CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 5 . . . .October 27, 2006
There is no suggestion that Jared Lester is hyperactive, or ADHD, or anything else that would cause this book to be labelled as being “about” some syndrome or other. He is certainly supercharged with energy, however, and lacks focus for any activity other than annoying his older sister until one day when he is bugging her as she attempts to watch her “princess movie,” and he happens to notice a background character who is doing back flips, juggling, and telling the occasional joke. This is a turning point for Jared! Here is someone whose job it is to do all the things that he, Jared, already can do, though admittedly less well. His career path is now set out, at least in his own mind - he is going to be a court jester! There are problems, of course, chief among them being that there aren't very many kings and queens around to employ such a person. Luckily, it just happens the Queen is actually going to be in town shortly, and there are to be auditions for the evening's entertainers. Jared determines to try out, but first he has to have more information. He pursues facts about jesters with single-minded determination and then sets about putting what he's learned into action.
At this point, the story begins to verge on fantasy as he manages to put Professor Krinklecut's precepts to work. It is good fun, however, to see him turning from loser to winner, taking the bull out of the school bully, saving a little old lady from a driver more interested in his cell-phone conversation than his steering (useful propaganda!), and ultimately, entertaining the Queen. In a way, this is one long shaggy-dog story; and so I won't spoil the surprise by revealing what Jared concludes is the modern equivalent of the medieval jester. You must read it for yourself. And while it is not a book “about” any particular problem condition (a definite plus in my books!), it does hold out hope to parents that their own, non-problem but really antsy kid may also, one day, find something that he really, really wants to focus on. Kids will just enjoy the book.
Mary Thomas works in the library of an N-8 elementary school in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.