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Friday, February 4, 2011

Jackson Jones (Review)

Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish is a fun, actually silly, book geared for children  ages 9-12.  I think children would really enjoy the fantasy and adventure of Jackson Jones, an average boy (though not good at sports).  Boys and girls alike will likely appreciate the silliness of Jackson Jones.

Jackson Jones, Book 1: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky FishJackson falls off his top bunk and instead of landing on his visiting Great Aunt Harriet, he falls into the world that is insider her HAIR.  That's right.  In her hair he meets an elf.  She takes him on the tour inside the hair which is a land all in its own.  Meeka shows Jackson around, all the while teaching him about the Author.

This book has a good message-that God is the Author of our lives and we were each created for a purpose.

What makes this book different from others is the narrator.  This narrator is extremely vocal.  Really vocal.  I'm not sure if kids would just find the narrator hilarious or obnoxious since what the narrator says often does not move the story forward.  I suspect it would just depend upon the child.
"Could I be meaner?  Actually, yes I could.  I could totally change the subject of this chapter and drive you absolutely bananas and make you want to throw this book against the wall in frustration or even write an UN-fan letter...." ~p. 167
 "I am going to take a bathroom break, so I suggest you do as well..." ~ p. 99 
The chapters have fun titles that give a bit of an insight to what might happen.  They very in length from a sentence (yes, one sentence) to a couple of paragraphs to what you might expect from a chapter.

Despite my dislike for the narrator's interference, I do really like the story.  As I shared before, some kids might really love the quirkiness of the narrator.  Jackson Jones is different, and children might find it to be quite refreshing.   I think I would have been more amused by it if there wasn't an undertone, often dealing with parents.  I'm not sure I would call the undertone outright disrespectful...but maybe a bit snarky?  (Feel free to share your thoughts!)
"Tell your mom or dad or teacher that you absolutely have to read this chapter as you are 'racked with suspense' and 'will probably die if you don't continue.'  Make sure you use those exact words.  If they say no, and you decide to read this chapter in the car, there's a good chance you will throw up on the seat beside you...And if you get caught and this book is taken away along with TV privileges, I hereby refuse all responsibility." ~p. 89
"Your mom might hear you upstairs reading, and she might remember that she has housework for you to do...If your parents are reading this to you, and it's past your bedtime, perhaps they will be the BEST PARENTS IN THE WORLD! and let you stay up to finish...There are some parents like that.  If you know any, please email me." ~p. 99
Now this may sound like a negative review, but really, I enjoyed this book.  I was just irritated at times, and in writing an honest review, it's important to share my concerns with readers.  I also wanted to share a good passage toward the end of the book.  Without it, the message wouldn't have been as clear for Jackson or the reader, but I liked it.
"'...There are lies all around us, and they are easy to see...No one can tell you who you are, because deep down, you know who you are.  You are who the Author created you to be...The white stones are everywhere, but it's easier to find the ones that lie.  It's up to us to choose what to believe.  Two voices are always speaking to us...'" ~ p. 228
This book is a fast read, not only because of the short chapters, but also because of the content.  It's fun, too. Despite my concerns about a couple of things, I would be happy to share this book with my children when they are older and recommend it for children who like a bit of fantasy!

I suspect after most children read it, they will be excited to know that Amazon and publisher Zonderkidz call this Jackson Jones, Book 1: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish.  It's fair to suspect that Jenn L. Kelly has another adventure for Jackson in the works!!

Thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.


Ticia said...

I like comments like that. They amuse me. I tried to get info from Zonderkidz to review, and never heard back from them. Maybe I should try again sometime.

That book looks great.

Bluerose said...

I got this one from Amazon(kindle) and started reading it, but just realized I'd completely forgot about it. I didn't get very far, so I'm sure that's why. I'll have to go back and finish it. :)

Carrie said...

I think the narration would drive ME (as a thirty-year old reader) absolutely crazy. I'd seen this book around and a couple of mentions, but your review and thoughts have been the most revealing! Thanks for sharing what you think about this book!

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