Written by Julia Dweck
Illustrated by Brian Allen
Sleepy Sheep Productions 9/01/2014
Age 3 to 6 24 pages
“What’s a Jack-in-the-box without his home? Poor Jack has never jumped out of anything before, but his worn out box. Can Barker, the neighborhood dog, prove to Jack that there are many more exciting jumps outside in the great, big world?”
“Jack’s little heart began to thump,
As he prepared to take a jump.
He swung around and then he flexed.
His thousandth jump was coming next.
“Then tightening his coils, he sank,
And listened to the music crank.
He sprung out free, no longer trapped.
His rusty spring broke loose and SNAPPED!”
Cue music, wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . JUMP!
There goes Jack, from jack-in-the-box fame, making his thousandth jump, give or take a few. He‘s flying high. He’s flying a little too high. Oh, my Jack is flying higher than he has ever or should ever fly. He lands with a thump and realizes he jumped clear out of his box, and the box—his home—is gone!
Jack takes off looking for his home. Down the hallway he jumps over all sorts of toys—hula-hoop, little green army guys, jacks (of the spiked kind) and balls of assorted sizes. He rounds the corner and instead of his home, he runs into a big nose dog. Jack grabs a bubble gum wrapper to protect himself, but Badger is not interested in hurting Jack. Badger wants Jack to go outside with him and see all the ways he can jump.
Together, Badger and Jack jump into a twisting jump rope, hop on a trampoline and reach the sky, and then jump off a cliff into a waterfall, bungee jump off a bridge, and ride a jumping horse. Best of all, Badger and Jack jump into a 7-layer chocolate cake. They fall to the bottom and must wait for the birthday girl to set them free. Still, Jack has not found his home. Will he ever figure out where it landed?
Jack is a highflying jack-in-the-box. The illustrations fill each spread from edge to edge with brightly illustrated scenes of Badger and Jack jumping high from the most unusual places (for a dog and a toy). They turn upside down, flip one way then the other, and wear equipment for some of their jumps. Badger is a cute small dog, perfect for Jack. Young children will adore both characters.
I like the idea of the scene in which Jack grabs the bubble gum wrapper as a shield against a canine attack. The scene is funny. Everyone knows a bubblegum wrapper will not provide protection from an oncoming dog attack. Everyone but Jack, that is. Looking at this illustration, the garbage can does not look like it is on its side. It looks like another wall, or a door, with its flat, unadorned presentation against the flat detail-less wall.
Badger has the biggest, most adorable eyes, set in a face every child and parent will love. Jack conveys much emotion on his tiny face. He is dressed like a medieval joker. As a jack-in-the-box toy, Jack would please any child with his brightly colored hat and clothing. His jumping skills will definitely be the hit of the house should he ever put them on display.
Jack must literally think “out of the box” after losing his box/home. How is he going to jump, and enjoy jumping, without a box to hide in and then jump out of on cue? Badger has the answer and is eager to show Jack how to jump. Badger looks like a puppy and puppies must play. Is that why Badger buried Jack’s box/home? When Jack and Badger return home Badger gives Jack his other half. Jack jumps over and around it but refuses to jump in it. He wants to keep jumping with Badger. With a high five (no fist bump for these two—refreshing), Badger and Jack seal their friendship.
I like Jump. It follows the prolific Julia Dweck formula: a good story told well with interesting, brightly colored illustrations. She has not gone wrong yet with this formula and has produced one more hit. Young children will love Jump’s story and illustrations. It has loads of humor, wonderful rhyming, and unusual messages for kids so young: think out of the box, expand your horizons, and seeking out friends that are different than you can be rewarding. Jump’s messages are perfect for parents, too, making Jump a truly exceptional story.
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JUMP! Text copyright © 2014 by Julia Dweck. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brain Allen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sleepy Sheep Productions.
Purchase Jump! at Amazon—Sleepy Sheep Productions.
Learn more about Jump! HERE
**Also includes word games and definitions used in writing stories. There is also an invitation to writer your own Jump! story, and then send your story to Ms. Dweck. See the guidelines at the end of the story.
Meet the author, Julia Dweck, at her facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliadweckbooks
Meet the illustrator, Brian Allen, at his website: http://www.flylanddesigns.com
Find more picture books at the Sleepy Sheep Productions website: http://sleepysheeppro.com/
Also by Julia Dweck in 2014
Also by Brian Allen
Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews