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I, Jack

I, Jack

4.2 4
by Patricia Finney, Peter Bailey (Illustrator), Peter Bailey (Illustrator)

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Hi! Hi there! I am Jack! Big dog Jack. Wag Tail. I live with a big Pack. This is my Packleader. I love him Huge Amounts! More than steak, even. Yumyum. My Packleader has a Pack Lady and three children. I love them Big Amounts, too. And this is Petra; she lives next door. Isn't she Gorgeous? This is my story. It's So Exciting! Find out how I become friends with Petra,


Hi! Hi there! I am Jack! Big dog Jack. Wag Tail. I live with a big Pack. This is my Packleader. I love him Huge Amounts! More than steak, even. Yumyum. My Packleader has a Pack Lady and three children. I love them Big Amounts, too. And this is Petra; she lives next door. Isn't she Gorgeous? This is my story. It's So Exciting! Find out how I become friends with Petra, brave the Fierce garage dog, and save Packleader from Huge Scary Metal Monsters. Arrooof Arrooof!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The cover photo of a yellow Lab (wearing drawn-on eyeglasses) and the author credit "By Jack, the dog, as told to Patricia Finney," tip readers off to the narrative voice in this labored British import. Jack's rather cloying exuberance is evident from his opening words: "Hi! hi there! Hello! hi, friend!! I am Jack! Look at me! Here I am. I like you. Do you like me? I am Jack. Big Dog Jack!! Hi! Can I smell your...? Oh. Sorry." He then introduces his "Pack," the English family he lives with, consisting of Packleader (the "biggest standing-up apedog"), his wife, Pack Lady, and three "apedog puppies." Some readers will be more tolerant than others of the cutesy "Jackspeak," some of which is translated in a concluding glossary ("talkbone" is the telephone, "Flying Featheries" are birds). Though Jack's interpretations of family matters occasionally hit a humorous note, his monologue can be tedious and repetitious, as he fixates on Petra, the pooch next door, yips about feeling hungry and garners criticism or praise from his owners. Only midway through is there any appreciable action, as Jack helps Petra find a place to deliver her "Special Message" (puppies); at the tail end, he struggles to obey instructions to "make like Lassie" and fetch help when his Packleader falls through rotting stairs and breaks his leg. Footnotes relaying quips from the supercilious family felines add little to this sluggish canine caper. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Yip, yip, AROOOF! For any dog lover who has wondered what thoughts are going through that canine brain, this is the book for you. How could a true dog fan not be charmed by the very first page: "I am JACK. BIG DOG JACK! Hi! Can I smell your...? Oh. Sorry." Jack is a golden Labrador retriever, with a big pack of two legged apedogs (humans) led by pack leader, Tom Stopes, who has lots of fur on his chin but not much on his head. Jack loves all in his pack, about as much as he adores his food dish and "walkies." When two new apedogs move into the den next door, Jack meets the love of his life, Petra, a pedigreed Samoyed, and the adventures begin. Happy dog! Petra and Jack "marry," with the help of ape puppies (children) in Jack's pack, have puppies (real ones), and get involved in the saving a nearby ancient stone mill encrusted with rare lichens, as well as rescuing Tom from a bulldozer. Finney was inspired by Rudyard Kipling's book, Thy Servant, a Dog, and consulted books on dog psychology by Bruce Fogle in order to capture doggy behavior, and she has done a superlative job of it. Added to Jack's voice is that of three "normal-walking-with-fur-and-tail-type dogs, but small with hidden-claws"—cats, who add their own hilarious footnotes and call Jack "Big Stupid." Once readers get used to Jack's attention deficit-type narrative, beautifully written by Finney, and combine the story with Bailey's charming line drawings plus a glossary of "Jackspeak English," they're bound to fall in love with this book. 2000, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Jack, a big yellow dog, has fallen head over paws in love with pretty Petra; when her owner finds out, she comments, "But Jack is just a Labrador and Petra is a Samoyed." Then the plot takes a different path with Petra soon becoming pregnant. A subplot involves the environmental conservation of the forest area surrounding the mill where Petra has her puppies as a new highway is soon to be built over it. Jack's overemphasized stupidity in some scenes is inconsistent with his apparent intelligence in others. On the other hand, in scenes in which his real emotions come through, his character rings true. Some readers might find the scene in which Jack chases and kills a cottontail, licks its blood off his teeth, and says, "Yum," and later "licks the inside of the bunny's skin" a bit over the top. In addition, several of the dog-language words he uses are unclear; having to refer often to the glossary slows the story. However, Finney does a good job of weaving realistically believable canine behavior and slapstick humor throughout. Jack's sincere attempts to make sense of what people are telling him are particularly funny, and the ending is upbeat. Small black-and-white drawings break up the text on many of the pages.-James K. Irwin, Nichols Library, Naperville, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This dog story with a difference is written in first-person narrative from the viewpoint of Jack, a yellow Lab who lives with a family with three children and three cats. Jack views the world in simple terms of food, smells, and affection for his pack members, until a female Samoyed named Petra moves in next door. A tastefully handled romance ensues when Jack escapes to the neighbors' yard, and Petra eventually has puppies in an abandoned building. Jack repeatedly runs away and steals food to take to her, and the dramatic conclusion involves rescuing both Jack's owner and the puppies. Finney tells her funny story in short sentences with interspersed creative type treatments in larger fonts and small line illustrations that break up the text. Jack's limited understanding of the human world and his funny names for things provide some droll humor, and the three cats, who refer to Jack as the Big Yellow Stupid, ostensibly provide clever footnotes. Includes an author's note and a glossary of "Jackspeak." (Fiction. 8-11)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The narrative is perfectly pitched [and] Jack’s world remains earthily, comically doggy.”
ALA Booklist
"Happy dog. Happy readers. Good, funny book."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“The narrative is perfectly pitched [and] Jack’s world remains earthily, comically doggy.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The narrative is perfectly pitched [and] Jack’s world remains earthily, comically doggy.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The narrative is perfectly pitched [and] Jack’s world remains earthily, comically doggy."

