The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

4.3 24
by Barbara O'Connor
     
 

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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

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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?

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:
177,821
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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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The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
AScattergood More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book with my 9year old son and we truly enjoyed it.
penandbrush7 More than 1 year ago
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.
Jennifer Young More than 1 year ago
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
Kel Vorhis More than 1 year ago
This is a good book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!:) #frogsub
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for yunger kids 8-10 perfect for group reading in class
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book how it suprised me in the end was very cool
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was okay it was not that exciting as i thought it would be but overall it was good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It had boring parts it was a ok book but its a battle book!it helped me try to reach the team!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ok
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the book its great it s worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!"""U HAVE TO READ IT IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good, but how could a sumbarine fall off a train, I mean really.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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