The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

( 24 )

Overview

Owen Jester wishes his family hadn?t moved to his grandfather?s house after his dad lost his job. For one thing, his grandfather?s live-in nurse sure knows how to ruin anyone?s idea of a good time. And then there?s Viola, the girl next door, who can?t ever mind her own business. She even thinks Owen should put his freshly captured bullfrog back into the pond. Then late one night, Owen hears a curious noise when the train passes by his grandfather?s house. Something mysterious and wonderful has fallen off the ...

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The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

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Overview

Owen Jester wishes his family hadn’t moved to his grandfather’s house after his dad lost his job. For one thing, his grandfather’s live-in nurse sure knows how to ruin anyone’s idea of a good time. And then there’s Viola, the girl next door, who can’t ever mind her own business. She even thinks Owen should put his freshly captured bullfrog back into the pond. Then late one night, Owen hears a curious noise when the train passes by his grandfather’s house. Something mysterious and wonderful has fallen off the train. When Owen finally discovers what it is, he realizes he just might need a know-it-all after all. But can he trust Viola keep the most fantastic secret to ever tumble into Carter, Georgia?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“O’Connor has perfect pitch with this comic adventure, which ends with a happy resolution everyone, even the frog, can live with.”—New York Times Book Review

“O’Connor masterfully twists the two plot threads—Owen’s gradual realization that Tooley must be released, and the children’s Fitzcarraldo-like mission to move the submarine through brush to pond—into a fully convincing tale pitched perfectly to the upper elementary grades.”—BCCB, Starred Review

“This well-crafted novel creates a charming mix of the commonplace and the extraordinary. . . . Appealing and authentic, this tale of summertime adventure will be a hit with readers year round.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

“O’Connor has spun a lovely read that perfectly captures the schemes and plans of school-age kids in the long days of summer.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“With a quiet sensitivity, O’Connor explores the effects of unemployment and relocating and the joys of both longtime companions and new, unexpected friendships. Filled with charm and wonder, this finely crafted novel reminds readers of the mysteries to be found in childhood and the outdoors.”—BookPage

 

“. . . the story is smoothly written, the secret is ingenious and believable, and who can resist a frog named Tooley Graham?”—Booklist

 

“O’Connor's funny, triumphant tale reveals the wisdom of listening to one’s inner voice over the noise of one's peers.”—Publishers Weekly

Julie Just
O'Connor has perfect pitch in this comic adventure…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
"Owen Jester tiptoed across the gleaming linoleum floor and slipped the frog into the soup." This opening line, like much of O'Connor's storytelling, strikes with lightning-fast characterization. Owen is a lovable troublemaker, whose prank involves his new catch, Tooley, "the biggest, greenest, slimiest, most beautiful bullfrog ever to be seen in Carter, Georgia." The main plot is Owen's discovery of the Water Wonder 4000, a two-person submarine that has fallen from a passing train. A gentle, old-fashioned adventure unfolds, as Owen and his friends scheme to keep the sub under the radar of adults--and neighborhood know-it-all Viola. As with O'Connor's The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis, this is the sweet stuff that children's summer days are made of (or used to be)--crafting grandiose plans, dodging adults' watchful eyes, and navigating the choppy waters of friendship. A rift occurs as Owen is torn between his Viola-hating friends and this helpful girl whose "irritating voice slithered up... and circled around Owen." O'Connor's funny, triumphant tale reveals the wisdom of listening to one's inner voice over the noise of one's peers. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
Owen Jester does have a fantastic secret that leads to an exciting predicament. Owen is a young boy who is living with his parents and his grandfather at his grandfather's house in Georgia. They live near a pond where Owen catches a frog and names him Tooley. Owen and his friends struggle to build a cage for Tooley so that he can enjoy the pond without getting away. Then one night Owen hears a noise and he thinks that something has fallen from a train that passes near their house. He and his friends search for it while trying to keep away from their noisy neighbor, Viola. They find a box that turns out to be a small submarine built for two people. Owen is concerned about Tooley's health and reluctantly decides to let him go from the cage and have the freedom of the pond. Then Owen and the boys put the submarine together with the help of Viola who turns out to know a lot about submarines. Eventually Owen and Viola go underwater in the sub, and Owen is able to see Tooley swimming around and looking very happy. After a few more issues, there is a pleasant ending. A lively pace, interesting problems, and fun adventures make this a good story for both boys and girls. Reviewer: Vicki Foote
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Owen Jester believes his summer is off to a great start when he captures the biggest, best bullfrog in Carter, GA. He names it Tooley Graham and builds a cage for it in his bedroom. When Tooley starts to look a bit sick, Owen's know-it-all neighbor, Viola, insists that he put the frog back into the pond or it will die. One night, Owen hears something fall off a train passing the tracks in the woods behind his house. The boy and his two friends discover a two-person submarine known as a Water Wonder 4000 hidden in the brush. Owen tries to keep this fantastic secret hidden from his family, and especially from nosey Viola, at least until he can take the sub for a ride. But when Viola discovers the secret, Owen must include her in the plans. Barbara O'Connor's entertaining, sometimes humorous summer adventure (Farrar, 2010) about friendship and discovery is narrated by Noah Galvin. He does a superb job of creating unique voices for each character, making this a fantastic listening adventure.—Amy Joslyn, Fairport Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

