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 ; 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
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."