While probably best known for his hilarious portrayal of Darryl Philbin on The Office, Craig Robinson’s talents expand far beyond acting. He’s a musician and a comedian. . . and now an author. Our book trailer this week showcases Jake the Fake Keeps it Real (Crown), a middle-grade book he wrote with Adam Mansbach (Go the Fuck to Sleep, 2011).
This trailer, as funny and clever as the book itself, is really an interview with Robinson—given by protagonist Jake. Like any 11-year-old, Jake is full of questions: “Why did you create a story about me? Why am I fake? Why should everyone read this book?” Unfortunately, he’s also just as easily distracted and even falls asleep during the interview. Despite this, Robinson is able to give interesting insights about what went into writing this book (did you know Jake and his life are actually reflections of Robinson’s early years?) and bonds with Jake over the fact they both always have fruit on them in case they want a snack.
Jake’s story begins when he gets accepted to the Music and Arts Academy for the gifted and talented—although he’s really not sure how he managed that. He’s not gifted (he can hardly play any instruments). He’s not talented (he can’t draw either). He’s a fake—or is he? While trying to fit in with the other students, he discovers he might just have something unique to offer: comedy. As Sarah Hunter writes in her Booklist review, “With comical characters, relatable stakes, and an unobtrusive kernel of a lesson about creativity at its heart, this series starter will likely find an easy audience among middle-schoolers, especially Wimpy Kid fans.”