"The short, sad life of Tooley Graham was over," doesn't sound like a happy conclusion but is pitch perfect in this short, simple and endearing middle-grade novel that follows on the heels of The Small Adeventure of Popeye and Elvis (2009). Owen Jester is focused on several things during his summer vacation: finding a way to keep his trapped "pet" bullfrog alive and happy, locating what fell off a train with a loud crash! one night and keeping annoying next-door neighbor Viola—who knows everything—out of their business as he schemes with his two best friends, Stumpy and Travis. The discovery of a sleek, red two-person submarine in the brush alongside the tracks changes everything. Can three young, girl-hating boys and a willing and very able—and tolerant--girl move a submarine to Graham Pond? If they manage that, will they ever be able to pilot it? In the heat of a languid Georgia summer vacation, in the dreams of irrepressible youth, anything is possible. O'Connor has spun a lovely read that perfectly captures the schemes and plans of school-age kids in the long days of summer. (Fiction. 8-11)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312674304
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 67,561
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara O’Connor is the author of numerous acclaimed books for children, including Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia; Me and Rupert Goody; Greetings from Nowhere and How to Steal a Dog. She has been awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards, the Massachusetts Book Award, and the Dolly Gray Award, among many honors. As a child, she loved dogs, salamanders, tap dancing, school, and even homework. Her favorite days were when the bookmobile came to town. She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and now lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts, a historic seaside village not far from Plymouth Rock.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2012

    Frog in the soup!

    Owen Jester plops "the biggest, greenest, slimiest, most beautiful bullfrog ever to be seen in Carter, Georgia," into the soup & Barbara O'Connor plops us into a charming tale as Owen unravels the mystery of the summer, despite a pesty neighbor, forced circumstances & disbelieving buddies. As always, O'Connor's voice, setting and mixed up circumstances shine.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    GOOD BOOK

    This is a good book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2010

    What a secret!

    Owen Jester's life may not be perfect, but he's found the perfect treasure, and it fell off of a passing train. In the middle of the night. With a thud. Once he discovers this mysterious "thing" in the woods, he and his best buddies set out to keep the secret from Viola, the irritating neighbor girl who's trying to weasel her way into their mystery. And who can blame her? It's a pretty amazing secret and Owen's not sharing it with anyone.
    As if this weren't enough, there's Tooley, an (almost) pet frog who has his own story that young readers will take to.

    This is an adventure and a story of family and of friendships, all rolled into one perfectly written gem. It's a terrific novel that begs to be read aloud: short chapters will leave kids clamoring for "just one more," plus plenty of laughs.
    This book will join Barbara O'Connor's long list of classroom favorites. Kids will love it- boys and girls. This one's got winner written all over it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Must read with your kids

    I read this book with my 9year old son and we truly enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Ok

    It was ok

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    To : get it or not

    Read the book its great it s worth it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    AWESOME

    This is one of the best books and dcfs that i have ever read i was not able to put it down until i was finished. All in all i loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Awesome!!

    Best book ever!!!!!!!:) #frogsub

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Review

    Great book for yunger kids 8-10 perfect for group reading in class

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    the awesome book

    I think that book the fantastic secret of owen jester is a really cute book to read even though i havent read all of it i think is going to be a really fun and funny book

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  • Posted May 26, 2013

    The first thing you notice about The Fantastic Secret of Owen Je

    The first thing you notice about The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester is the artwork on the front cover:  It is beautiful, stunning, intriguing and a bit funny, and you have to wonder just what kind of a book would be between those covers.  Then you notice that it is a Barbara O'Connor book, and, if you're me or anyone who has ever read a Barbara O'Connor book, you know that it is a book that you will want to read. 
    Barbara O'Connor can tell epic (using that word properly) tales in less than 200 double-spaced pages.  She can create four distinct personalities in the four distinct children in single sentences or even single phrases, and she can work that same magic for the four main adult characters.  Not only that, the setting of her books is more than just a location; it, too becomes a character, and the where becomes as important as the who, the what, the why and the how.  Even the frog in The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester has a voice, one that grows stronger as the frog croaks less. 
    As a struggling writer, I would read anything that Barbara O'Connor writes -- and I probably do.  If broken down by their elements, her books would make an excellent study on how to write a children's book.  And if broken down, they would still be fun to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    it was a great book

    The book how it suprised me in the end was very cool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Okay

    The book was okay it was not that exciting as i thought it would be but overall it was good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Great Book!

    This book is about a boy who is trying to make a better house for his frog,trying to find out what fell off the train that passes the woods every night(the woods is right by his house so he heard a huge BUMP!)and he finds out that a bossy,know it all girl can HELP him.(Ithink thats a shocker!)I think this is a really great book.I would recommend this book for ages 9-13.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2012

    Not very fantastical

    For me this book held not one fantastical secret and really lacked any action at all plus it is centered around a frog.... no disrespect to the author though i guess the writing style was okay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    Good book

    I checked out the sample of this even though the sample was not that long it was still pretty good. The people in chat n chew at my school read this book in one of the groups but since i did not attend this year i sampled it good book for 7 and up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    Love this book

    It had boring parts it was a ok book but its a battle book!it helped me try to reach the team!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Anonymous

    This book is amazing!"""U HAVE TO READ IT IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Pretty good

    Good, but how could a sumbarine fall off a train, I mean really.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    What ag group is this for

    What age group is this for and how long is it because it sounds like a little kids book and it sounds interesting but I would like a little more about the plot

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews

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