Jack's Black Book (Jack Henry Series #5) by Jack Gantos, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Jack's Black Book (Jack Henry Series #5)

Jack's Black Book (Jack Henry Series #5)

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by Jack Gantos
     
 

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From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, the uproarious final volume of Jack Henry stories

According to his new motto—A WRITER'S JOB IS TO TURN HIS WORST EXPERIENCES INTO MONEY—Jack Gantos's alter ego Jack Henry is going to be filty rich even before he gets out of junior high, for his life is filled with the

Overview

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, the uproarious final volume of Jack Henry stories

According to his new motto—A WRITER'S JOB IS TO TURN HIS WORST EXPERIENCES INTO MONEY—Jack Gantos's alter ego Jack Henry is going to be filty rich even before he gets out of junior high, for his life is filled with the worst experiences imaginable. For instance, in the course of the few months covered in this closing cycle of interlinked stories, Jack is humiliated by a gorgeous syncronized swimmer, gets a tattoo the size of an ant on his big toe, flubs an IQ test and nearly fails wood shop, and has to dig up his dead dog not once but twice. And that's not the half of it!

At the close of this final book of semi-autobiographical stories, Jack may not end up rolling in dough, but he will prove once again "a survivor, an ‘everyboy' whose world may be wacko but whose heart and spirit are eminently sane" (School Library Journal).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“These are the unsaid things that go on inside kids' brains.” —Rosie, age 11

“Twisted, revolting, and hilarious.” —Randy Powell, author of Is Kissing a Girl Who Smokes Like Licking an Ashtray?

“I suggest you read this book.” —Tristan, age 14

“The narrative sparkles with wit and . . . rings with the authenticity of adolescent humor, embarrassment, and fascination with the absolutely gross . . . Zany characters, good pacing, lots of humor, and a touch of romance make this a quick, fun read.” —School Library Journal

“Enough descriptive disaster to satisfy youngsters looking for a gross-out . . . Good solid writing, and a bizarre plot that even reluctant adults can't help but appreciate.” —The Horn Book

author of Is Kissing a Girl Who Smokes Like Lickin Randy Powell
Twisted, revolting, and hilarious.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the end of seventh grade, Jack Henry decides to write a novel in this third collection of interlinked stories. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) r Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7Gantos's third book about Jack Henry (Heads or Tails [1994]; Jack's New Power [1995, both Farrar]) continues the wacky adventures of 13-year-old Jack in a series of three interlinked stories. Back in Florida, Jack decides that becoming a writer will allow him to turn his worst experiences, and he has many, into money. He flubs his IQ test, nearly flunks wood shop, almost gets a date with a beautiful girl, visits a fortune teller, digs up his dead dog not once but twice, and copes with members of an off-kilter family who constantly remind him of his stupidity. Through it all, Jack manages to barrel forward, self-esteem intact, with high expectations and crazy schemes. Based on Gantos's own trials and tribulations growing up in Barbados and Florida, the narrative sparkles with wit and, although exaggerated, rings with the authenticity of adolescent humor, embarrassment, and fascination with the absolutely gross. The dog coffin scenes, with maggots and rats, would no doubt sell the book to middle-grade boys. Zany characters, good pacing, lots of humor, and a touch of romance make this a quick, fun read.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Kirkus Reviews
Gantos trots out one disgusting and dangerous event after another to give his morose protagonist material for jokes, but the fun and games are edging over the top in this companion to Jack's New Power (1995).

Jack wants to become a writer, but his familyunique but functioning in previous episodes and mere cartoons hereis united in a belief in his worthlessness. When the dog, BeauBeau III, breaks its neck and dies, Jack's sister, Betsy, is all wisecracks; on the trip to the vet, Jack's father suggests tying the dog to the car, like a dead deer, in case its bladder lets go (it's not the first time the dog's bodily functions are discussed). The parents are on vacation when Betsy, at home, sets a kitchen fire: "We were screaming and laughing, but . . . we just managed to get the baby out [of the bassinet] before the blanket burst into flames." Away from home, the situation's no better: School is a former prison; the volunteer librarian bolts down books and accuses the boy of stealing; the cafeteria serves creamed chicken gizzards weekly. Crammed in are descriptions of digging up the dog Jack buries (twice), spit, broken teeth, head lumps, and more. With a mean-spirited reliance on shock and cheap laughs, the book gets some tacked-on introspection at the end: "It was all about . . . what you wanted to become, and how much you love being yourself."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374437169
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
09/10/1999
Series:
Jack Henry Series, #5
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
744,248
Product dimensions:
5.66(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.55(d)
Lexile:
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Jack was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.

While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

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