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The Book That Jack Wrote
     

The Book That Jack Wrote

by Jon Scieszka, Dan Adel (Artist)
 

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This book is about a Rat, a Cat, a Cow over the moon, and a Baby humming a tune. It's about what the Bug did to the rug. It's about how the Egg fell off the wall. It's about the crazy mayhem that can occur when nursery rhymes go awry. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading this book over and over. "This one will wow even the most sophisticated."

Overview

This book is about a Rat, a Cat, a Cow over the moon, and a Baby humming a tune. It's about what the Bug did to the rug. It's about how the Egg fell off the wall. It's about the crazy mayhem that can occur when nursery rhymes go awry. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading this book over and over. "This one will wow even the most sophisticated." —Kirkus Reviews, pointer review "Clever, madcap text. A twisted treat in rhyme and pictures." — Children's Book Review Service Jon Scieszka is the author of many books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, the Time Warp Trio series, and most recently Math Curse. Daniel Adel is an illustrator whose work has appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Scieszka ( The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales ) and Adel lend a few demented twists to familiar nursery verse in this puzzlesome but polished yarn. As in the ``House That Jack Built,'' a cause-and-effect chain is steadily built (``This is the Cat / That ate the Rat / . . . That lay in the book that Jack wrote''). Adel, whose illustrations have appeared in the New York Times , contributes bizarre but virtuosic paintings that evoke Alice in Wonderland by way of Francis Bacon. His Cat, for instance, has unsettlingly human teeth and a wide Cheshire grin from which dangles the unfortunate Rat's tail; a Hatter a la John Tenniel shows up later. Adel's sophisticated compositions, set against white ground, incorporate picture frames that give each portrait a 3-D, lifelike quality. Scieszka's detached narrative seems straightforward at first, but gets weirder as the passage of time goes out-of-whack. When, at the conclusion, a ``book that Jack wrote'' falls on and flattens a Man, the Man's feet protrude from beneath the book--but those feet were present from the story's first page. Readers who require logic will be stymied; those who appreciate near-Victorian oddities and Escher-like conundrums will tumble right in. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Frankly, my initial impression of this book was unfavorable. I didn't feel that the cynicism reflected in the text and illustrations was necessary for young readers. But my nearly 6-year old daughter feels otherwise. "I love this book!," she enthusiastically proclaimed after I finished reading her this parody on This is the House That Jack Built. Truthfully, after the first couple of pages, she took over and read the rest of the book to me. It's about a rat, a cat, a cow over the moon, what the bug did to the rug, how the egg fell off the wall, and more. She especially enjoys the familiar, repetitive verse, and the exaggerated stylized illustrations capture her imagination. (What do I know?)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-An updated version of ``This Is the House That Jack Built,'' this cumulative tale tells of a blind rat who falls into a picture in the book that Jack wrote, thus setting off a chain of events in which the players are done in one by one until nothing is left but the book itself. The characters are borrowed largely from children's literature-a grinning Cheshiresque cat, a cow jumping over the moon, a pieman at the fair, Humpty Dumpty, and the Mad Hatter-but they bear only a passing resemblance to their traditional forms. Cynical expressions followed by looks of terror are the order of the day as each character meets its fate. The text initially follows the rhythm of the original rhyme; however, as it progresses, the meter changes and the cadence becomes somewhat jarring. The dark tones of Adel's full-page oil paintings are a fine match for the irreverent mood of the piece. The humor comes from their surreal quality-distorted bodies sport extremely large heads. Not for the timid, they portray a cow's pronounced udder hovering over the dog's head, a baby getting ``beaned'' with a pie, and a man with a sadistic grin happily smashing an annoying bug. Featuring an even more twisted brand of humor than Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man (Viking, 1992), this work will serve as a fine introduction to parody for young creative writers.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140553857
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Series:
Picture Puffin Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.14(w) x 10.12(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
5 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Multiple award-winning author Jon Scieszka grew up in Flint, Michigan, the second oldest and the nicest of six boys. Jon went to school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana where he was a Lieutenant; Albion College in Michigan where he studied to be a doctor; and Columbia University in New York, where he received an M.F.A. in fiction. He taught elementary school in New York for ten years in a variety of positions. He is the author of many books for children including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (illustrated by Lane Smith), the Caldecott Honor book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (illustrated by Lane Smith), and Math Curse (illustrated by Lane Smith).  In addition to his work as an author, Jon also runs a web-based literacy program called “Guys Read” that is designed to encourage boys, particularly reluctant readers, to get involved with books. In 2008, Jon was named the country’s first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a joint effort of the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council. During his two-year role as Ambassador, he acted as a spokesperson for children’s literature, speaking to groups of parents, teachers, and children to encourage the importance of reading. You can visit Jon online at www.jsworldwide.com.

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