Orville Riot is “pretty smart for a third-grader” and Wilbur Riot, his fifth grade brother, is “very good at inventing games.” Between them, they decide that the Secret to Life is to never sit back and wait for something interesting to happen, but rather to go out and make something interesting happen. Each day they declare a goal: catch a bank robber, overthrow a king, find a hidden treasure. Through tenacity, imaginative thinking, and sometimes just plain luck, they always succeed in their mission: though not always in the way they’d envisioned.
The Riot brothers are just plain fun. Their relationship is fantastic, each boy trying to outdo the other with amazing plans and relying on the other brother in times of stress, such as being interrogated by the school bully or questioned by a teacher. While some of their antics would not be appreciated by parents or teachers in real life, it is made clear that these are actions with consequences, and for the most part the boys are not trying to be annoying, it just sort of happens. They act like real boys, inventing games for themselves and rules such as “Always run instead of walking.”
Boys, in particular third and fourth (and even some advanced second) grade boys love these books. (It’s a series.) I first picked up a copy to read after having boy after boy come in and tell me how much he loved them. They are already on my go-to list of books for younger grade boys.