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Jack's Tale

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Jack is not sure he wants to be in a fairy tale. He's seen those trolls. But the author says it might make him famous, so he agrees to try. He begins at the beginning and sets out to rescue the princess. It is rough going in the middle of the story, just as the author warned, but Jack does get through and arrives, with the princess, at the end. The king declares Jack a hero and they all, even the author, live happily ever after.

This charming story takes a reluctant character ...

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Overview

Jack is not sure he wants to be in a fairy tale. He's seen those trolls. But the author says it might make him famous, so he agrees to try. He begins at the beginning and sets out to rescue the princess. It is rough going in the middle of the story, just as the author warned, but Jack does get through and arrives, with the princess, at the end. The king declares Jack a hero and they all, even the author, live happily ever after.

This charming story takes a reluctant character through the mechanics of story development and, like Ellen Stoll Walsh's other books, combines excitement and suspense with the adventure of learning.

An author begins to write a fairy tale and finds that the main character, Jack, must be convinced to participate in the story and help rescue the princess.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sheree van Vreede
Jack is a frog caught up in a fairy tale that he's not certain he wants to be in. He's been assigned by the author to save the princess troll. Jack tries to resist because he is afraid of the trolls, but the author has already written him into the story. This classic scenario made unique as the author and main character maintain a dialogue throughout the text. In essence, the reader watches the story being written. A funny book that manages to capture the mechanics of story development.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2--Jack, a frog, tells the author, another frog, that he does not want to be in her fairy tale because it's dangerous. "Leave me out. Fairy tales aren't safe." Jack is easily swayed, however, with the promise of fame. The rest of the book is more about the process of a story than the "story" itself. When warned not to continue on because of the dangerous trolls lurking in the middle of the tale, Jack proclaims, "If I go back, my story will end at the beginning." Widely appealing collage illustrations set Walsh's work apart. The artist's easily recognizable art proves that less is more. The oddly bipedal amphibians are colorfully speckled and set against a stark white background. The result is a high-contrast, illustrative following of the text. All-in-all, this story-within-a-story remains a simple, comfortable tale in its familiarity and guarantees the book's conclusion, "And they all lived happily ever after." Purchase this title if your readers have enjoyed Walsh's earlier works.--Christy Norris, Valley Cottage Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Jack is a cut-paper frog, applied to the page, whom Walsh (Samantha, 1996, etc.) uses to explain the broadest elements of a fairy tale: the challenge, the mettle tested, the happily ever after. The story opens with a writer contemplating a fairy-tale project. There will be royalty involved, and trolls—and Jack. He balks: "Leave me out. Fairy tales aren't safe—I saw those trolls." At the writer's coaxing, Jack reluctantly agrees to participate. Thus the tale unfolds. The princess is abducted by trolls, the king calls on Jack to save the fair maiden, the trolls fall to bickering and pose no problem, there's a rescue, and a return. Walsh cleverly unravels the mechanics of the tale as she merrily erects its structure, but that unraveling also defeats any possibility of tension or drama—the very stuff of fairy tales. The expressionless, unblinking, upright hero, his damsel, and their foes further drain the story of interest, past the intriguing opening. Pair this with real fairy tales at story hours, for children will love the idea of the protagonist being persuaded to take on his task, and will want to apply Jack's formula, not only to see when it "works," but when it varies, as well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152003234
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.57 (w) x 8.33 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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