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Jumpy Jack & Googily

Jumpy Jack & Googily

5.0 2
by Meg Rosoff

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Meet Jumpy Jack, a very nervous snail who's afraid of monsters, and Googily, who is a—well, who is a very good friend, indeed. Wherever they go, Googily kindly checks high and low just to make sure there are no scary monsters about. But as every child knows, monsters come in many shapes and sizes. Some are even blue with hairy eyebrows and pointy teeth.


Meet Jumpy Jack, a very nervous snail who's afraid of monsters, and Googily, who is a—well, who is a very good friend, indeed. Wherever they go, Googily kindly checks high and low just to make sure there are no scary monsters about. But as every child knows, monsters come in many shapes and sizes. Some are even blue with hairy eyebrows and pointy teeth.

Jumpy Jack & Googily is a universal story of friendship and fear of the unknown told with wit and charm by the fantastic team who created the irresistible Meet Wild Boars.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Irony reigns in this droll story as a trepidatious green snail named Jumpy Jack consults his frightful-looking blue buddy. "There could be a monster nearby and I'm scared of monsters," Jumpy Jack admits. "Don't be ridiculous," says Googily. As the pals wend their way through flowery meadows and head home for tea, Jumpy Jack reiterates his fear, asking Googily to check in a wading pool, under the supper table, under one of their twin beds (Jumpy Jack's has a snail-accessible ramp), etc. Each time Jumpy Jack's description of the dreaded monster grows closer to Googily himself ("It might have sharp teeth and horrible scary hair.... two fingers on each hand... [an] awful tongue"). Acting out each scenario, Googily provides quaint reassurance. "I don't know where you get your ideas," he says, or "Dear, oh, dear... What an imagination you have!" As in Meet Wild Boars, Rosoff and Blackall make a waggish team in the Laurie Keller mold, with Rosoff comically understating the obvious and Blackall providing visual punch lines. For all Jumpy Jack's naïveté and Googily's weirdness, they make a winsome pair. Ages 3-8. (May)

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Children's Literature - Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Jumpy Jack, a charming but fearful anthropomorphic snail, senses a monster behind a nearby tree, in the pool, all over the house. His friend Googily constantly reassures him that he is mistaken. Each time, Jack says he would feel better if Googily would check, "just in case." In each case, of course, there is no monster. The joke for readers is that Googily himself is a monster of sorts, but a comfort for Jack. The final fun comes at bedtime, when Googily requires Jack's help to allay his fear. As depicted on the jacket, the pair make a comic couple: a buck-toothed snail and an egg-shaped character with very large, round eyes, hairy eyebrows, plaid pants, and a tiny green derby. Blackall's cartoon-y Chinese ink-and-watercolor illustrations are limited to the characters and a few props needed for the action, like a thin, decorative tree, a bright orange door, or a table laden with goodies. Some pictures are round, to enhance the focus on the action. A few double spreads show the anticipation and Jack's fear in a single scene. This is an amusing but reassuring story for fearful youngsters. Lift the jacket to see the contrasting cover. Reviewer: Ken and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2- Jumpy Jack is a snail with buck teeth and a paralyzing fear of monsters. His friend Googily is a round, blue creature with sharp teeth, wild eyebrows, tentacle-like fingers, a bowler hat, and a kind heart. As they make their way home through a sunlit landscape, Jumpy Jack repeatedly stops and asks his friend to check for monsters before they proceed. Googily patiently complies, and there is much visual humor in the contrast between his large features looming up from behind windows and doors ("No monsters here! Or here!") and the snail's relieved response: "Phew!" This contrast also highlights the irrationality of Jumpy Jack's fears, and the power of a trusted friend to allay them. At the end of the day, the pals settle down to sleep, and it's Jack's turn to reassure Googily. The interplay between the two creates a wonderfully safe space for children to explore their fears. Youngsters will quickly pick up on the repetition, and the story may provide an opportunity for them to discuss their own "monsters." The text, which consists entirely of dialogue, employs a formal elevated tone that gently chides Jumpy Jack's childish fears, adding an element of dry humor. The illustrations are filled with whimsical details, from Googily's dapper wardrobe to the characters' matching dolls. The calm, slightly muted palette, along with the friendly expressiveness of the protagonists' faces, sends the subtle message that there is truly nothing here to fear.-Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD

Kirkus Reviews
The same duo that created Meet Wild Boars (2005) is back with a tale of two friends proceeding through their day. Googily, whose blue color, long tongue and sharp teeth mark him as an oddball indeed, accompanies Jumpy Jack, a snail whose nervousness is mostly in his eyes and his imagination. Jumpy Jack sees monsters in many nooks and crannies, asking Googily to investigate. At bedtime, fear of monsters is at its height, tables are turned and that's when all comes to a head-or is it a foot? That Googily is a monster himself is unacknowledged in the text but made clear in Blackall's ink-and-watercolor illustrations, in which he embodies Jumpy Jack's fears. "What if there is a monster with two fingers on each hand, who stares at me through the letterbox and sticks out its awful tongue?" quavers the snail, to which Googily utters the repeated refrain, "No monsters here," even as he does exactly that. A humorous tamer of monsters that will leave everyone saying, "Phew," along with Jumpy Jack. (Picture book. 3-6)
From the Publisher

“* They make a winsom pair.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“* Filled with whimsical details.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Humorous.” —Kirkus

“Hilarious.” —Cookie

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

MEG ROSOFF is the author of Meet Wild Boars, as well as the author of the novels How I Live Now, winner of the Printz Award, and Just in Case, winner of the Carnegie Medal. She lives in London, England, with her husband and daughter.

SOPHIE BLACKALL has illustrated many books for young readers, including Meet Wild Boars, Summer Is Summer, and the Ivy and Bean books. She is the recipient of the Society of Illustrators Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Talent. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Jumpy Jack & Googily 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has great illustrations and a hilarious story line. Most children's books these days are bland and/or resort to potty talk. A refreshingly fun book to read to children. A great book that deals with childhood fears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago