Lucky Jake

Overview


When Jake and Pa find a gold nugget big enough to buy a pet, there aren’t any dogs to be found. And so Jake gets a . . . pig (“four legs, floppy ears, and a tail”), and he names him Dog.

Lucky for Pa and Jake, Dog has a nose for finding good fortune. And where luck grows like a cornstalk—tall and golden and strong—Dog and Jake are sure to be found, ready for whatever comes next.

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Overview


When Jake and Pa find a gold nugget big enough to buy a pet, there aren’t any dogs to be found. And so Jake gets a . . . pig (“four legs, floppy ears, and a tail”), and he names him Dog.

Lucky for Pa and Jake, Dog has a nose for finding good fortune. And where luck grows like a cornstalk—tall and golden and strong—Dog and Jake are sure to be found, ready for whatever comes next.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This solid story is taken to a whole new level by Zahares's amazing artwork. Using pastels in deep and heavy hues, solid shapes, and unusual perspectives, he provides images that roll breathtakingly across the pages. . . . Some of the scenes show the hard work of frontier life, but they are shrouded in colors that give the effort an almost mystic edge. An intriguing mix of old-fashioned storytelling and cutting-edge art.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

The patterned cadence of the prose befits this folkloric gold-rush yarn. . . . With unusual perspectives and a strong grasp of light and shadow, the stylized spreads take a surrealistic spin that is warmed and animated by soft, sculptured forms that contrast with thick lines and repeated objects. . . . Always mesmerizing. A treasure.
Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Zahares's contemporary, stylized pastel art features electric hues and playful perspectives, lending a bold contrast to the old-time tenor of the easygoing narrative and creating an unlikely, but lucky, pairing.
Publishers Weekly

The sunny story is told in a deliberately deadpan, unruffled tone, and the thickly applied pastel illustrations with their odd perspectives and deep purple shadows catch the other side of the story, too, clearly showing that Jake and his father live a difficult, impoverished life. . . . This will be a good discussion-starter on the topic of luck, especially because wisdom is on the side of its appealingly down-to-earth child character.
Horn Book

Publishers Weekly

Addy's (When Wishes Were Horses) Gold Rush tale opens as Jake's Pa, panning in a creek with his son, finds a gold nugget. They hurry to town to buy supplies and Jake, longing for a dog, asks the storekeep if he has any to sell; he doesn't, but he does have "a runty pig." (When Jake asks if pigs make good pets, the clerk responds, "Why not? They got four legs, floppy ears, and a tail.") Naming his new pet Dog, Jake remarks that he is glad the man had a pig to sell and Pa answers, "That sure was lucky." Jake heartily agrees: "Yup. Lucky." The two repeat these refrains as their lucky streak continues. Jake plants some seed corn and it grows despite the fact that Pa hadn't thought it would in their soil. Next, father and son capture a nanny goat that produces milk and they cook corn fritters. The tempting smell attracts other prospectors eager to barter for food, and soon Pa and Jake are running a booming restaurant and goods-trading business. As the two gratefully acknowledge their ongoing good fortune, perceptive readers will recognize their providence has quite a bit to do with gumption, ingenuity and a sense of fairness-and, yup, luck too. Zahares's (Window Music) contemporary, stylized pastel art features electric hues and playful perspectives, lending a bold contrast to the old-time tenor of the easygoing narrative and creating an unlikely, but lucky, pairing. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Gwen Vanderhage
Jake and Pa are out West panning for gold. Jake wishes he had a dog for a pet to keep them company all day. When Pa finds a gold nugget and they head to town, Jake finds a pig that needs a home. Jakes calls him Dog. After Dog comes home with them, all kinds of lucky things start happening. Dog helps Jake find corn in one of their pockets, which after he plants it, grows, and provides corn to eat. The corn attracts a goat, which Jake catches for milk. The milk attracts miners who want some milk to drink with their corn fritters. Soon all of these lucky circumstances add up to Jake and Pa opening a restaurant to cater to the miners. Is Jake lucky or is there another explanation? Told like a Western folktale, the author sums up each circumstance with "Yup, lucky," which would be fun for kids to repeat aloud during the reading. The illustrations are vivid, sometimes neon-colored, and often bizarre—both distracting and disconcerting for a story in this vein.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3
Jake and his father are prospectors during the gold rush. The boy wants a dog but settles for a pig, figuring both have four legs, floppy ears, and a tail. One night in a tussle with his pet over Pa's overcoat, Jake discovers some corn seeds in the garment's lining. He plants them, and from that point on, success follows incrementally. The corn crop attracts a goat. Corn makes fritters, the goat gives milk, and folks start coming around for a meal. Food is traded for supplies and soon the boy and his father are living comfortably. Pa credits it all to luck, but readers know that the success is due to Jake's ingenuity and hard work. The pastel illustrations feature brilliant shades of blue, purple, and green. Glowing reds, oranges, and yellows highlight the spreads. The characters and scenery are depicted in a stylized, sometimes abstract manner. Some items, such as corn, trees, and Pa's coat sleeve, are difficult to figure out. Many views are shown from the bottom looking up, offering varied, sometimes jarring perspectives. Both the story line and illustrations are worthwhile but they don't blend well. The pictures are better suited to a story about another universe than to one set in the American West. Some larger collections might want this as an example of innovative storytelling.
—Ieva BatesCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Young Jake is, indeed, lucky. While panning for gold with Pa, Jake comes by a runty pig named Dog. After Dog sniffs out seed corn that Jake plants and tends, the father and son acquire a nanny goat and kid, all sorts of mining paraphernalia, a restaurant-and a home. The patterned cadence of the prose befits this folkloric gold-rush yarn. Zahares places the rhythmic words in panels that run alongside distinctive compositions that glow with a variety of rich, deep colors. With unusual perspectives and a strong grasp of light and shadow, the stylized spreads take a surrealistic spin that is warmed and animated by soft, sculptured forms that contrast with thick lines and repeated objects: Dog's pointy ears look like crop shoots, clouds resemble leaves, waves are twins to swirling chimney smoke. While the illustrations stumble ever so slightly in their narrative quality, they are always mesmerizing. A treasure. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618472864
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/7/2007
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author


WADE ZAHARES received a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated citation for his first book, Window Music by Anastasia Suen. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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