Scieszka, Jon. THE BOOK THAT JACK WROTE. Illustrated by Daniel Adel. New York:
Viking, 1994. ISBN 067084330X.
This is a parody
of the cumulative tale, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT.
The tale begins with
the verse, "This is the book that Jack wrote." Daniel Adels illustration shows a
framed picture of this very book, lying on a floor with some feet emerging from under it. Every detail of the book in the
picture is identical to the book jacket, including the name of the author, Jon Scieszka. I am reminded at this point that
Jack is a nickname for Jon. As the story progresses, we are introduced to many unusual characters from traditional children's
literature, including a Cheshire cat, a cow jumping over the moon, a pieman at
the fair, Humpty Dumpty, and a Mad Hatter. The story is circular in nature, on the last page when the book falls and flattens
a man, we see the same picture we saw on the first page, the book with the feet emerging from under it.
The book is presented
in the form of a cumulative tale, with the refrain being added upon each time the page is turned. The rhythm of the text makes
it a great book to read aloud and the surreal illustrations will delight all who see them. The paintings have wonderfully
weird details such as a cat with a human face, the tail of rat dangling through its toothy grin or a bug with protruding eyes,
dining with a knife and fork on the thread of a rug, tiny wine glass by his side.
may enjoy the zany, yet familiar, repetitive verse, this is a very sophisticated book and would make a great introduction
to parody for older students.