So, if you like fairytale adaptations like I do, you’ll probably have a really good time with the first book in the Mighty Jack series.
1. I’ve always had an issue with Jack and his magic beanstalk. How could he have given up his cow for a few measly beans? This time round, though, Ben Hatke makes Jack a little more mature, a little more kindly, a little less self-centred, and only a little … silly. Oh, and he’s a little grumpy, but I didn’t mind that because I like talking back to grumpy characters.
2. I’ve had a few kids of all grades and linguistic abilities read this already, and they’ve all enjoyed it. The fourth-grader laughed out loud a lot, and the mom of the eighth-grader mentioned to me that he had stayed up late one night just so that he could finish the book. An ESL student also told me that she really enjoyed it, which speaks to the universality of Hatke’s retelling.
3. The illustrations in this book are aces. The panels and page layouts are varied, so the story doesn’t lull, and I particularly enjoyed that there were a lot of things going on in the gutters.
4. This isn’t just a happily-ever-after story. Parts of the story are lip-quaver-inducing. For example, Jack’s mom has to work overtime because they need money for food; and Maddy, Jack’s sister, is autistic, so Jack often finds it difficult to connect with her.
5. The first book ends on such a cliffhanger (reader, beware), so my kids are all waiting for the next installment. I think that if the series stretches out to a few more book, it would be a prime opportunity for Hatke to develop Maddy’s character. I wonder if she’ll become the true heroine of the story.
Thank you, Raincoast Books, for sending me a copy of
Mighty Jack in exchange for an honest review.
All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are my own.