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WICKED JACK by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

WICKED JACK

By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge (Adaptor) , Will Hillenbrand (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-8234-1101-X
Publisher: Holiday House

 Wooldridge's first book is stunning. Wicked Jack loves being mean, luring people into his clutches with phony kindness. One day he is accidently nice to St. Peter and is given three of the ``sorriest'' wishes St. Peter has ever granted: that the first person to sit in his rocking chair sticks to it, that the first person to grab his sledgehammer sticks to it, and that the first one to pass a firebush gets drawn into the prickles. When the Devil's sons come calling, Jack does such a job on them and their father that when he dies, the Devil turns him away: ``You go start yourself a hell of your own!'' Wooldridge narrates this story in the voice of a toothless storyteller, cramming it with unrefined but sculpted expressions, and colloquialisms that border on wisecracks. She supplements the harmonious architecture of the plot with an equally exciting rhythm. Snap, crackle, popit's just about flawless, with a careful source note in the back. Hillenbrand's hilarious illustrations are graphite caricatureswhose dry sarcasm is comparable, say, to Georg Grosz'sentertainingly colored and softened with oils and oil pastels. His style is ideal for depicting tiny, expressive actionsJack flicking a match or picking dirt from under his fingernails. Everything in these pictures belongs to the sphere of high comedy, and readers will hoot. (Picture book. 5-10)