I Funny by James Patterson Questions and Answers

  • Last Edited: December 19, 2018
i funny by james patterson

Essay Prompt:

2016 Individualized 8th Grade Summer Reading Assignment

Dear 8th Grade students:

There are TWO books you need to read over the summer: one is chosen for you, and one is your choice. (There are different requirements for the two books!!!)

For the assigned book, each student was assigned one book based on individual reading tastes.

All of the thoughts, ideas, examples that you gather from your reading for this assignment, will be used for an in-class essay when you return to school in August. Do not leave your reading to the last minute. The books were selected based on your personal interest and it is my hope that you find the book exciting and meaningful. It might be beneficial to read the book more than one time or listen to it after reading it, closer to the start of school to have it fresh in your mind.

Maor: I Funny, by James Patterson


1. While reading the above book:

a.  Use story markers by the main characters, setting, important events, and feelings.

b.  Complete the attached personal dictionary.

i.  Choose 12 words from the novel that are new to you.

ii.  Find each word on Dictionary.com, and write the definition as used in context from which you selected it.

iii.  Write an original sentence using the word that demonstrates the meaning of the word

2. After reading the required book: Answer ALL of the following Extended Reading questions, using IRACE (see your binder for a reminder of this!). (Each Extended Response needs to be AT LEAST 6 SENTENCES – 10 is better!!).

a.  Write a brief summary of what you read (include the following: topic sentence with a strong verb, and answer the who, what, where, when and why. Include one important or meaningful quote).

“I Funny” is a story of a boy, Jamie Grimm, who is known for being lively, full of humor, and making good jokes. Frank, his uncle, encourages him to participate in a comedy competition to be held in the city of New York, as depicted on page 38 of the book (“So, Jamie you ever think about writing down your wacky stories so you can tell them to people in a comedy club or something?”). The boy goes on to participate in the competition and emerges the winner. While all are happy for Jamie, Stevie, his crazed step brother, begins a horrible rumor that Jamie won only because he’s wheelchair-bound (i.e., handicapped). Jamie, however, proves himself by participating in a second contest and emerging the winner again. Finally, he relates the story of how he became handicapped and adopted: Jamie’s family was once driving along a slippery, wet and curved road when they got hit by a truck. All but Jamie died; Jamie ended up paralyzed, restrained to a wheelchair all his life, and was adopted by the family he currently lives with. He turned out to be the best child comic, and proved that irrespective of one’s circumstances, one should always strive to stand by one’s belief’s and live life to its full.

b.  What is the conflict in your personal novel? What would you do if you faced the same conflict? Is this conflict internal or external?

A key conflict is apparent in the story, and this significantly changes Jamie, the protagonist. Jamie encounters bullies and haters daily. The conflict is external as well as internal. Jamie is anxious that people will not find his jokes funny enough. He is in constant fear of spectators not being amused whenever he steps on stage, as he has experienced ridicule and consternation earlier, too. The conflict is apparent at the novel’s outset, when readers see the boy facing bullying at school. This is also evident on page 25 (“You think I won’t lay you out just because you’re stuck in a wheelchair, funny boy?”). This conflict dissipates when the entire school begins treating Jamie as the new, adorable kid full of amusing jokes that make everybody laugh. Earlier, the very same people looked down at him in disdain, as a “nerdy” joker. If I encountered a conflict similar to Jamie, I probably would take a lesson from the challenges I face and not let them rule over my life, in the same way as Jamie ultimately does.

c.  What role does the setting play in the novel? How might the plot be different if something in the setting changed?

The story is set in New York’s Long Beach. Other locations depicted in the book are Frank’s pizza, Jamie’s home, and his school. Some scenes also occur in New York’s comedy clubs. All of the different settings employed by the author take the reader on an exciting journey. The tale begins from Long Beach, where Jamie provides a description of his routine school life and challenges (e.g., being bullied at the hands of Stevie, the son of the family that adopts him). Subsequently, the scene shifts to Jamie’s house and his personal situation there. The tale then moves on to the pizza shop of his Uncle Frank, who is more like a father to the boy. Uncle Frank, a man who loves to simultaneously cook and yoyo, is Jamie’s “advisor”. Lastly, one gets a glimpse of the New York comedy clubs at which Jamie performs. The boy is at ease here, as he can be himself. In the event of any changes in the story’s settings, the reader would be presented with an entirely new character, which would give the reader an entirely new view of the tale.

d.  Identify ONE theme of your story. (Remember, a theme is a larger idea, than just this story – examples include: poverty, jealousy, struggles of becoming an adult, etc. Think about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – friendship, loneliness, fear….)

Resiliency is the most dominant theme I found in the book, ‘I Funny’. The broad comicality apparent throughout the course of Patterson’s heavily illustrated tale disguises personal pain, and demonstrates resiliency when faced with tragedy. Jamie, a wheelchair-bound boy in middle-school, has only just moved into the home of his aunt. The cheerless family includes Stevie, the habitual school bully, and Jamie’s adoptive brother. In spite of Jamie’s wish to be regarded just as the way ordinary children are, he encounters grim challenges at school. He masks this through his humor. The self-styled sit-down comic’s aspirations are fired by the reactions of his friends to his witty one-liners and his affectionate Uncle Frank’s encouragement.

