Caldecott Medal winner Simms Taback has returned with his trademark mixed-media illustrations and jovial style in this hilarious retelling of a classic rhyme.
The familiar tale starts with "This is the house that Jack built," but right away we know we're not in for the average retelling: A large, abstract-looking house stands majestically on the page, complete with a "For Sale" sign on the lawn and a "Call Jack for Key" sign on the door. Taback's whimsical yarn spins along, with nine different cheeses (with smell-factor commentary), a psychotic-looking rat, a ferocious cat, a salivating dog, and so on. Each verse of the well-known tale is portrayed with witty Tabackian extras, causing the pages to get more crowded with words and topsy-turvy characters, but the real treat comes at the end with an extra verse, and readers are asked to guess which 19th-century artist first illustrated this timeless story.
With Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly under his belt, Simms Taback has created another frolicsome book that's clever, charming, and simply fun to look at. His stylistic artwork will have readers searching for photos, labels, and added information about each character, making a traditional and busy rhyme spring to life. A blessing for storytimes and a kooky treasure hunt -- adults and children will be cheering over this new take on Jack's place. Matt Warner