#363 – Tales from the Coins #1: Jake and Alex and the Holy Leap by Marc Zelinsky

cover001v2fbTales from the Coins #1: Jake and Alex & The Holy Leap

by Marc Zelinsky

Rick Sargent, illustrator


4 Stars

 SHORT REVIEW (click here)

Back Cover:  Jake and Alex share a glimpse of the life of a priest when, through the magic of two coins, Jake is transformed into Father Michaels.  After a hair raising car ride to the priest’s church, they search for a way to reverse the magic.  Jake continues Father Michael’s work, and they both learn something about being a priest and each other.

First Sentence:  “Alex—Alex, come here!” Jake shouted from the bottom of the stairs.


What the Story is About:  Ten-year-old Jake and his twelve-year-old sister Alex, get ahold of two coins from the 1700’s.  Jake had spotted the coins attached under a drawer in a desk she bought at a flea market.  Father Michael delivered the desk.  Once they got ahold of the coins, the two kids ran outside into a hiding spot to examine them.  Jake spots Father Michael leaving and, runs up to him, asks if he knows anything about the coins.  When Jake puts one of the coins into Father Michael’s hand Jake magically transforms into the priest.  Now he, as Father Michael, and Alex must find the way to reverse the spell before dinner.

What I Thought: Jake and Alex and the Holy Leap is a fast read at 56 pages.  I liked the story.  The story is well-written, and has basic story telling construction.  The characters are not fleshed out well enough to really care about and at times, Jake sounded much younger than his stated ten years.


Jake somehow spies these coins attached to a used desk as Father Michaels and another man carry it into the house.  Jake retrieves the coins while Alex stalls her mother and Father Michael, once with conversation and then by falling down in front of the two claiming to have hurt her knee/ankle.  I found this an unimaginative way to buy Jake time to retrieve the coins.  The attempt at humor fell flat, mainly because I have nothing invested in these characters.  Outside, Alex foretells the coins’ innate powers when telling Jake not to separate the coins.  Of course, Jake immediately does, handing one to Father Michael as he leaves the house.  It is easy to guess the solution early in the story.

The kids do solve the conflict, which is great, but the solution was handed to Alex.  The kids needed only a small effort to find and decipher it.  I like the idea of the coins sending Alex and Jake on journeys to meet famous people or sites.  There is much room for a number of stories in this proposed series.  Yet I wonder, where was the original Father Michael when Jake transforms into him?  Where was Jake’s body?  Knowing this would have helped me buy into the story.


Jake and Alex and the Holy Leap is a nice chapter book for intermediate readers.  The chapters are short easy reads that will hold children’s attention.  Kids can follow the story, not needing to worry about complicated facts, characters, or situations.  If the action were a notch higher, the series could hold reluctant readers attention to the end.

Short Review (click here)

Tales from the Coins #1: Jake and Alex & The Holy Leap

by Marc Zelinsky   website   facebook    twitter

Rick Sargent, illustrator    website    blog    facebook    twitter

CreateSpace(SP)    website    facebook    twitter

Released June 5, 2013

56 pages

Ages:  6 to 8


© Marc Zelinsky, used with permission

Text:  Copyright © 2013 by Marc Zelinsky

Illustrations:  Copyright © 2013 by Rick Sargent





jake and alex coins 1

9 thoughts on “#363 – Tales from the Coins #1: Jake and Alex and the Holy Leap by Marc Zelinsky

    • Turns out, while Jake switched with the priest, the priest was at least aware of everything Jake did or said. I guess the priest never left his body, only lost control to Jake. Weird.


    • You and me both. Magic coins could have saved my butt when the broccoli burned, or the chicken over cooked, or my hip dislocated — all happened today. Magic coins, switch me with Lobo, I doubt he would even think to make broccoli. 😀


      • Oh Sue! I’ve been AFK for the last few days on an adventure. So, so sorry to hear of your accident. Glad you are on the mend!


        • Lobo, or Cathy, who went on an AFK and what the heck is an AFK? I had my own adventure. What acronym could it be? Hm, sorry, cannot think of one. The firemen were really nice. Even ran back up to close the bedroom door, keeping cats away from scattered medicine. They would eat the pills. 😦

          What did you think about the puppy covering the story? Pretty cute, huh? He is my new puppy, being raised by the rescue until I get moved to Columbus. His name is Fetch and yes, he does fetch–very well in fact. 🙂


          • AFK stands for “away from keyboard.” I could use an acronym for your adventure but I won’t because it uses a four letter word that I try to avoid at all costs.
            I didn’t see Fetch on this post, but once I went to your home page I did. He is very cute and very lucky! I hope this incident doesn’t impact your move too much.


    • I think it should have been longer so the characters could be developed into ones I would care about, not just like. The solution was immediate. If the coins are separated to cause a switch, putting them back together should reverse the switch. That turned out to be close to the answer. I hate it when I can figure stuff out. Ruins the ending.


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