Heads or Tails: Stories from the Sixth Grade (Jack Henry Series #3)

Heads or Tails: Stories from the Sixth Grade (Jack Henry Series #3)

4.3 6
by Jack Gantos
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

From the Newbery Medal-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight more hysterical semi-autobiographical Jack Henry stories about a sixth grader's trials and tribulations

Jack's life is a crazy roller-coaster ride. At his fifth school in six years, he has a crackpot teacher who won't give him a break about his lousy handwriting and a secret

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

From the Newbery Medal-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight more hysterical semi-autobiographical Jack Henry stories about a sixth grader's trials and tribulations

Jack's life is a crazy roller-coaster ride. At his fifth school in six years, he has a crackpot teacher who won't give him a break about his lousy handwriting and a secret crush who wants to be a policewoman. At home, he has a pesky little brother with a knack for getting hurt whenever Jack's supposed to be looking after him, a terror for an older sister, all sorts of weird neighbors, and, last but not least, ferocious alligators in the canal behind his house.

Writing in his diary about his good days and bad days is one way Jack survives his up-and-down year. But he's also a kid who knows that life can go any which way at any given moment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of the offbeat Rotten Ralph picture books makes an auspicious foray into new ground with this semi-autobiographical, wholly engaging novel. His narrator, Jack, travels through the often poignant moments that highlight his sixth grade year, at the same time describing his unpredictable family life: ``Since I was born, we had already lived in nine different houses. I hated that word `renter.' It made me feel that I didn't really belong anywhere, like we had to pay people to put up with us,'' he says. Stuck between an older sister he emulates and a pesky if appealing younger brother, Jack always strives to do the right thing--often to land in trouble. His perspective is quirky but reliable, and often surprising. The first chapter, for example, describes Jack's three-year battle to fill his diary; when he can think of nothing to write, he begins to pack the diary with ``stuff''--bugs, baseball cards, stamps and so on--but he concludes, ``I was covering over the empty white space of the pages in the same way I covered my eyes with my hands when I watched a monster movie.'' A bittersweet resonance filters the humor in these stories, and lingers most welcomely. Ages 10-up. (June)
The ALAN Review - Wendy H. Bell
The entries in Jack's diary reflect his "heads-you-win, tails-you-lose" life. If his teacher, Mrs. Marshall, isn't giving him a hard time at school (his fifth school in six years), his older sister, Betsy, and bratty younger brother, Pete, nearly do him in. Jack's escapades during his sixth-grade year are funny and well-written. His original characters are memorable because they are real. There is also a certain poignancy when the family's hoped-for move to another city and higher income does not materialize, but the author maintains the overall brisk pace and wry tone that make this book delightful reading. Middle schoolers, in particular, will enjoy Heads or Tails: Stories From the Sixth Grade.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A book that reads like an improbably successful collaboration between Betsy Byars and William Sleator: funny but ...weird! Set in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, sometime in the late '60s, these eight stories about an appealing sixth grader named Jack are filled with oddball characters and offbeat situations: neighbors, for example, keep 30 dogs (in the house), paint an atom bomb target on the roof, and drive cars on their lawn. Jack's world is not only weird, it's rootless. He's lived in nine different houses and attended five schools in six years-and, some days, it's even dangerously out of control: a plane falls out of the sky and the pilot is killed; the family's dog is eaten by an alligator; younger brother Pete keeps getting injured while in his care-no wonder Jack always thinks the worst and wistfully believes in UFOs, hoping ``they'll take me away from all this confusion and set me down in a place without fear.'' And yet Jack, like the watch that takes a licking, always keeps on ticking, performing acts of unselfconscious kindness. He's a survivor, an ``everyboy'' whose world may be wacko but whose heart and spirit are eminently sane and generous. Gantos is a terrific writer with a wonderfully wry sensibility, a real talent for turning artful phrases, and a gift for creating memorable characters. In the first story Jack thinks, ``I can either be a copycat for the rest of my life or I can be one-of-a-kind.'' By the final story, readers will realize that he has become the latter and so has this memorable book about him.-Michael Cart, formerly at Beverly Hills Public Library
The Buffalo News
Laugh-out-loud funny . . . The author has bull's-eye accuracy in capturing the private torments of a twelve-year-old.
The Book Report
As real as it gets.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374429232
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
09/19/1995
Series:
Jack Henry Series, #3
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
537,255
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 7.71(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >