Seriously Seeking Housing! Jack by Tomie dePaola
ONE DAY JACK SAID, "I WANT TO SEE THE WORLD AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND LIVE IN A HOUSE IN THE CITY."
"WHY DON'T YOU GO TO THE CITY AND ASK THE KING?" SAID JACK'S GRANDPA.
Since time immemorial, young folks have set out into the wide world to find their fortunes, to make their way in their own way, and in his adaptation of folklore's "Jack tales," Caldecott-winner Tomie dePaola's Jack (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) is off on his personal quest.
Jack is a mellow redhead who soon attracts a following, beginning with a tiny yellow chick who peeps out a greeting and scoots along behind Jack. In short order, a duck spots the small procession and asks if he can go along.
"YES, PLEASE DO!" JACK SAID.
With his peeping and quacking friends behind him, Jack soon welcomes a retinue of animals, a goose, dog, frog, pig, cow, cat, sheep, horse and owl, and even a crow who flies along without asking permission. With all the honking, woofing, croaking, oinking, mooing, meowing, baaing, whinnying, hooting and cawing, Jack's reputation precedes him as he enters the city.
"GOOD AFTERNOON, KING," SAID JACK.
"MY FRIENDS AND I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN THE CITY. CAN YOU HELP US FIND A HOUSE?"
Fortune smiles on Jack as usual. It seems that there is a run-down house in one neighborhood that needs a tenant to sort it out.
"YOU MIGHT NEED TO FIX IT UP, BUT I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT." SAID THE KING.
The house is dilapidated, but soon the critter cacophony is joined by the sound of sawing and hammering, and when the house is repainted in a bright pink and orange coat of paint, the animals find that each one of them has his own window on the street. Peeps, quacks, honks woofs, ribbits, oinks, moos, meows, baas, neighs, hoots, and caws (from the roof) fill the street with happy noise.
"THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD," GRUMBLED THE NEIGHBORHOOD CURMUDGEON.
"ABOUT TIME!" SAID HIS WIFE.
In a light-hearted palette and his familiar folkloric style, Tomie dePaola's latest introduces primary students to the Jack tale. In the many tales in English literature, Jack is a sort of everyboy, eager to try his luck in the world, best known in the classic Jack and the Beanstalk.
In this simple tale, there are no giants or ogres, just an amiable lad setting out on a modest quest. But getting there is half the fun, and dePaola populates the background behind Jack's little parade with many folktale characters setting off into their own adventures--Jack and Jill with their pail and Red Riding Hood heading off the path and into the wood--which will give sharp-eyed readers a chuckle with each page turn. DePaola has a way of giving each of his stories its own irresistible eye appeal, and he pulls out all the stops in this lovely book, filling the pages with colorful rubber stamp interjections from his animal characters and setting his glowing colors as standouts against his characteristic bright white pages. In this playful introduction to English folk literature, dePaola shows that he's still the master of picture book art.