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

I, Jack

By Patricia Finney

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Patricia Finney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060522097

Chapter One

My Pack and Our Den

Hi! hi there! Hello! hi, friend!! I am Jack! Look at me! Here I am. I like you. Do you like me? I am jack. big dog jack!! Hi! Can I smell your . . . ?

Oh. Sorry.

I am Jack, old-fashioned yellow Labrador. I am very Thick. I am very very Thick. It's good to be Thick. wag tail. Pant. Get patted. Thick means Good.

I have a big Pack, very big Pack, all different kinds of dogs.

One kind of dog -- standing-up-on-back-legs-smell-of-ape-type dog with no fur, no tail. Some big, some little. Apedogs.

Other kind of dog -- normal-walking-type dog with fur, hidden claws. And me.

Here is my Pack.

Front paw. Biggest standing-up apedog is Master and Packleader. He is very very Big (bigger than you). He has a big deep bark. He has a big belly, lots of dark fur on face (not much on head). He makes things with his clever paws in his little wooden den: sometimes he makes lines on paper with burnt sticks, or he puts lots of different-smelling slime on paper with another kind of stick with a furry top, or he makes huge things out of wet earth. I get much whacking when I eat paper-with-smears even though the smell is so interesting. But whatever he does is Good because he is my Packleader and also Tom Stopes, also Dad. He is the biggest apedog. I love him huge amounts. More than steak, even.

Other front paw. Next biggest apedog is Pack Lady of my Pack, also Charlie-short-for-Charlotte, also Mom, also Darling. She is not as big as the Packleader (in fact she is quite little) but she barks higher and even more. She has no fur on face, lots of dark fur on head.She is scary fierce if she finds you with head-in-trashcan. I love her big amounts. More than pork chops.

Back paw. Apedog puppy girl.

She is nearly big now. She is Teresa, or Terri. She has no fur on face, fur on head, cuddles me. She has a box with loud howling and banging inside. She sits next to it and howls. Why does she get mad when I help with howling? I do not understand. I love her a lot. More than kidneys.

Other back paw. Immature male apedog puppy. Smaller than Terri. No fur on face, short fur on head, runs around barking lots. Sits on two-wheel-go-fast-thing -- watch out jack, you stupid dog! He is good to cuddle. He helps me dig for bones. Often he gives me Sugar Puffs and bits of toast and pea-nut butter -- funny, sticky, but nice taste. He is called Pete. I love him a huge lot. More than cow-liver, even.

Tail. Other male apedog puppy. Small. Very small. Was smaller. First he was a roly-poly no-fur puppy, getting milk from Pack Lady -- no, not for you, jack. Why not? Anyway, now he is standing-up-type apedog, but short. He is friendly. When I kiss him, he licks my face. He is called Mikey and also Baba. I love him lots. More than chicken.

There are also normal-walking-with-fur-and-tail-type dogs but small and hidden-claws. yowp! They don't like me smelling their tails. We have lots. Stripey one, Remy. Black-and-white one, Maisie. White-and-black one, Muskie. I love them a bit. Funny-looking dogs.

There are also lots of Small Furries outside. Also Slimies in pond -- jump jump yowp! Also Flying Featheries that the Cats make into meat and leave on kitchen floor and Pack Lady stands on in the morning and runs around barking and howling lots and throwing the Cats through the back door. I do not understand why the Cats make Flying Featheries and Small Furries into meat, but they say they like it and I am too Thick to live and what do I think I eat anyway?

Yes. I am Thick. I am very Thick. I am the Thickest Dog in the World.

Now I will tell you about my Pack's den. It is good but Pack Lady says it's too small. Great Packleader and Pack Lady share a room, nice nest, why can't I come in it? too small, you great dummy, says Pack Lady.

Now the food room where my food dish is. My Food Dish is very beautiful. It is shiny and smooth and smells of metal. It has food in it two times each day, one after sleep, one be-fore sleep. i love my food dish very much. I can hold it in my mouth and carry it. Sometimes I drop it on Packleader's foot when he might forget about food for the dog. He barks lots. Sometimes I drop it on the Food Room floor, bang kerlang crash! Good noise. Sometimes I get mixed up and fetch my water dish . . . Boing! Splosh! . . . I wonder how that puddle happened? Oh. Sorry.

There is also the Sitting Room with the talking Flicker Box and a little room with another talking Flicker Box and a big wood-and-metal pling-plong noise-thing. The Cats walk on it sometimes, to make beautiful music (they say). Sitting Room is nice. The Cats have their god in there. It is yellow and red and hot and makes a burning hot smell. I like it. The Cats like it more. Why do they scowl at me when I lie next to it? They could lie on top of me, and we would all be warm and comfy. Why should the Cats lie near the god and not me? I do not understand.

There is also Outside and Outside Outside. Outside has lots of trees and flowers and green things. I can do my messages there. Outside Outside is for Walkies. i love walkies. can we go now? now! please? walkies now please? Oh. Sorry.


Excerpted from I, Jack by Patricia Finney Copyright © 2005 by Patricia Finney. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Patricia Finney is Jack's real Pack Lady and his interpreter. She spends a lot of time running around after Jack, The Cats, and her three children. When she can, she writes all kinds of things, including historical novels, scripts, articles for newspapers, and the prequel to this book, I, Jack. She lives in Cornwall, England.

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I, Jack 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
animalsandmagic More than 1 year ago
This book didn't really work for me. I do like that the book is told from the dog's point of view and feels like how some dog's probably would talk in reality if they could. What I didn't like was the dog's constantly happy attitude and how often he said and repeated how happy he was. Although I do know many dog's like Jack, I couldn't help but find him a little annoying, I would have liked him more if he was presented as a little less enthusiastic, and maybe a little smarter as well. As far as the story itself, I often found it hard to follow and understand. While there are many sentences numbered throughout the book corresponding to numbers at the bottom of the page where the stories cats explain what Jack is talking about, I found it too distracting to keep having to look down at this then find my place in the story again. There were also several times where I missed the number completely as the numbers are easy to miss and found myself searching through the text I just read to figure out what the bottom sentences were talking about and even with these I couldn't always understand the book. There are also some other things I didn't particularly enjoy about the dog's in the book, which I did not use in deciding what rating to give the book. One of the biggest things I did not like was that both Jack and the other dog were breeder gotten dog's and neither dog was ever spayed or neutered, leading to Jack causing unwanted puppies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recomend this to everyone if you want to read something funny and you love dogs!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up the book at B&N because we have a one-year-old female yellow Lab and an eight-year-old son that she treats as a fellow puppy. I hoped our son would be intrigued by the concept of a book written from the viewpoint of a dog and would read it from enjoyment and not just to rack up reading minutes on his 'at-home book log.' It is the first time he has read a chapter book with such enjoyment that he continually stops to read aloud portions to me. That's high praise from a second-grade boy whose favorite pastime is playing sports and, though an excellent reader, doesn't automatically choose reading over other activities.