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THE BOOK THAT JACK WROTE
Kim's Book Reviews
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THE BOOK THAT JACK WROTE
Written by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Daniel Adel 

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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.

 

Although youngsters 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.

 

Traditional Literature