Jack on the Tracks: Four Seasons of Fifth Grade (Jack Henry Series #2)

Jack on the Tracks: Four Seasons of Fifth Grade (Jack Henry Series #2)

4.3 13
by Jack Gantos
     
 

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Jack Henry is hoping for adventure when he moves to a new home in Miami with his family, but he can't escape his old worrying ways: he worries about being a confirmed cat killer and being fascinated with all things gross and disgusting; he worries about his crazy French-obsessed schoolteacher and about his merciless older sister; and most of all he worries about… See more details below

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Overview

Jack Henry is hoping for adventure when he moves to a new home in Miami with his family, but he can't escape his old worrying ways: he worries about being a confirmed cat killer and being fascinated with all things gross and disgusting; he worries about his crazy French-obsessed schoolteacher and about his merciless older sister; and most of all he worries about worrying so much.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gantos draws inspiration from his own childhood diaries in the fourth collection of stories about Jack Henry. In these nine tales, his aggravations include his annoying older sister, some crazy cats, a tapeworm and a pair of escaped convicts. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)n Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Betty Hicks
Yes! Jack is back--and as funny as ever. Based on the author's own childhood journals, this fourth book of Jack Henry stories is as hilarious as the first three. Be prepared for Jack telling tales of eating tapeworms, dropping cockroaches in his sister's mouth, and suffering through the unlucky deaths of multiple cats. Jack is cursed with the selected wisdom peculiar to fifth-grade boys--don't open the door to strangers, but do hop on a homemade water ski pulled by a car in a lightning storm. While Gantos comically salutes the sometimes gross and reckless nature of boys in tasteless ways that kids will love, he also weaves genuine insight and sensitivity into the larger, unspoken concerns that inhabit every child's head. Jack is trying hard to be responsible, to convince his older sister that he's mature, and to show his teacher that there's more to boys than snakes and snails. He fails miserably, of course, but his trying will warm readers' hearts (while turning their stomachs and attacking their funny bones).
VOYA
In the fifth installment of Gantos's semiautobiographical series, Jack Henry and his family are in Miami, where Jack's dad plans to start another new job. As in previous Jack books, Gantos creates a world surrounding the Henry family, a culture with its own tall tales (Jack's father's stories are innocently offcolor but hilarious), heroes, and enemies (Jack's sister Betsy is the cleverest and the most conniving of nemeses). A fuzzylipped francophile, a psychotic security guard neighbor, and a welcomecatwielding best friend round out the cast of characters in this overthetop memoir. Told in vignette form, each chapter of Jack on the Tracks is prefaced with illustrations and text that appear to be excerpted from Jack's diary. The line drawings and snippets of handwritten text are titillating, although the text is not necessarily repeated verbatim within the chapter. Firstperson narration is tinged with the tentative sarcasm of the burgeoning wisenheimer; Jack Henry's escapades are delivered wideeyed, and tongue in cheek with not overdone hyperbole. A "boy book" with bothsex appeal, Jack includes justgrossenough humor to prompt both giggles and grimaces. Throughout the book, Gantos describes the genuine sentiments of the young Jack, who questions both his sensitivity and his inexplicable fascination with what he calls "gross, filthy, disgusting things." Though Jack ends a bit abruptly, Gantos hints at more to come. Jack Henry will be back. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Ages 12 to 15, 192p, $16.Reviewer:Amy S. Pattee
Kirkus Reviews
Jack's back (Jack's Black Book, 1997, etc.) and wacko enough to water ski on land, feed his sleeping sister a cockroach, and bring about the unfortunate demise of three pet cats. Gantos's hyperactive rewriting of his own diaries zips Jack through fifth grade and a barrage of overlapping adventures. Like the steel sphere in a pinball game, Jack bounces around between his older sister's insults, his parents admonishments, and his friend Tack's dares. None of this is for the weak of heart or the gullible; between picking a hookworm (his "secret pet") out of his arm and lying in a hole with a screaming locomotive passing overhead, Jack is no role model, but he is real. His battles with his emotions—why he cries all the time, why he is "more interested in gross things than in beautiful things"—and his struggles to do what he deems right and adult (instead of wrong and childish) ring true. Have readers fasten their seat belts for this one, or—for a real jolt of Jack—don't. (Fiction. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374437176
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
09/12/2001
Series:
Jack Henry Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
505,571
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.52(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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