this book. The teacher in me worried that kids would take advantage of doing cruel things to each other. But then I started reading and found an enjoyable book of relatively harmless pranks that would be a lot of fun, even for adults to try on each other.
I applaud Julie Winterbottom for taking time at the beginning of the book to explain how to execute a prank, how to tell when someone is going to be open and not so open to a prank, and most importantly, how to apologize should a prank go wrong. It is always hit or miss whether or not a prank is going to work on someone! She also labels the ones that pranksters should be prepared to clean up after they are done, as well as those that will require adult assistance for safety.
Another thing I really liked about this book is how she snuck in some history with it. Learn about the history of April Fool's Day, or more about Benjamin Franklin and Presidential Pranksters, as well as some classic pranks over time. I think my favorites are the prank art pieces. Then, there is that subtle art of practicing the alphabet and using references, as entries are arranged in alphabetical order, just like in an encyclopedia.
So many of these pranks are appealing to me. I use a variation of the one about colds with my young students, to emphasize how germs can easily spread. I kind of want to try one in which you thread a banana so that when someone unpeels it, it is already sliced. I think that would be fun to surprise them. One about putting whipped cream in a bag of potato chips to trick someone who is always eating your food could come in handy in the staff room. A fake computer screen would be priceless to use in the computer lab. The comic strip introductions to how the prank works that follow most of them are also great fun. They include both boys and girls carrying out the pranks. So yes, adults could have fun with these, too!
Just keep in mind that if you buy this book for one of your own kids, you will fall victim to many of the pranks inside. If you give this book to a family or friend's kid, you may not hear from them for a while. But most of all, remember that this book will provide hours of entertainment for someone, even yourself!
I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.