Book Signing with Dan Gutman and Two Book Reviews!

Dan Gutman - Super Author of nearly 100 books!

I arrived at my destination, Harleysville Books at 3:30 pm the day before Thanksgiving. The book signing didn’t start for another hour, but it was good that I got there early because it was already crowded! I got a seat right up front (where I like to be) and waited for the event to start. I passed the time by re-reading my copy of  Mr. Gutman’s book “Mrs. Lilly is Silly” from his My Weirder School series. His My Weird School series is really one of my favorites from when I was younger and I still enjoy them! Then an employee at Harleysville Books had to ask all us kids to make a path so she could walk to the front (like I said it was CROWDED)! Mrs. Plumb (the owner of Harleysville Books) introduced Mr. Gutman and everyone clapped. Mr. Gutman read to us from his new book that is due to be out February 7, 2012 called “Mr. Burke is Berserk.” I really liked how he made funny voices when he was reading different characters in his book. It was a great to hear him read from his book and get a sneak peek at the new book that’s not out yet!

After he got done reading, Mr. Gutman took questions from the audience. I learned that Mr. Gutman didn’t really like to read that much when he was a kid and that’s why he tries to “specialize” in writing books for kids who are “reluctant readers.” He has written 98 books and 92 of them are children’s books. One series of his that is very popular is called the “Baseball Card Adventures.” It is about a kid (Stosh) who has a magical ability to travel through time when he touches old baseball cards. There are ten books in the series and Mr. Gutman said that the next book, “Ted & Me” (due out March 20, 2012), will  be the last in the series. Mr. Gutman told us he collected baseball cards when he was a kid but his mother threw them away when he went away to college, so he told us to take our stuff with us when we go to college. 🙂

I had just got done reading his new book “The Talent Show” and I asked him if he was ever in a talent show. He said he wasn’t but his kids schools have talent shows. He also talked about his My Weirder School series. He said his favorite book in the series is “Ms. Lazar is Bizarre” and his favorite character from the series is Mr. Klutz, the principal. Mr. Gutman said he uses names of people he knows and he gave us an example of Judson Moon, the main character in his book “The Kid Who Became President”. Well the real Judson Moon is Mr. Gutman’s dentist! HA! HA!

Mr. Gutman made sure everyone got a chance to ask a question who wanted to. After he was done, he signed everyone’s books. He took some time with each person to talk with them a little. Mr. Gutman was a very nice guy and I am very happy I got to meet him! To learn more about Mr. Gutman and his books please visit his website by clicking HERE.

I wanted to pick a book to review for Mr. Gutman’s visit, but I couldn’t pick just one, so I did two! 🙂 READ ON!

Mrs. Lilly is Silly (Book 3 in the My Weirder School series)
By Dan Gutman
Illustrated by Jim Paillot
112 pages – ages 6+
Published by HarperColllins October 1, 2011

The Ella Mentary School is having its first career day! A.J. was actually bored out of his head. When Mr. Granite announced that the next guest was going to be Tony Eagle the professional skate-boarder A.J. perked up…until Tony Eagle wheeled in…in a wheel chair. He had broken every bone in his body. A.J. guessed that he really didn’t want to be a professional skate-boarder. When Tony left, Mrs. Lilly came running in. Mrs. Lilly is a reporter for a local newspaper and she wants to teach A.J. and his friends how to make a newspaper for the school. They are going to call the paper “The Ella Mentary Sentry.” The only problem is Mrs. Lilly changes the stories the kids come up with like “Miss Laney spilled her juice”, turns into the headline “MISS LANEY HAS A DRINKING PROBLEM!” The Ella Mentary Sentry causes a world of trouble at the school!

This book is really funny, like all of Mr. Gutman’s Weird School books! The books are an easy read and have nice black and white illustrations. I think because of the humor of the story, the book will be liked by kids who may not like reading as much as others. I am a strong reader but I still really enjoy these books, they are a fun read! The teachers and staff at the Ella Mentary School are definitely weird and wacky!

I give Mrs. Lilly is Silly 5 out of 5 book worms!


The Talent Show
By Dan Gutman
244 pages – ages 9+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on May 18, 2010

An unexpected tornado hit the small town of Cape Bluff Kansas. When the storm stopped and the townspeople saw all the damage, they knew they didn’t have enough money to rebuild. They decide to have a talent show to raise money to help repair all the damage caused by the twister (the other idea was to make a rubble museum, but that got voted down). All sorts of people from the town (some actually talented, some…not so much) enter the competition. On the night of the big show, ANOTHER tornado hits but the townspeople make sure that the show goes on!

I really enjoyed this book. It is a very different book then the “Mrs. Lilly is Silly” book I reviewed above. This book has more characters to follow and a much more involved story. The story had some very funny parts but they were mixed with some very serious parts too. I think it made the story more real, like it could actually happen. I think this books would be great for advanced younger readers looking for a longer and more challenging read and all kids looking for a good story about people coming together and helping each other.

I give The Talent Show 5 out of 5 books worms!

Categories: Age 6-9, Age 9+, Good Books, Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

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12 replies

  1. Thanks, Erik, for the great reviews! 🙂

  2. You were so lucky to meet Dan Gutman! I’ve read interviews with him and he’s really funny! He also happens to have the same agent I do… I hope someday I’ll be as successful as he is 🙂 I have only read the first 2 books in the My Weird School series but they are fun. They remind me just a little of Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories From Wayside School series, which is probably a bit easy for you but very fun if you haven’t read it. The Talent Show sounds like a good book. Thanks for the great reviews!

  3. Mr. Gutman sounds like a very personable guy. Ninety-eight books?! I’m impressed! I’m adding The Talent Show to my lengthening TBR list.

    I used to bring Sideways Stories with me when I worked as a substitute teacher. The stories were funny, and just the right length for those moments of down time that always had a way of popping up.

    • I read some reviews on AMAZON on the Talent Show and a bunch of people didn’t like it because it was not as short or as silly as his other books and that’s what they were expecting with this book. I found the story to be very well written with great characters and it is definetly a higher level reader. I think you will like it 🙂

      I have to check out those Sideways Stories!

  4. Great description of your meeting with Dan! He really is such a nice person.

    Book lovers check out the fun new radio show called The Book Report – with interesting author interviews, book reviews and more. Readers can go to to see if they fall in a broadcast area or can listen to the show on the site itself.

  5. Thanks for the nice reviews, Erik! It was great meeting you at Harleysville Books!
    Dan Gutman

  6. Hi Erik,
    I found your blog though Dan Gutman. I am looking forward to checking it out and getting some tips from you on books that my boys will like. Thanks for doing this!!
    Jessica Schwartz

  7. can u please make a movie about your my wierd school and my wierd school daze books please if u can start off with mrs.daisy is crazy and put ur commercials on family channel

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