Barnett, Mac

Jack Goes West

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. We first meet Jack, a baseball-capped rabbit, as he waves hello, munches on snacks, and--swipes a woman's purse?! This initial encounter in Hi, Jack! sets the tone for the first four installments of Barnett and Pizzoli's easy-reader series: a roller coaster of sour and sweet moments for Jack, his dog friend Rex, and the nameless Lady. (Once he returns her purse. And her lipstick.) Jack makes trouble wherever he goes, from the baseball field (Jack at Bat) to outer space (Jack Blasts Off!), and the direct-address narration instructs him to mend his ways (in a not-always-constructive manner: "Jack, you are bad. You are a bad Jack. A bad, bad Jack"). Barnett makes creative use of a limited and largely decodable vocabulary for comedic effect, which invites beginners to read with expression and confidence. Pizzoli's illustrations, full of bold outlines and saturated colors, amplify the energy and dynamism in each story line. The text and illustrations work in tandem, sharing the weight of the narrative and blurring the lines between the picture book and easy reader genres while conforming to the physical specifications of the latter. This series promises an energetic romp through the good, the bad, and the bunny. Review covers these titles: Hi, Jack!, Jack at Bat, Jack Blasts Off!, and Jack Goes West.


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