CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 3. . . .September 17, 2010
Itís All Greek to Me, Jack.
Dan Bar-el. Illustrated by Mike Linton. Vancouver, BC: Gumboot Books, 2009.
169 pp., pbk., $12.99.
Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Inderjit Deogun.
King Jack looked over at Helpful. "What would your father say?"
Helpful Jack looked down at his feet. "I'm not sure I would care to know."
"Why?" asked King Jack hesitantly. "Who is your father?"
"A piper!" exclaimed King Jack, relieved. "It must be wonderful to have a musician for a father."
"Uh ...no. Not a musician. My father picks peppers."
"Peter Piper doesn't play the pipes?"
"No, he just picks the peppers," sighed Helpful. "Pickled peppers."
"He picks pickled peppers?"
"Yup. Pecks of pickled peppers. That's what my poor Papa picks."
"I've never seen his pickled produce," said King Jack, trying really hard to sound interested. "Where are the pecks of pickled peppers that your Papa, Peter Piper picks?"
"Beats me," shrugged Helpful, "I've never seen them either. He must not be very good at picking."
The gods of Mount Olympus are dreadfully bored. After thousands of years in a slumber, itís about time to shake things up. Apollo and Athena willingly take on the task. They resolve that the best way to do this is to find a hero. Both are quick to realize that candidates for the role are in short supply and are forced to settle for Jack, ruler of the Mother Goose kingdom.
The title and cover image expertly set the mood and tone for whatís to come. Characters like No-Longer-Evil Jack, Nimble Jack and Sir Dumpty clearly demonstrate that this is an adventure story unlike any other.
Dan Bar-El steps outside the box by creating a story that merges the worlds of Greek mythology and classic nursery rhymes. The characters and dialogue are a perfect fit, and neither one fails to induce bouts of laughter. In addition, readers wonít be able to resist the use of rhyme and well-known tongue twisters. The aim of Itís All Greek To Me, Jack is to be both fun and funny, and Dan Bar-El has definitely succeeded.
Inderjit Deogun, who lives in Toronto, ON, is currently pursuing a career in publishing with a particular interest in childrenís literature.
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