Jack the Tripper

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A mysterious villain is tripping the poor, innocent students at Dizzie Day Elementary School. They’re tripping; they’re flipping; they’re flying through the air! Worst of all, they’re losing their homework as they fall. The whole town is in a frenzy searching for the boot-wearing culprit . . . until one student makes a startling confession.
          With vivid illustrations—and plenty of clues for readers to do their ...

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Overview

A mysterious villain is tripping the poor, innocent students at Dizzie Day Elementary School. They’re tripping; they’re flipping; they’re flying through the air! Worst of all, they’re losing their homework as they fall. The whole town is in a frenzy searching for the boot-wearing culprit . . . until one student makes a startling confession.
          With vivid illustrations—and plenty of clues for readers to do their own detective work—Gene Barretta has created a hilarious, creepy tale about the perils (and sometime rewards!) of following the crowd.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
In a little town with cobblestones and European-style architecture, we find Dizzie Day Elementary, which is plagued by a mysterious caped fellow who trips young Polly and runs off with her "extra long book report." Her concerned teacher forgives the tardiness of her work and lets Polly off the hook. As the big parade of the year approaches, a different child is tripped each day of the week. When Winston, an overweight student, claims that the Tripper stole the parade candy, the other children jump on the bandwagon, claiming the Tripper had manhandled them, as well. All are rewarded for their bravery with sweets and other glories. Each tale the children tell is recounted in a cloud of blue smoke, allowing the reader to see past and present simultaneously. It doesn't take a very clever child to deduce that the students of Dizzie Day are lying about the presences of this peculiar figure. When the administration announces there will be no parade, the kids 'fess up to their lies and are sent to the Headmaster's office. Wannabe detectives will wonder who then the "dark figure" is that appears to all of them in the hallway. While the action and timing are deftly captured in Barretta's illustrations, the story lacks cohesiveness and stumbles a bit throughout. Only recommended for those with healthy picture book budgets. Reviewer: Kristy Lyn Sutorius
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

A zany story line spins out a tale of escalating behaviors at Benjamin Dizzie Elementary that begins with a single lie: "'I got tripped!' [Polly] cried as she stumbled into the classroom. 'I was minding my own business...just thinking about my book report-my extra long book report-when out of nowhere, there he was!'" One thing leads to the next, as child after child is tripped by The Tripper, bringing attention to themselves and, in some cases, providing a convenient excuse for missing candy or having a day off school. But clever Dr. Dizzie, the school's founder, who "combed his hair with a fork and his best friend was a monkey," is on to their tricks. The watercolor illustrations feature hilarious expressions, unique perspectives, and distinctive use of color to separate each child's story from the background scene. Kids will enjoy finding visual clues to help them figure out what is going on.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Devilish deeds at Benjamin Dizzie Elementary School. Young Polly terrifies her classmates and her teacher, Mrs. Fletcher, with the harrowing tale of being tripped by a mysterious figure in black top hat and long cape. The children are anxiously preparing for the Dizzie Day Parade, where "anything goes," and fear any disruption of their preparations. But, one by one, the other children are also tripped, telling their tales of misfortune dramatically. The headmaster calls the police, who patrol the halls, and the school distributes wanted posters for "Jack the Tripper." Just as tensions threaten to boil over, the story takes not one but two surprising turns, best left for readers to discover. Blue-toned watercolor images depict the dastardly doings of the Tripper, set against the full-color goings-on at school, varied perspectives and dramatic visual jokes lending fizz to both. Wall-to-wall drollery, both in Barretta's illustrations and his text, which is sophisticated as well as accessible. Wodehouse with a dash of Gorey. (Picture book. 6-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152061326
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Pages: 44
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

GENE BARRETTA has written and illustrated several picture books, including his own Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones, as well as the bestselling Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog by The View cohost Joy Behar. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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