Personal Dictionary

Word # 1 Squeak

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 5

“I finally squeak out a few words”

Definition (as used in context):

A short, sharp, shrill cry; a sharp, high-pitched sound To cry with low, plaintive, broken sounds_

My original sentence:

She squeaked when I tickled her.

Word # 2 Chuckles

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 5

“I wait (for what seems like hours) and, yes, the audience kind of chuckles.”

Definition (as used in context):

To laugh softly or amusedly, usually with satisfaction

My original sentence:

The children chuckled when the boy fell into the pool.

Word # 3 Surveying

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 8

“Wow, what a crowd,” I say, surveying the audience

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context): To take a general or comprehensive view of or appraise, as a situation, area of study

My original sentence:

I surveyed the crowd in search of my friends.

Word # 4 Grunt

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 15

They’re waving at me, grunting “Hul-lo, Ja-mie!” I wave and grunt back

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

To utter the deep, guttural sound characteristic of a hog Rough and disorderly

My original sentence:

He grunted an incomprehensible reply and stomped out of the room

Word # 5 Lurching

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 15

Lots of foot-dragging and Frankenstein-style lurching

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

An awkward, swaying or staggering motion or gait Shaggy, ragged, unkempt in form of appearance

My original sentence:

The injured man lurched forward and fell onto the floor

Word # 6 Dribbling

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 15

He’s usually dribbling his coffee and eating a doughnut

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

To fall or flow in drops or small quantities; trickle

My original sentence:

Juice dribbled down the laughing baby’s chin

Word # 7 Yanking

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 18

“I guess reading really isn’t a job requirement in the high-paying fields of name-calling, nose-punching, and atomic-wedgie-yanking”

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context): To pull or remove abruptly and vigorously

My original sentence:

The angry man yanked his son out of the car onto the pavement.

Word # 8 Whipped

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 20

“Do you think that when they asked George Washington for ID, he just whipped out a quarter?”

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

To produce in a hurry

My original sentence:

She whipped up an ice cream for the four children.

Word # 9 Drooling

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 20

“Because once I make it through my Imaginary Zombie Zone, there’s another drooling demon for me to deal with.”

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context): To water at the mouth, as in anticipation of food; salivate; drivel

My original sentence:

The dog drooled at the sight of steak.

Word # 10 Petrifying

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 24

Petrifying fear and locked wheel brakes will do that to you

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

To benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion_

My original sentence:

The child was petrified upon seeing the huge snake.

Word # 11 Gravel

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 25

“Lying on the ground, staring up at the sky with parking-lot gravel in my hair”

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context): Small stones and pebbles, or a mixture of these with sand

My original sentence:

Gravel crunched under my feet as I walked.

Word # 12 Frizzy

Sentence from text (with page #): Page 32

“Then there’s this frizzy-haired girl who’s in a couple of my classes”

Definition from dictionary.com (as used in context):

Formed into small, tight curls, as hair

My original sentence:

My hair is slightly frizzy.

Summer Reading: Requirement for Book 2

Your choice of book!!!

I read: “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Nell Harper Lee

(For this second book, you ONLY need to write a one paragraph summary, answering WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY, with a topic sentence, and IRACE)

Summary of individual reading choice book (7-10 sentences):

(A summary is answering the question of what it is about!)

Lee’s novel is chiefly a 30s’ tale of growing up in strange circumstances. Set in segregated South US, the novel, with its memorable characters, examines racism and civil rights. Widower Atticus Finch lives with his children Jem and Scout in Alabama’s Maycomb town (a close-knit, small and fictitious town). The social standing of all families of Maycomb is reliant on their place of living, their parents’ identity, and their family’s history of living in the town. Atticus raises Jem and Scout with the aid of Calpurnia, his black housekeeper, and caring neighbors. The book begins with the epigraph “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” Therefore, the tale is narrated by Scout Finch, from whose perspective the reader gets to know Atticus (her father), an attorney hopelessly struggling to acquit a black man of rape charges, and the mysterious neighbor Boo Radley, who saves Jem and Scout’s lives.

It is my hope that you enjoy reading these books, and that they will be meaningful to you! I want you to enjoy your summer, and I am hoping that these books add to the enjoyment! I’ll miss you!

Ms. Gold

Answering Extended Response Questions

Step 1: Read carefully. Circle any key words

Step 2: Identify the different parts to the question. Separate them with lines.

Step 3: Use the IRACE formula to create your response.

Step 4: Use evidence based terms to guide your answer.

________ __________ __________ __________ __________

I – Indent

R – Restate (the question)

A – Answer (the question)

C – Cite (quotation) put page #!

E – Explain (how the quote answers the question )

________ __________ __________ __________ ________

Other tips:

  • Use 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font only
  • Double space the paragraph
  • Use correct spelling, grammar and capitalization
  • Make sure to fully explain yourself, and write as if the grader never read the story.
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