I cannot recommend Bruno and Boots books highly enough! Prolific author Gordon Korman was a seventh grader when he began writing this sorta-series about two mischievous boys at a Canadian boarding school. Your students will love these books!!!
Bruno and Boots love to play pranks and cause trouble at their boarding school, Macdonald Hall. Bruno is the ringleader, a wisecracking con-artist-(or lawyer)-in-the-making who loves to stir the pot. Boots is his faithful sidekick, a realistic boy who helps Bruno with mischief but also acts as a voice of reason. The story works because the boys are good at heart. They love their school and they do the right thing when it counts. They are never mean to others—they are always in it for fun and looking to recruit new jokers.
The books are great for reluctant readers, boys in particular. Readers must be reluctant, not remedial, because these books are not simple. The AR levels range from 4.5 for the first, shortest book to 7.0 for the longer, more complex stories. Students who can comfortably read at the 5.0 level will be fine with all of these books. Don’t AR block kids from these books!
Bruno and Boots make good readalouds. Your students will be in stitches, and you will be exposing them to higher vocabulary, longer sentence structure, and more complex plots that. Plus, there is an element of rebelliousness to reading these books aloud. Bruno and Boots operate outside Macdonald Hall law, and it’s pretty cool for a teacher to share these mischief-making secrets with students. You may find your students attempting Bruno and Boots style shenanigans, but don’t worry. Real-life kids will probably not achieve the success of Bruno and Boots.
Gordon Korman was in seventh grade when he turned an English assignment into his first book, This Can’t be Happening At Macdonald Hall! Gordon was the Scholastic Arrow Book Club monitor for his class, and clearly he felt that gave him an “in” to the publishing industry. After completing the assignment, he mailed his manuscript to Scholastic. They published the book when Gordon was only 14 years old.
Gordon’s high school years yielded more fun Bruno and Boots books. He continued to revisit the characters over the years, and readers eagerly devoured new Bruno and Boots books.
Geek out with the Wikipedia page about Bruno and Boots. You can learn all about the characters, the setting, etc. Then, learn more about Gordon Korman at Wikipedia or at his website.
Here are the books in order. You don’t have to read them in order, though. I didn’t. As a kid, I read them in the order I found them at my local used bookstore.
This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall! (AR reading level 4.5, 3 pts)
Go Jump in the Pool! (AR reading level 5.0, 5 pts )
Beware the Fish! (AR reading level 4.8, 5 pts )
The War With Mr. Wizzle (also published as The Wizzle War) (AR reading level 4.6, 7 pts)
The Zucchini Warriors (AR reading level 5.0, 7 pts)
Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood (also published as Lights, Camera, Disaster!) (AR reading level 4.7, 7 pts)
Something Fishy At Macdonald Hall (also published as The Joke’s on Us) (AR reading level 4.6, 6 pts)