Thursday, June 21, 2018

SERIES THURSDAY: Mighty Jack/MIghty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke


Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.

What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.


Mighty Jack is a fun adventure which isn't surprising.  Fun stories are what I've come to expect from Ben Hatke.  This is a rather unique take on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale.  In this version, young Jack has a younger sister who doesn't talk much who he is expected to look out for when his mother is working.  At a visit to the local farmer's market, Jack trades his mother's car (she is not at all pleased about this) for a strange box full of seeds.  He does this because his sister asked him to and he couldn't resist her request after she actually spoke.  When I read this I thought the man who gave Jack the seeds looked familiar (and I was right--he's from the Zita the Spacegirl series).  Jack and his sister plant the seeds only to realize that their new found garden is rather dangerous.  Jack and Lilly (a neighborhood girl) learn to fight off the dangerous garden elements by using the powers that some of the produce gives them.  But when the garden hurts Jack's sister, he tries to destroy it.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work and his sister is kidnapped and taken to another world.  Jack and Lilly must follow.  The illustrations are compelling and entertaining and the story moves quickly.  As popular as the Zita the Spacegirl books are in my library, I can guarantee that this book will be just as popular.


Like a bolt from the blue, Jack's little sister Maddy is gone—carried into another realm by an ogre.

When Jack and Lilly follow Maddy’s captor through the portal, they are ready for anything . . . except what they find waiting for them in the floating crossroads between worlds. Even the power of their magic plants may not be enough to get them back to earth alive.

Alone and injured, Jack and Lilly must each face their own monsters—as well as giants who grind the bones of human children to feed their “beast” and a fearsome goblin king in the sewers down below.

But when Jack finds himself in a tough spot, help comes from the most unlikely person: the goblin king!

Ben Hatke, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Zita the Spacegirl, concludes his latest middle-grade fantasy-adventure graphic novel series, Mighty Jack, with the energetic finale to his retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk.


This book picks up right where Mighty Jack ends with Jack and Lilly entering a portal to find Jack's missing sister.  As they search for Jack's sister, Lilly falls and they get separated.  After sending Jack after his sister, Lilly meets up with a bunch of goblins who are living in a sewer beneath the castle that used to be theirs.  After defeating the Goblin King who wants to marry her or eat her, Lilly sets off with her new found friends to find Jack.  Meanwhile, Jack finds his sister being held captive by giants in a castle.  But they aren't going to eat her themselves, instead they plan to feed her to a machine that will allow them to take over the castle for good.  Jack and Lilly must team up to defeat the giants, even though the price may be higher than they want to pay.  This is a fitting conclusion to the story of Jack and Lilly, although the ending indicates a new beginning of sorts.  Once again, Hatke has created an appealing, exciting adventure that young readers are bound to enjoy.

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