HI, JACK! and Jack Blasts Off! BLOGGER BLITZ!


Meet Jack: He lives in a tree house. His interests include snacks, petty theft, and lipstick graffiti. Jack also loves his friends, the cranky "Lady" and a sweet pup named Rex. He just has a funny way of showing it sometimes . . .

Welcome to the laugh-out-loud and irreverent world of Jack, a new early reader series by the bestselling and award-winning team of Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli. A perfect read-aloud with snappy, rhythmic text, this series will bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books and fill the Elephant-and-Piggie-shaped hole in young readers' hearts.


Mac Barnett is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty books, including Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, Extra Yarn, and the Mac B., Kid Spy series. His books have won numerous prizes, including three E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, two Caldecott Honors, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Mac lives in Oakland, California.

Greg Pizzoli is an author, illustrator, and printmaker. His first picture book, The Watermelon Seed, won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, and his book Good Night Owl was a Geisel Honor. His Viking nonfiction picture book Tricky Vic was a New York Times Best Illustrated of 2015. He lives in Philadelphia.


Jack is a rabbit who lives in a tree house and loves snacks.  But after swiping a lady's purse, the narrator has to scold him to get him to give it back.  And in the meantime, Jack plays with the lipstick in the purse.  The following chapters introduce the reader to Rex, a dog, who Jack uses the lipstick on, painting the dog's lips and writing the word Jack all over him.  The last chapter introduces the Lady and her home, near whom, Jack and Rex live.  But after Jack's misbehaves once again and is scolded, he cries and the narrator and Lady give in  and give him a gift.  He repays them with more mischief.  While this book may be funny to young children, as a teacher and adult, I didn't find it funny at all.  In fact, I found Jack's misbehavior annoying and the narrator and Lady's rewarding his tantrum irritating.  Jack does not learn any kind of lesson and his behavior doesn't change.  As much as I wanted to like the book, I really couldn't and it isn't one I would use with classes, except for an example of how NOT to behave.  Children are likely to see the story differently however, and some will undoubtedly find Jack's antics hilarious.  The illustrations are vintage Pizzoli and work well with the text.  The down-turned eye-brows whenever Jack gets ready to cause mischief are a clever touch that hints at mayhem to come.  My final assessment is that kids are likely to enjoy this more than most adults and adults need to be willing to either use the book to teach or be willing to let Jack's poor choices go.


When the Lady is mad at Jack, she decides to send him on a one-way trip to outer space. While she enjoys some rare peace and quiet, Jack and Rex get into trouble, resulting in their exile to the dark side of the moon. After an alien chase and some snacks, Jack and Rex get blasted home to Earth. But will the Lady take naughty Jack back?


I really wanted to like this more than I did.  But it rubbed me the wrong way I'm afraid.  Jack isn't very likable to me (although I'm sure child readers will like him more).  And the Lady sending Jack and Rex away forever because she's mad at them for destroying her books.  Children are likely to see the absurdity of this situation for what it is : funny.  I just didn't find it so.  After landing on the moon, Jack and Rex meet an alien named Zip.  It seems at first that they might be friends, but after Jack refuses to share his snacks, and Rex eats one of Zip's tools, Zip sends them to the dark side of the moon.  At that point they encounter a scary monster and are forced to flee.  Zip rescues them reluctantly and returns them to earth, where he threatens the Lady into taking them back.  A book children will likely find funny even though I did not.  I wouldn't mind Jack's bad behavior if I didn't get the sense that it is very deliberate, not accidental or an overabundance of enthusiasm or something.  No, Jack seems to make his choices very deliberately and without remorse for his unkindness.  A series that children will likely find amusing and enjoyable, but not one I feel comfortable recommending. 



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