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JACK ADRIFT by Jack Gantos


Fourth Grade Without a Clue

by Jack Gantos

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-39987-5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When his father enlists in the Navy Seabees, Jack Henry is off to Cape Hatteras for his fourth-grade year. Again mining his own childhood experiences, Gantos creates laugh-out-loud scenes and quirky characters: a green bunny, a duck with its feet on backwards, a lucky Buddha, and an air-guitar–playing friend who seems to get in trouble as much as Jack does. Jack struggles with a crush on his beautiful blonde and blue-eyed teacher, the death of a friend, and explosive arguments between his parents. The best stories—“Romance Novels” and “Second Infancy”—are about two odd ducks who help each other on the road to self-esteem. If Jack feels adrift and in need of esteem, so does his father, stuck in a job he regrets taking. By the end, the family is about to head back over the Outer Banks in high spirits, having found a silver lining in all of the insanity. (Short stories. 8-12)