Hokey Pokey

( 16 )

Overview

Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something...

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Hokey Pokey

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Overview

Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that's impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.  

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spinelli (Jake and Lily) creates a surreal landscape reminiscent of J.M. Barrie’s Never Land in this poignant celebration of childhood exuberance. Don’t bother looking for adults in Hokey Pokey, where boys and girls dine on flavored ice and spend their days watching cartoons, playing cowboy games, and using their bicycles as trusty steeds. Jack’s bike, Scramjet, is the most coveted of all, and one day it’s stolen by his archenemy, Jubilee. This marks the first of a series of unsettling events that give Jack, a boy on the brink of adolescence, the eerie impression that “things have shifted.” It isn’t just that his tattoo, the mark of all residents, is fading; something deep inside him is pulling him away from familiar landmarks, friends, enemies, and routines. Spinelli’s story will set imaginations spinning and keep readers guessing about Jack’s fate and what Hokey Pokey is all about (so to speak). The ending is both inevitable and a risk (it invokes one of the more clichéd tropes in literature and film), but Spinelli’s dizzying portrait of life in Hokey Pokey will keep readers rapt. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2013:
“This unforgettable coming-of-age story will resonate with tween readers and take its rightful place beside the author’s Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar’s Holes.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2012:
“A masterful, bittersweet recognition of coming-of-age.”

Kirkus Reviews
If childhood were a place…. In the adultless land of Hokey Pokey, a dry, sandy environment reminiscent of the Southwest, children arrive when they've outgrown diapers and receive a ticklish tattoo of an eye on their abdomens. At midday they line up for a serving of hokey pokey, an ice treat in any flavor imaginable. The rest of their day is spent playing, watching a giant television with nonstop cartoons or riding bicycles, which are horselike creatures that roll in herds and can buck their owners off at will. In this inventive, modern fable, Jack awakens with a bad feeling that's realized when his legendary Scramjet bike is stolen by Jubilee, a girl no less, and his tattoo has started to fade. As he searches for his bike and the reason why "[t]he world is rushing at him, confusing him, alarming him," he recalls The Story about The Kid who grew up and hinted at tomorrow, an unrecognizable place to children. With nods to J.M. Barrie, Dr. Seuss and Philip Pullman, Newbery Medalist Spinelli crafts stunning turns of phrase as Jack "unfunks" and tries to "dehappen" the day's events. While reluctantly accepting his growing up, Jack brings Hokey Pokey's bully to justice, suddenly finds Jubilee an interesting companion and prepares his Amigos for his imminent departure. A masterful, bittersweet recognition of coming-of-age. (Fiction. 10-13, adult)
VOYA - Elaine Gass Hirsch
Jack lives in Hokey Pokey, a wonderland where kids play all day and there are no grown-ups to interfere. Being one of the Big Kids, Jack is looked upon as a leader and enjoys his carefree life immensely--that is, until the day his bicycle, Scramjet, is stolen by Jubilee, someone who has always been avoided because she is a girl. Jack now senses things are becoming askew and is concerned about a train whistle that only he can hear in the distance, as everyone knows in Hokey Pokey there are no trains, only tracks. During the 1950s, when Spinelli was growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, there was a shaved-ice vendor who walked up and down the town streets pushing a cart loaded with a block of ice that he would scrape, put into a paper cone, and drizzle with flavored syrup. In an interview on aroundmainline.com, Spinelli shares that this salesman was always referred to as the “Hokey Pokey Man,” and he became quite iconic in Norristown. This treasured childhood memory helped inspire Hokey Pokey, another inventive and compassionate story from the Newbery Medal winner, which explores childhood as a place as well as a period of time. Spinelli’s poignant story of leaving childhood behind and growing into the unknowns of adolescence is cleverly approached and lyrical in presentation. This is essential for all public and school libraries. Ages 11 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Hokey Pokey is a place where children live and rule themselves, riding bicycles like horses, watching cartoons on huge outdoor screens, throwing tantrums and getting hugged, all without an adult in sight. Their lives are almost pure joy as they dance the eponymous dance, savor the eponymous frozen treat, and listen to The Story of the Kid through little shells they carry in their pockets. Jack is their hero and ringleader, dealing with bully Harold the Destroyer, teaching Kiki lessons in sports and Lopez lessons in life, until the day things begin to change. Jack wakes to find that his beloved bike, Scramjet, has been commandeered by Jubilee, whom he despises because she's a girl. Answering his Tarzan cry of despair, Amigos LaJo and Dusty race to his side and notice before he does that Jack's stomach tattoo, given to all children once they're out of diapers, is starting to disappear. Fighting against the realization that Jack is going to leave them, they lure him into one last bike roundup, roping him and tying him down until Jubilee releases him, recognizing that he cannot resist the pull away from all of them toward the Forbidden Hut and the Train, and into The Story. Using elements of myth, allegory, fantasy, and not-quite science fiction, Spinelli has skillfully combined a stream-of-consciousness narrative with delicious inventive language to create a vivid, dreamlike world. This unforgettable coming-of-age story will resonate with tween readers and take its rightful place beside the author's Maniac Magee (Little, Brown, 1990) and Louis Sachar's Holes (Farrar, 1998).—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375831980
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 491,467
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: HL600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry Spinelli

JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many books for young readers, including Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Wringer; Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; and Knots in My Yo-Yo String, his autobiography. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2013

    I can't decide what to think about this one. It is crazy and wa

    I can't decide what to think about this one. It is crazy and wacky and I absolutely loved that side of it. On the other hand, it is extremely confusing. I spent the first half of the book completely in the dark as to what was going on, and the second half was only slightly better.

    I got tired of being confused and it was a challenge for me to push onward when I felt like I was lost the entire time. Everything is eventually explained, but by that point, I had all but given up.

    However, it is a beautiful coming of age story that I think most people can relate to. I mean, didn't you have that one weird birthday where every gift you got was wrong somehow? You got a sweater and thought, "Sweaters are for old people." Then you got a toy and thought, "I'm too old for toys." That is what Jack's experience reminds me of. He leaves the world of imagination and play behind to move onward to life as a teenager.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 14, 2013

    T

    Yhis looks pretty good. Should I get it?

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Good book

    Good book, a little confusing at some points. The part I don't get is the ending. I mean, is hokey pokey a place or is it just in the children's minds?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Hfj

    Ifvi could buy thisi would love it very much

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Confusing

    It took me half of the story to figure out what was happening. In the en i wa ok

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Book

    Its not sad its weird though

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    It looks petty good

    It seems to look cool

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Hey

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Leah

    "Uhhh. Uhh!" She moans, her pu<_>ssy dripping wet

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Kat

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Idk

    I have no idea what its about, but if it is sad, I am not getting it. I dont like crying!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    I read it

    It was good

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Eh.

    Hard toge

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

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